PM’s daughter Upinder wins Infosys prize for social sciences

November 30th, 2009 - 11:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bangalore, Nov 30 (IANS) Upinder Singh, 50, history professor at Delhi University who is also the second daughter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is the joint winner of the inaugural Infosys Prize for social sciences.
“Yes! Upinder Singh is the prime minister’s daughter. But we have not highlighted her parentage while announcing the prizes, as she has been chosen by the jury for the award on her merit and credentials,” a senior Infosys official told IANS late Monday.

The jury for social sciences, headed by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, chose Upinder for the Rs.5-million (Rs.50 lakh) prize for her contributions as an outstanding historian of ancient and early medieval India. The prize has been instituted by the Infosys Science Foundation.

Abijit Vinayak Banerjee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the other winner of the prize in the discipline for his contributions to the economic theory of development and his pioneering work in the empirical evaluation of public policy.

“The prize will be equally shared by Upinder and Banerjee and they will get Rs.2.5 million (Rs.25 lakh) each,” the Infosys official added.

The prime minister will present the prize to Upinder and Banerjee at an award ceremony Jan 4 in New Delhi along with a citation and a medallion.

According to the citation by the jury, Upinder has been recognised for the depth and breadth of her scholarly research, which are matched by a rare ability to communicate her findings to a broad audience of students and intellectually curious non-specialists.

“Upinder has been a pioneer in supplementing literary sources with an impressive array of archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic evidence in brilliantly reconstructing early Indian history. The vast chronological span of her scholarship stretches across millennia from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic ages to 1200 CE,” the citation said.

Noting that Upinder was able to offer an overarching and subtle interpretation of Indian history and culture, the jury said as an innovative scholar who enables her readers to re-envision the idea of India, she was an ideal recipient of the prize in history.

A history graduate from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, Upinder went on to do M.A. and M.Phil in history from Delhi University. She obtained Ph.D at McGill University at Montreal in Canada, with a thesis on “Kings, Brahmanas and Temples in Orissa: an epigraphic study.”

The Infosys Foundation has been set up early this year with a corpus of Rs.450 million (Rs.45 crore), including Rs.210 million (Rs.21 crore) jointly contributed by Infosys’ executive board members and an annual grant by the company to promote world class research in natural and social sciences in the Indian sub-continent.

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