Prof. Shiva G. Bajpai
(July 13, 1933 – January 13, 2018)
With great sadness, the Board of Directors of Dharma Civilization Foundation, announce that our Founding President, Dr. Shiva Bajpai, passed away on Saturday January 13th 2017.
Dr. Shiva G. Bajpai, as a Professor of History, taught at California State University Northridge (CSUN) from 1970 to 2003 and continued to offer classes at CSUN until 2010. Professor Bajpai’s teaching focused on the history of India and World History, and he created and directed the Asian Studies interdisciplinary major at CSUN from its inception. He came to CSUN by way of Banaras, India, London, and the University of Minnesota. After completing his B. A. and M. A. at the Banaras Hindu University, Professor Bajpai then taught for several years at the Banaras Hindu University and the University of Gorakhpur. Professor Bajpai undertook graduate work at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies with Professor A. L. Basham, receiving his Ph. D. in the history of classical and medieval India in 1967. He then moved to the University of Minnesota to work as the co-author and co-editor of a magisterial work, the Historical Atlas of South Asia, which was published in 1978 and updated in 1992, which remains the standard in the field and the essential tool for understanding the “wonder that was (and still is) India.”
When Professor Bajpai retired from active teaching, he found himself engulfed in a new struggle that came to be called the “California Text-Book controversy”, which centered on the teaching of the history of India and Hinduism in California K-12 schools. From 2005 to 2009, he worked with the staff of Hinduism Today to create the book “The History of Hindu India” intended for middle school as a corrective to the erroneous material common in the officially prescribed textbooks. The book has also been turned into a well-received five-part documentary series available on You Tube. His encounter with the existing entrenched challenges in the narratives about Hinduism in the academy, further led him to the founding of Dharma Civilization Foundation. Serving as its first President and a trustee, Professor Bajpai helped guide and shape its mission, which was to “facilitate and promote” the understanding of India’s Civilization, Religion and Culture through education, by establishment of centers, endowed chairs at undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities, new courses, scholarship, and journals. In this capacity, Professor Bajpai guided Dharma Civilization Foundation in creating the Center for Dharma Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, in a very short period of time. DCF is now involved in several initiatives both in California and around the world at all levels of higher education. We celebrate the life of Professor Shiva Bajpai, and will deeply miss him, even as we rededicate ourselves to the vision and mission of Dharma Civilization Foundation, that he helped create and nurture.