Federal Cross of Merit Awarded to Prof. Dr. Dietmar Rothermund
22. October 2011
Heidelberg scientist was honoured for the dissemination of knowledge on India in Germany
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Rothermund has received the Federal Cross of Merit for his achievements at Heidelberg University’s South Asia Institute (SAI), the dissemination of knowledge on India in Germany, and for his impressive scientific work. The state decoration – the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany – was presented to Dr. Rothermund by the Rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, during a special ceremony at the SAI on 20 October 2011. The dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, historian Prof. Dr. Manfred Berg, gave the laudatory speech. Dietmar Rothermund taught and conducted research at the South Asia Institute from 1968 until his retirement in 2001, and also served as the institute’s Managing Director.
Dietmar Rothermund (born 1933) studied history and philosophy in Marburg and Munich. In 1959 he earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with a thesis on the social history of America. He was granted a scholarship of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which enabled him to travel to India. In 1963 he became a research assistant at Heidelberg University, where he completed his habilitation in 1968 and was given the Chair of South Asian History shortly thereafter. Among the focus areas of Prof. Rothermund's research are the history of Indian political ideas, the country’s agricultural system during the colonial period, the person of Mahatma Gandhi and Indian economic history.
In 1991 Prof. Rothermund established the Heidelberg Talks on South Asia as a forum for exchange between science, industry, politics and representatives of public life. He served for many years on the executive committee of the German Association for Asian Studies; for ten years, he was also a member of the Indo-German Consultative Group appointed by the German Department of Foreign Affairs. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London since 1988, Prof. Rothermund was Chairman of the European Association of South Asian Studies from 1997 until 2006. In 1994, he was awarded the Hemchandra Raychaudhury Gold Medal of the Asiatic Society in Calcutta (India), and in 2011 the Rabindranath Tagore Cultural Award of the Indo-German Society.