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Gopa Sabharwal is a sociologist by training and her research engages with ethnicity, identity and social history. Her work reflects a continuing concern with and exploration of diverse aspects of social life and its multiple contexts. She obtained a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Delhi for her research on ethnic groups and ethnicity in Belgaum in Karnataka State. Dr. Sabharwal has had a long and illustrious career at Delhi University.

She founded the Department of Sociology at India’s best Arts college, the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, very early in her career in 1993. In 18 years she successfully transformed this Department into one of the best in the country with a field-work component unrivalled by any institution and regular student exchange with students from as far as Australia, the United States, Singapore and even Japan.

Dr. Sabharwal is a pioneer in knowledge creation and dissemination and has successfully merged her several interests – in sociology, in social anthropology, in social history, in film, in media and television – to take forward the educational process. She was hand picked by the Nalanda Mentor Group and its Chairperson Professor Amartya Sen, to spearhead the task of establishing the prestigious Nalanda University. She was arguably one of India’s younger Vice Chancellors and has zest, an energy and enormous creative ability to transform the vision of Nalanda into the reality of Nalanda University as a centre of world-wide excellence.

Gopa Sabharwal has a wide range of publications, including:

  • India since 1947: The Independent Years (New Delhi: Penguin India, 2007).
  • Ethnicity and Class: Social Differentiation in an Indian City (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006).
  • The Indian Millennium, A.D. 1000 to A.D. 2000. (Delhi: Penguin India: 2000) (Now in its 3rd edition).

She is currently engaged in collaborative research on two key works, entitled “From Noakhali to New Delhi: Gandhi, 1947-48” and “India 1947: Lives Lived”, both commissioned by Penguin Books, New Delhi, India.