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IIT Mandi professor wins USD 100,000 for research on Indian history

Dr. Manu V. Devadevan.

An Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi faculty member Manu V. Devadevan has been selected for the Infosys Prize 2019, awarded by Infosys Science Foundation for his contribution to the field of revisionist history of pre-modern South India.

The jury’s citation made special mention of Dr Devadevan’s book ‘A Pre-History of Hinduism’ stating that it “offers a powerful and refreshing new approach to the study of the cultural history of India, based on his profound knowledge of sources in multiple languages. The book offers a revisionist paradigm for the study of pre-modern India.”

The award was announced by Infosys Science Foundation on November 7 at the Infosys campus, Bengaluru, and will be presented to Dr Devadevan on January 7, 2020. The prize comprises a gold medal, a citation and a prize purse of USD 100,000. A panel of accomplished jurors comprising renowned scholars and professors shortlisted the winners of Infosys Prize 2019 from 196 nominations.

Devadevan holds an expertise in multiple languages including Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, and Odiya. His work bridges the divide between history and artistic domains, based on his interpretation of materials from theatre, literature, ritual and religious fields.

The Infosys Prize, as per the organisers, is aimed at boosting the prestige of science and research in India and to inspire young Indians to take up a career in research.

Accepting this recognition, Devadevan commented, “This recognition increases my intellectual responsibilities and makes me reaffirm my commitment to pursue more meaningful research in the years to come.”

Congratulating him, Prof. Timothy A. Gonsalves, Director, IIT Mandi, noted, “This is indeed a remarkable achievement at such an early stage of his career. I wish him many more achievements to come.”

Devadevan completed a Master’s degree in Sociology at Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, and in History at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, after which he completed his PhD at Mangalore University.

His publications include A Prehistory of Hinduism (2016) and the edited volume Clio’s Descendants: Essays in Honour of Kesavan Veluthat (2018) in English, and Prithviyallodagida Ghatavu: Karnatakada Ninnegalu (2009) and Sankhakshetrada Kannu: Puri Sri Jagannatha Devalayada Itihasa (2017) in Kannada.