Peter Ronald deSouza


Peter Ronald deSouza is a professor at CSDS and held the Dr S.Radhakrishnan Chair of the Rajya Sabha till April 2017. He was director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 till 2013. Subsequently, as Interim director, he set up the International Center for Human Development (IC4HD) between 2013-14.

He works on issues of democratic politics and in the comparative politics of South Asia. Favouring an eclectic approach to unpacking the problems of politics he searches for the ‘inconvenient fact’ that troubles established ways of talking about the politics of India. He has worked on a range of themes from Panchayati Raj, to trust and political institutions, to dalits and discrimination, to the uniform civil code in India. He has recently published a book of essays, In the Hall of Mirrors: Reflections on Indian Democracy (Orient Blackswan, 2018). In addition he has also edited five books. The most recent is At Home with Democracy: A Theory of Indian Politics, Palgrave Macmillan 2018, (these are essays of Professor D.L.Sheth). The others are Democratic Accommodations: The Minority Question in India (with Hilal Ahmed and Sanjeer Alam, Bloomsbury 2019), Speaking of Gandhi’s Death (with Tridip Suhrud, Orient Blackswan 2010), Indian Youth in a Transforming World: Attitudes and Perceptions, (with Sanjay Kumar and Sandeep Shastri, Sage 2009), India's Political Parties (with E. Sridharan, Sage, 2006) and Contemporary India: Transitions (Sage, 2000). In addition to these books he has published numerous articles the latest of which are, ‘The Recolonization of the Indian Mind’, in Revista Critica de Ciencias Socias, 114, Dezembro 2017, 137-160, and  ‘Minority Rights and Democracy in India’, in The Sage Handbook of Political Sociology (eds) William Outhwaite and Stephen P Turner. 2017. He was one of the three principal investigators of a five nation study on the State of Democracy in South Asia (2006). He has served as an expert and consultant for the UNDP, UNESCO, World Bank, International IDEA, Ford Foundation and Inter Parliamentary Union. He is also a regular columnist for The HinduThe Tribune and Outlook.

As a political theorist his abiding interest is in looking at conundrums of democratic politics and at righting historical wrongs.

Email: peter(at)

Select Publications (Click to Read)

Transgression: Explaining contemporary India

Dharma and Adharma: A Persisting Contradiction within Indian Democracy

The Recolonization of the Indian Mind