Ashoka University, Permanent Black Announce Winners of Their 2022 History Prizes

New Delhi: Academic publisher Permanent Black, in association with Ashoka University in Haryana, has announced the winners for three prizes in History jointly awarded by the two institutions.

The Dharmanand Kosambi Memorial Book Prize has been won by Siddharth Kutty; the Simon Digby Memorial Book Prize, by Nishtha Gosewade and Siddharth Kutty; and the Sarvepalli Gopal Memorial Book Prize, by K. Nitya Devayya and Nishtha Gosewade.

The Kosambi Memorial Book Prize was instituted in 2020 and is awarded to the best student of Ancient Indian History at Ashoka University. The prize, which carries with it a reward of Rs 25,000 to the recipient, is given in memory of historian Dharmanand Kosambi and funded partially by a bequest from his granddaughter, historian Meera Kosambi.

This year, the publisher has introduced two additional prizes – Sarvepalli Gopal Memorial Book Prize for the best student of Modern History at Ashoka University; and the anonymously-funded Simon Digby Memorial Book Prize for students of Medieval Indian History.

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Permanent Black has also made available one short essay each written by the three winners.

Kutty, in his piece, Studying in Strange Times, writes about the struggles an aspiring archeologist faces when field-trips to excavation sites are replaced by a year’s worth of video lectures and online classes.

In The Inconveniences of History, as the title suggests, Gosewade details the ways in which her life-long passion for history has presented minor inconveniences in her daily life.

Be it the ire of her parents, gained by losing herself in a museum on a tightly-scheduled family vacation; or her irresistible urge to argue the numerous facets of historical facts whenever they are simplistically raked in to make a point in a political debate, according to her, there is no one way to gauge the importance of history in her life.

Devayya, in her essay, Where is History?, details her journey of being a first-year student engaging with epistemological questions that, naturally, emerge from the interdisciplinary nature of the humanities; to realising how history permeates most spheres of our life – from popular culture to public historical spaces, such as archives and museums.

Apart from jointly distributing these awards, Permanent Black and Ashoka University also publishes a series of books in collaboration, titled Hedgehog and Fox.