Sarvepalli Gopal

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Sarvepalli Gopal
Sarvepalli Gopal.jpg
Born (1923-04-23)23 April 1923
Madras, Madras Presidency, British India
Died 20 April 2002(2002-04-20) (aged 78)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Historian
Nationality India
Period British India
Subject Indian History
Notable awards Padma Vibhushan, 1999 (for his contribution to Indian history)[1]
Spouse Kaveri/Indira Ramaswami (1949)

Sarvepalli Gopal (23 April 1923 – 20 April 2002)[2] was a well-known Indian historian.[3] He is the author of Radhakrishnan: A Biography and Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography.

Early life and education

Sarvepalli Gopal was born in Madras, India, on 23 April 1923 into a Telugu family. He was the only son of S. Radhakrishnan, the first vice-president and second president of independent India, and Sivakamu. Besides him, the couple had five daughters.[2]

Gopal was educated at Mill Hill School in London and at the Madras Christian College. He was an undergraduate student of history at Balliol College, Oxford, where he won the Curzon Prize. He continued as a student at Balliol earning his DPhil on the viceroyalty of Lord Ripon in 1951.[2]


Subsequently, he was appointed as a Director in the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, in the 1950s, where he worked closely with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In the 1960s, he was a Reader in Indian History at St Antony's College, Oxford. When the new Jawaharlal Nehru University was founded by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, he was appointed as a Professor of History at the Centre for Historical Studies, which he helped in setting up.[4] In the 1970s, he was a Chairman of the National Book Trust, New Delhi.


Gopal died due to renal failure in Chennai on 20 April 2002 aged 78.



  • History of Humanity: Scientific and Cultural Development, Vol. 7: The Twentieth Century, (Paris: UNESCO, Routledge, 2008) (co-author Tichvinskii, Sergei Leonidovich)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • The Essential Writings of Jawaharlal Nehru, (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003) (co-author Uma Iyengar)
  • Anatomy of Confrontation: The Babri Masjid Ramjanmabhumi Issue, (New Delhi: Viking, 1991)
  • Radhakrishnan: A Biography, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992)
  • Economy, Society and Development: Essays and Reflections in Honour of Malcolm Adesheshiah, (New Delhi: Sage, 1991) (co-authors Kurien, C.T., E.R. Prabhakar)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru: An Anthology, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983)
  • Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1972–82) (co-authors Chalapatti Rau, M., Sharada Prasad, H.Y., Nanda, B.R.)
  • British Policy in India, 1858-1905, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965)
  • Modern India, (London: Historical Association, 1967)
  • The Viceroyalty of Lord Irwin, 1926-1931, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957)
  • The Viceroyalty of Lord Ripon, 1880-1884, (London: Oxford University Press, 1957)
  • The Permanent Settlement in Bengal and its Result, (London, G.Allen and Unwin, 1949)


  1. ^ "Ministry of Home Affairs—Civilian Awards announced on January 26, 1999". Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Raychaudhuri, Tapan (October 2008). "Gopal, Sarvepalli (1923–2002)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 November 2015. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Ramachandra Guha (27 April 2003). "Remembering Sarvepalli Gopal". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  4. ^ K. N. Panikkar (27 April – 12 May 2002). "A great historian: Sarvepalli Gopal, 1923-2002". Frontline. 19 (9). Retrieved 3 November 2006.
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