Ashwin Mahesh

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Dr. Ashwin Mahesh
ResidenceBangalore, India
Alma materVidya Mandir Senior Secondary School,
Army School, Bangalore,
St. Joseph's College, Bangalore,
DMS Pondicherry University,
Vanderbilt University,
University of Washington,
OccupationTechnologist, journalist, entrepreneur, politician
Known forUrban Development,
Social technology,
Public Interest Media
Home townBangalore
Political partyAam Aadmi Party (currently)
Lok Satta Party
MovementIndia Against Corruption
Spouse(s)Sapana Rawat
ChildrenAditi and Mahiti.
AwardsAshoka Fellow (2009)
@ashwinmahesh on Twitter

Ashwin Mahesh is an urbanist, journalist, politician and social technologist[1] based in Bangalore. After his education in atmospheric science (PhD) and astronomy (MS),[2] he worked as a climate scientist at NASA [3][4][5] before switching to a career in governance reforms and urban development. He was a prominent member of the Loksatta movement working for administrative, electoral and governance reforms, and thereafter became the National Vice President of the Lok Satta Party.[6] In July 2016, when the party decided to quit electoral politics, he resigned his position, and began to work closely with the Aam Aadmi Party. He is a co-founder of the national public affairs magazine, India Together. He also founded the social technology firm, Mapunity, and is one of the co-founders of the electric vehicles-based transportation company, Lithium. He is also a founder member of Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC). Ashwin Mahesh was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Ashwin Mahesh did his schooling at Army High School, Bengaluru and Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School (1986), Chennai and then studied Physics at St Joseph's College of Arts and Science (1989). Later, he did his MBA from Pondicherry University (1991), M.S. in Astronomy from Vanderbilt University (1993) and PhD in Atmospheric Science/Climate Science/Geophysics from the University of Washington (1999). He is married to Sapana Rawat and has two daughters, Aditi and Mahiti. He returned to Bangalore in 2004.[4]


Ashwin Mahesh was a research faculty at NASA Goddard Earth Science and Technology Centre in USA.[1] He discovered a star, known as 'the companion to LkHα 234'. He spent a decade as an atmospheric scientist studying clouds and snow in Antarctica, and also working on satellite-based detection technologies.[8]

After returning from the US, Ashwin became a researcher at IIM, Bangalore & at the CiSTUP in IISc.[9] He was also an adjunct faculty member at International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore.[1] and Urban Research Strategist at the Office of Urban Affairs for the Karnataka government.

In 1998, he co-found India Together, an online magazine that covers public affairs, policy and development in India.[7] He co-founded & is the CEO of Mapunity, a social tech company in Bangalore, that develops IT-led solutions to social problems and development challenges in India.[10] In October 2014, he co-founded India's first 100% Electric Vehicles-based transportation service, Lithium, which began deploying electric vehicles to serve the employee transportation market in Bangalore. He also helped establish the Centre for Public Problem Solving, an action-research group for building capacity in public administration and planning.

Ashwin become a driving force behind numerous urban development projects in Bangalore including rationalisation of the BMTC bus service, traffic management solutions,[11] cleaning up and preservation of lakes.[2] He was also part of the Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development Task Force (ABIDe).[12]

Political career[edit]

Ashwin Mahesh was associated with the anti-corruption initiative, Corruption Saaku, since its inception, and later played an active role as it grew into India Against Corruption (IAC)'s demand for the Lokpal Bill.[12]

He was listed in The Smart List 2012: 50 people whose ideas will change the world by Wired UK.[1] He was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship for Social Development.

Ashwin ran his first political campaign in 2012 for the upper house of the Karnataka assembly, which he finished fourth.[4] He had started many initiatives called Missed Call Campaign to raise awareness and increase the number of registered voters before the MLC elections.[3] He had enrolled more than 15,000 voters, but ended up with only 4,349 votes in the Bangalore graduates' constituency elections.[13] Bangalore Mirror newspaper noted, if every one of the voters Mr Mahesh enrolled for voting had turned up to cast their ballot on election day, he would have won by a thumping majority'.[13]

In 2013, Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections, Ashwin Mahesh contested from the Bommanahalli constituency,[14][15] garnered 11,915 votes[6] and finished third.[16] The Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC), an initiative which was launched by the business community of the IT capital of the nation, endorsed Ashwin in the Bommanahalli constituency.[9][17][18] He secured 6.75 per cent of the total votes polled, beating even the Janata Dal(JDS) and Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) candidates.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Mukherjee, Saswati (16 February 2012). "Ashwin Mahesh makes it to Smart List". The Times of India.
  2. ^ a b Kumar, Manasi Paresh (19 May 2012). "Astronomer documents urban past". Bangalore Mirror.
  3. ^ a b "Give a 'missed call' to register yourself as a voter". Bangalore Mirror. 10 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Young professionals seek to change face of India's politics". The National UAE. 5 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Bangalore's New Agenda Setters". News Laundry. 3 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Lok Satta Party's debut in Karnataka not without gains". The Hindu. 9 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Ashoka Fellows : Ashwin Mahesh". Archived from the original on 22 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Mapunity : People". Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Dr. Ashwin Mahesh". B-PAC. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Dr Ashwin Mahesh: Think beyond the road". Bangalore Mirror. 11 November 2009.
  11. ^ "Big-10 roads ever green". Bangalore Mirror. 27 January 2009.
  12. ^ a b Arunkumar, B H (28 August 2011). "Spirit uncorrupted by disability". Bangalore Mirror.
  13. ^ a b "Backed by Justice Hegde, dumped by lazy voters". Bangalore Mirror. 15 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Promising start for Loksatta". Deccan Herald. 8 May 2013.
  15. ^ "This time, it's a 'Social' election". Deccan Chronicle. 30 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Karnataka polls: New voters, but old politics wins". Deccan Chronicle. 9 May 2013.
  17. ^ "Five of 14 candidates backed by B.PAC win". The Hindu. 9 May 2013.
  18. ^ a b "BPAC experiment clicks in Karnataka polls as candidates make an impressive start". India Today. 9 May 2013.