Mahesh Rangarajan

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Mahesh Rangarajan
Born (1964-04-22) 22 April 1964 (age 50)
Nationality Indian
Education DPhil (Modern History)
Alma mater Hindu College, University of Delhi
Oxford University
Occupation Professor
Employer Delhi University
Known for Environmental history, Political analyst, Psephologist

Mahesh Rangarajan (born 22 April 1964) is a researcher,[1] author[2] and historian with a special interest in environmental history and colonial history of British India. He appears frequently on Indian television as a political analyst.[3] He is also a columnist in the print media writing on wildlife conservation, political and environmental issues.[3] In 2010, he led the Elephant task force (Gajah) of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests. The task force was formed to formulate measures for the protection of elephants in India.[4]

Early life[edit]

Mahesh Rangarajan was born in New Delhi and finished his ICSE and ISC from St. Columba's School, Delhi. He then did a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Hindu College, University of Delhi. He received the Rhodes scholarship in 1986 to do a BA in modern history from Balliol College at Oxford, which he finished in 1988. He received an M.A. in modern history from the same college and a DPhil from Nuffield College, Oxford in 1993 on Forest policy in the Central Provinces.[5]


Mahesh Rangarajan taught and lectured at Oxford and moved as the Assistant Editor of the The Telegraph (Kolkata) for a year.

Teaching and research[edit]

He is presently Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, while on long-leave from his position as Professor of history at Delhi University.[6] He has taught courses in environmental history and conservation at several institutions. From 2001 to 2004, he was a visiting faculty at the Department of History, hosted with the South Asia Program, which is part of the Mario Einaudi Centre for International Relations, Cornell University, where he taught South Asian Environmental History.[5][7] He has been a Visitor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science several times where he researched and wrote some of his books.[8] He has helped design courses in human ecology at Ambedkar University Delhi, in wildlife conservation at the National Centre for Biological Sciences and is one of the core faculties in that course[9] and also the syllabus for environmental studies at Delhi University.

He has written several books and articles on politics and history of wildlife conservation, forest rights and environmental history.[10] In the book, Battles over Nature, he analyses present-day conservation conflicts and finds their roots in India’s colonial past and in the governance system that was adopted as an independent nation state.[1] He was a member of the founding team and corresponding editor of the Cambridge-based journal Environment and History headed by Richard Grove.[5] He is a member of the executive board of the Association of South Asian Environmental Historians.[11]

Political commentary[edit]

He is a columnist and essayist and writes frequently in the newspapers and magazines. He also appears on television as a political analyst during elections.[3] He is known for his bold and frank commentary on issues and writes analytical articles for Indian and international media.[12][13]


In 1988, he was awarded the Martin Wright Prize at Balliol College and the Charles Wallace Scholar and Beit Scholar at Nuffield College, Oxford University in 1991.[5] He is a fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library.


  • Environment and wild life (Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 1998)
  • Troubled legacy (Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 1998)
  • The Raj and the natural world (Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 1999)
  • Beyond state and market? (Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 1997)
  • Fencing the forest (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • India's wildlife history (Permanent Black in association with Ranthambhore Foundation, Distributed by Orient Longman, 2001)
  • Oxford Anthology of Indian Wildlife (2 volumesOxford University Press 2000 & 2002)
  • Towards Coexistence, People, Parks and Wildlife (with VK Saberwal and A Kothari, Orient Longman, Delhi, 2000)
  • Battles Over Nature (with Vasant K. Saberwal, South Asia Books, 2006 Paperback)
  • Environmental Issues in India: A Reader, (Editor. Pearson Longman, 2007)
  • Making Conservation Work, Securing biodiversity in this new Century (Editor with Ghazala Shahabuddin, Permanent Black, Delhi 2007)
  • Environmental History As if Nature Existed (Editor with William McNeill and Jose Padua, OUP, Delhi April 2010)
  • India’s Environmental History, Volume I, From Earliest times to the colonial era. (Editor with K. Sivaramakrishnan, Permanent Black, Ranikhet, 2011)
  • India’s Environmental History, Volume II: Colonialism, Modernity and the Nation, (Editor with K. Sivaramakrishnan, Permanent Black, Ranikhet, 2011)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "RAMACHANDRA GUHA, MAHESH RANGARAJAN, MICHAEL LEWIS". Infochange. Retrieved 23 July 2009. "Mahesh Rangarajan, an independent researcher, also writes in a similar vein but his work is specifically about the politics of wildlife conservation." 
  2. ^ "Books by Mahesh Rangarajan on Openlibrary". Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Mahesh Rangarajan - India's No.1 political analyst". Times Now. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  4. ^ Mahesh Rangarajan; others (2010). Gajah: Securing the future for elephants in India. New Delhi: Ministry of Environment and Forests. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "CV of Mahesh Rangarajan". Ben-Gurion University. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "University of Delhi South Campus Faculty Page". Retrieved 23 July 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Spring Semester details at CIPEC". Cornell University. 
  8. ^ Saberwal, Vasant K; Mahesh Rangarajan (2003). Battles over Nature. Orient Blackswan. p. 412. ISBN 81-7824-141-2. "Acknowledgements" 
  9. ^ "Core Faculty in the PG Course in Wildlife Biology and Conservation". National Centre for Biological Sciences. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Books by Mahesh Rangarajan". India Environment Portal. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Official Website of the ASAEH". Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  12. ^ Roy Chaudhry, Pritha (19 July 2007). "Presidential candidates unsuitable". Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Rangarajan, Mahesh (20 March 2009). "Decline of India's political leviathans". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 July 2009. "...Mahesh Rangarajan analyses the decline of the country's national parties" 

External links[edit]