Nayanjot Lahiri, Professor of History at the Ashoka University, has been awarded the 2016 John F. Richards Prize for her book Ashoka in Ancient India. The book has been critically acclaimed for its riveting account of an emperor who spoke to his people through his edicts; his victories and loss that left a legacy that surpassed him.
The Richards Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) to the best book in South Asian history. The prize will be awarded at the Association’s 131st Annual Meeting in January, 2017.
The academic also said she was delighted that the committee has specially mentioned the curious case of a sovereign who sees a successful war as a major defeat. The prize committee said, “Reversing all conventions of kingship, the Emperor Ashoka recorded his greatest military triumph as tragedy, proclaiming an order of non-violence… Lahiri deftly adjudicates between archaeological, textual, and geographical evidence to offer a dazzling interpretation of a remarkable figure of the ancient world and a deep history of ancient society. Her innovative linking of archaeology and biography recasts our understanding of historical methods and ancient worlds alike.”