Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

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Joya Chatterji


BRITAIN is blessed with many brilliant British Asian historians but Joya Chatterji, a don at Cambridge University, is regarded as someone special. The imprint that she has left on generations of PhD students has been lasting and profound. This year, she merits entry to the GG2 Power List just on the strength of her latest book, which attracted this tweet from author William Dalrymple: “Brilliant Joya Chatterji, Professor of South Asian history, and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, talks to Pragya Tiwari about one of my books of the year, Shadows at Noon: The South Asian Twentieth Century.”

The book, in which Chatterji has woven the history of the Indian subcontinent over the past one hundred years with that of her own family, has a particularly chilling and uncompromising chapter. She writes that those who pursue romantic love across boundaries of caste, religion or class in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are even today “just asking to be murdered”. One of her former PhD students, Edward T G Anderson, who is now an assistant professor in history at Northumbria University, told the GG2 Power List she was “inspirational”.

He drew attention to the chapter on Acnowledgements in his own book, Hindu Nationalism in the Indian Diaspora: Transnation al Politics and British Multiculturalism: “It is hard to put into words the influence that Joya Chatterji has had on my life. She is the most re markable teacher, advocate, and friend that anyone could hope for. Joya is a person who will provide counsel and sympathy in difficult times, and make a big fuss of you when there is something to celebrate. Joya took a chance on me early on, but the term ‘PhD supervisor’ doesn’t come close to reflecting the role that she performed.

I will never be able to repay the

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