Published: 20th November 2018
JNU's Hispanic Studies prof first foreigner to win Mexico's highest civilian honour — the Aztec Eagle
Ganguly was decorated with the striking gold-yellow insignia by Mexican Ambassador Melba Pria at a ceremony in the India International Center (IIC) on November 19
In a first for an Indian academic, Professor Shyama Prasad Ganguly, a well-known Hispanist who has headed the Centre for Spanish and Latin American Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University five times, has been awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest civilian honour given to a foreigner by Mexico.
Ganguly was decorated with the striking gold-yellow insignia by Mexican Ambassador Melba Pria at a ceremony in the India International Center (IIC) on November 19. The award was in recognition of his "outstanding work in the study and dissemination of the Spanish language and Mexican culture".
Describing him as "a pillar of this work", Ambassador Pria said Ganguly belonged to that first generation of a handful of Indian academics who "actually made everybody else interested in Spanish".
He has authored, edited and translated over 25 books in an academic career spanning 40 years.
"We built an edifice almost from scratch, but it will need more cementing from present and future scholars. I hope this award will pave the way for greater attention to India-Mexico and Indo-Latin American studies," Ganguly said after his conferment.
The award ceremony followed a seminar on late Mexican Nobel laureate Octavio Paz, who had constantly endeavoured to create bridges between India and his country.
Ganguly has been involved in teaching and research in the area of Spanish and Latin American studies as well as Comparative and Reception studies at JNU from 1978 onwards. He has guided PhD and MPhil research work as well and has also taught Economics at two colleges in the University of Delhi from 1967 to 1977 with focus on developmental perspectives of the third world countries.
He has carried out studies on Indo-Hispanic relationship and published numerous books and research papers on the subject. He has edited and translated bilingual poetry anthologies in Spanish and Indian languages. He has delivered lectures all over the world and was awarded in many Latin American countries, including the Order of Merit for Distinguished Services from Peru.