Romila Thapar (born 30 November 1931) is an Indian historian. Her principal area of study is ancient India, a field in which she is pre-eminent.Thapar is a Professor of Ancient History, Emerita, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Thapar's special contribution is the use of social-historical methods to understand change in the mid-first millennium BCE in northern India. As lineage-based Indo-Aryan pastoral groups moved into the Gangetic Plain, they created rudimentary forms of caste-based states. The epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata, in her analysis, offer vignettes of how these groups and others negotiated new, more complex, forms of loyalty in which stratification, purity, and exclusion played a greater if still fluid role. The author of From Lineage to State, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Early India: From Origins to AD 1300, and the popular History of India, Part I, Thapar has received honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the University of Oxford, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Calcutta, the University of Hyderabad, Brown University, and the University of Pretoria. Thapar is an Honorary Fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, where she also received her Ph.D. in 1958, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2008, Romila Thapar shared the US Library of Congress's Kluge Prize, for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences.