Sarvepalli Gopal
Born(1923-04-23)23 April 1923
Chennai, India
Died20 April 2002(2002-04-20) (aged 78)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
SubjectIndian History
Notable awardsPadma Vibhushan, 1999 (for his contribution to Indian history)[1]
SpouseKaveri/Indira Ramaswami (1949)
ParentsSarvepalli Radhakrishnan (father)
Sarvepalli Sivakamu (mother)

Sarvepalli Gopal (23 April 1923 – 20 April 2002)[2] was a well-known Indian historian.[3] He was the son of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice-President and the second President of India. He was the author of the Radhakrishnan: A Biography and Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography.

Early life and education

Sarvepalli Gopal was born in Madras, India, on 23 April 1923 into a middle-class family. He was the only son of S. Radhakrishnan, the first vice-president and second president of independent India, and Sivakamu. He had five sisters.[2]

Gopal was educated at Mill Hill School in London and at the Madras Christian College. He was an undergraduate student of history at Balliol College, Oxford, where he won the Curzon Prize. He continued as a student at Balliol earning his PhD on the viceroyalty of Lord Ripon in 1951.[2]


Subsequently, he was appointed as a Director in the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, in the 1950s, where he worked closely with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In the 1960s, he was a Reader in Indian History at St Antony's College, Oxford. When the new Jawaharlal Nehru University was founded by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, he was appointed as a Professor of History at the Centre for Historical Studies, which he helped in setting up.[4] In the 1970s, he was a Chairman of the National Book Trust, New Delhi.


Gopal died due to renal failure in Chennai on 20 April 2002, three days before his 79th birthday.




  1. ^ "Ministry of Home Affairs—Civilian Awards announced on January 26, 1999". Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Raychaudhuri, Tapan (October 2008). "Gopal, Sarvepalli (1923–2002)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 November 2015. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Ramachandra Guha (27 April 2003). "Remembering Sarvepalli Gopal". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  4. ^ K. N. Panikkar (27 April – 12 May 2002). "A great historian: Sarvepalli Gopal, 1923-2002". Frontline. 19 (9). Retrieved 3 November 2006.