“Indian youth are increasingly reading books on Indian history which are written in an inspiring and exciting style”, best selling author and historian Dr.Vikram Sampath tells Sandhya Mendonca in an interview. Riding high on the runaway success of his book on the controversial Hindu nationalist figure Veer Savarkar, Sampath has just inked a deal with Penguin to publish his next 3 books which are on the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan; the Maharashtrian hero Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhosale, and one about lesser-known historical heroes, respectively.
It’s a historian’s duty not to sit in judgement of the past by today’s yardstick of notions of nationalism, secularism and communalism, he says, and talks about how history can create a space to heal the wounds of the past, and pay attention to the truth and reconciliation that happens when historic facts are accepted and not whitewashed.
Sampath who holds that a historian should provide balanced judgement and a context to what has happened in the past, is an unlikely historian. In recent days, it’s become quite common for people to switch professions, but Sampath did so a while ago and has gone from being an IT engineer to becoming a bestselling author and historian and a founder of literary and cultural festivals. He’s a trained classical singer, and has a doctorate in history & music, and a MBA in Finance.