Professor Romila Thapar

As the World Service marks its 80th anniversary, we ask six octogenarians how the world has changed for women in the last eight decades. In no single arena has the world altered so much and in such myriad ways.

In some parts of the globe, the position of women is unrecognisable compared to 80 years ago, in others, women lead lives virtually unchanged since the days of their grandmothers.

When she was a young woman Professor Romila Thapar had a choice – her father could afford a dowry or a degree but not both. Professor Thapar chose a degree and has never looked back, becoming one the greatest historians in India.

Now aged 81 she talks to Lyse Doucet about her early life studying in London and hitch hiking through France in the 1950s.

She also talks about her work, which has given her an international reputation, but also led to death threats and also about life for women in India today – have the promises of independence been fulfilled for all of India's citizens?

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55 minutes

Last on

Sun 9 Dec 2012 13:05 GMT