Stanley Wolpert, an American historian, academician, Indologist, and author of ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’, has passed away aged 91. Wolpert was also famous for his intellectual discourses on the history of modern Pakistan and India. He wrote numerous books on different genres including fiction, biographies and non-fiction. He was a professor at the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1959-2002.
Jinnah of Pakistan is regarded as one of the finest biographies by Wolpert on the life of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The book accounts the private and public life of Quaid and provides an insight into his political struggles, his broken marriage, role of Quaid’s sister in his life and his strenuous relationship with his daughter.
Stanley Albert Wolpert was born on December 23, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York to Russian Jewish parents. His first visit to Bombay, India left him awestruck with the presence and role of Gandhi in Indian politics and soon after returning home, he abandoned a stable career in marine engineering and started studying Indian history, developing a knack for it.
He received his bachelorette in 1953 from City College. He completed his Masters in 1955 and PhD in 1959 from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation was selected for the biennial Watumull Prize of the American Historical Association in 1962 and was acknowledged as one of the finest books on history of Indo-Pak subcontinent published in the United States.
Wolpert started his academic career as an instructor in the Department of History at UCLA in 1959. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1960 and later associate professor in 1963. In 1975, Wolpert was awarded UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition of his efforts.
Some of the most prominent books of Wolpert (fiction) included: Aboard the Flying Swan (1954), Nine Hours to Rama (1962), The Expedition: A Novel (1967) and An Error of Judgment (1970).
Other non-fiction books included: Tilak and Gokhale : Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modern India (1962), Morley and India, 1906-1910 (1967), A New History of India (1977, 1982, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2008), Roots of Confrontation in South Asia : Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the Superpowers (1982), Congress and Indian Nationalism : The Pre-Independence Phase (co-edited with Richard Sisson) (1988), India (1991), Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life and Times (1993), Nehru : A Tryst With Destiny (1996), Gandhi’s Passion : The Life and the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi (2001), Encyclopaedia of India (editor) (2005), Shameful Flight: The Last Years of British Empire in India (2006) and India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation (2010).