I have not met Karan Thapar as far as I know. Back in 1975, when I was at LSE a cousin of his who was my friend mentioned he had finished a first degree at Cambridge and was passing through London, so I assumed he was ahead of me; looking it up yesterday, I find he graduated in economics at Cambridge in 1977 which meant we may have crossed paths at Cambridge as I went there as a Research Student to do my PhD in 1976 after finishing at the LSE.
Karan Thapar’s biography also said “he subsequently obtained a doctorate in International Relations from St Antony’s College Oxford”.
That’s interesting I said to myself, on what subject, I asked, so I inquired at the Bodleian Library. Unfortunately, I am disappointed to say the Bodleian came up with nothing. They said:
“I’m afraid that I can find no trace of a thesis by a “Karan Thapar”. There is nothing in our thesis card index, in our online catalogue, or in the ProQuest thesis index either in the UK/Irish section or internationally.
Karan Thapar does appear in the postgraduate student lists registered for an M.Litt. (initially termed “B.Litt.” – this is the same degree) in politics from 1977 until 1980, by that time with 3 extensions to the time limit for submission of a thesis. College was St Antony’s. Here is a scan of his last appearance in the 1980 list:
There is no corresponding entry in the annual successful candidates lists that I can see (I have checked up to 1985). This I think is all the published information to hand. There is doubtless an explanation to be had in the departmental archives but it would not be available to a third party due to the UK’s Data Protection Act.”
Has Oxford made a mistake? Did Karan Thapar successfully get a doctoral degree there but there is no record of it? It is not logically impossible. Or has he lied?
(No, it isn’t enough to say a public biography of a prominent Indian journalist and “media personality” is erroneous through no fault of his own: his registration for the BLitt/MLitt at Oxford is itself so obscure that mention of the College involved has to mean he is himself the source of the disinformation at some stage or other.)
A few years ago a Delhi Dolt was said to be in line for Deputy Governor Reserve Bank of India, he had made out he had a Princeton PhD and was actually in office as Director General of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, besides being a Manmohan Singh adviser (and favourite).
All false! I had innocently asked Princeton for his doctoral thesis…when they couldn’t find it, I asked him for it as perhaps there’d been a mistake. But no, it had been a lie! He resigned as Director Gen of NCAER, and as a Manmohan adviser too!
My Cambridge stablemate @bibekdebroy please do enlighten me: @YESBANK today says you got the PhD, Cambridge says MSc?
There is case after case…
E.g. the sociologist who did some post-graduate research at the Indian Institute Management and now passes off as a pre-eminent historian with a doctoral degree from an institution that does not award any degrees…Etc etc etc
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