Madhav Das Nalapat

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Madhav Das Nalapat (born 1950) aka M D Nalapat is India's first Professor of Geopolitics and the UNESCO Peace Chair at Manipal University,[1] where he is vice-chair of Manipal Advanced Research Group[2] and Director of the Department of Geopolitics & International Relations.[3] A journalist and a former Editor of The Times of India and of Mathrubhumi, he is currently the editorial director of ITV Network[4] & The Sunday Guardian-India.[circular reference] Since 2020 he is a member of the executive committee of the Editors Guild of India.[5]

Nalapat writes extensively on security, policy and international affairs.[6] Apart from his Sunday Guardian column, his writings have been published in a very wide range of publications, including the Pakistan Observer.,[7] Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations,[8] United Press International,[9] China Daily,[10] The Diplomat,[11] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,[12] Economic and Political Weekly,[13] Rediff,[14] & CNN Global Public Square .[15][16]


Nalapat's family heritage is literary. His maternal grandfather V M Nair was Chairman of The Press Trust of India.[17] His paternal grandfather Subramania Iyer edited the Malabar Quarterly Review; Aubrey Menen,[18] the Irish-Malayali satirist, critic and novelist, and Narayana Menon the philosopher and founder of Rationalism in Kerala were his great uncles.

He is the eldest of three sons to Kamala and Kalipurayeth Madhav Das, his mother the celebrated modern poet and writer Kamala Das[19] is also known as Madhavikutty, and Kamala Surayyaa after her conversion to Islam.[20] K. Madhav Das was a banker who initiated India's agriculture reforms in 1960.[21][22]

Nalapat is married to Lakshmi Bayi,[23] the twelfth Princess of Tranvancore, the erstwhile large princely state that encompassed Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu until 1948, the year after independence when Travancore became part of the Union Territories of India.

Nalapat was educated at the Frank Anthony School in Delhi and graduated a Gold-Medallist in economics from the University of Bombay.


He began his academic career as fellow of the Centre for Political Research in 1974. Four years later he moved to business management, taking over as executive director of the Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company Limited, where he implemented the Thiruvananthapuram edition project in the record time of twenty-seven months. The Malayalam word "Mathrubhumi" translates to "mother land" in English.

In 1984 he switched to the editorial side, taking over as Editor of the Mathrubhumi Daily and the Mathrubhumi Illustrated Weekly. Between 1984 and 1988 ABC figures showed an exponential growth of circulation; when he left circulation was 500,000. As Editor, he gave prominence to the war against corruption and against social injustices such as discrimination against women and the socially disadvantaged. Both these themes have been consistent ever since in his writings.

In 1989 Nalapat switched from Malayalam to English language when he joined as resident Editor of The Times of India in Bangalore. In 1994 he was transferred to Delhi to become the Resident Editor, and during his tenure circulation again increased exponentially.

In 1998 Nalapat switched from media to academia at Manipal University, where Ramdas Pai was Chancellor,[24] later establishing the department of Geopolitics and International Relations, where he still teaches. He is also a distinguished fellow of the University of Georgia USA.

In 1999 Nalapat published Indutva,[25] sometimes called the workbook of a secular Nationalist. The book advocates his theory that Indians are a composite of all the cultures in the history of India and share a common cultural DNA, and that if differences are accepted and faiths are different but equal, a pragmatic way out of poverty into social harmony can be achieved. Promoting pathways to religious tolerance and societal progress are still key themes in his work.

He has written 7 books, the latest in 2014 being The Practice of Geopolitics which contains his writings over the years on various important themes of International Relations.[26]

Prof. M D Nalapat has worked exhaustively for the betterment of India-US relations, recognizing the importance of a robust partnership between the US and India in matters of global strategy and security. Nalapat was the first to define the Indo-Pacific as stretching from the Horn of Africa, to Vladivostok, Alaska and Chile. In 2003 he pitched a concept in Washington for an Asian NATO[27] that has since evolved into the Quadrilateral Alliance. In 2020 he introduced his concept of The Indo-Pacific Charter to protect democracy and preserve peace in the Indo-Pacific region.

Since 1980s Nalapat worked to improve Sino-Indian relations,[28] visiting the country lecturing and writing in Chinese publications and talking on CGTN, and repeatedly pointing to the complementarities between India and China. Since 2017 when it became clear the global context had changed, he has been alerting the world to China's ambitions of global supremacy and hegemony.

He has fostered India-Taiwan ties in 1992 Nalapat persuaded PV Narasimha Rao to set up representative offices in Delhi and Taipei. Also in 1992 Nalapat argued for full recognition of Israel and in 2003 with JINSA he organised the first ever India-Israel-US trilateral in New Delhi.

Nalapat had advisory roles with PM Rajiv Gandhi and PM Narasimha Rao. He never claims a current advisory role but his influence is manifest.

In 1999 Nalapat was appointed UNESCO Peace Chair[29] at Manipal University for higher education to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation activities in the field of peace, human rights, democracy, tolerance, non-violence and international understanding.

Nalapat's writings are published in four continents; his intellectual and academic analysis stretches from Europe, to the Indian Ocean, to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; he is known for his advocacy of free speech and freedom of press, transparency of governance and bureaucracy, defence of democracy and creating C21st education policy and systems in India that include India's civilisational history.

MDN has been the President of the International Interfaith Dialogue India.[30] His vision for a stable world is reflected in his peacebuilding efforts; some examples are his associations with ASEAN, BRICS, RIC, the Quadrilateral Alliance, the Anglosphere, The Global Peace Foundation[31] and Sravasti.

Apart from his work, he has played a key role in the literacy movement in Kerala, as the first honorary coordinator of the Kerala Association for Non-formal Education and Development. He was also the honorary secretary of the Kerala Children's Film Society, which screens educational films for children. He has also been active in environmental issues as honorary secretary of the Kerala Forestry Board. Recently Nalapat has been actively associated with "Swachh Bharat" (Clean India). He has been active in helping set up Water ATMs, where for a rupee a litre of drinking water can be accessed by the citizen.

Recently Nalapat has also given talks at literary festivals and at India Narrative, Sangam, M.A.S.T., Foreign Correspondents Club Hong Kong, National Maritime Foundation, Virat Hindustan Sangam, Rotary Club Bombay and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.

Current affiliations[edit]


  1. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Manipal Advanced Research Group (MARG) | Manipal Academy of Higher Education".
  3. ^,important%20themes%20impacting%20International%20Relations. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "About Team – iTV Network: Current India News, Top Headlines, Live Updates, English News India, Hindi News, Regional Updates India, Videos, Photos and More".
  5. ^ "List of Members". 4 September 2018.
  6. ^ Hearings (24 February 2005). "July 21–22, 2005 Written Testimony by M. D. Nalapat". Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  7. ^ "The Pakistan Observer". Archived from the original on 7 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Gateway House".
  9. ^ "UPI".
  10. ^ "China Daily".
  11. ^ "The Diplomat".
  12. ^ "RFERL".
  13. ^ "EPW".
  14. ^ "Rediff".
  15. ^ "CNN GPS".
  16. ^ "CNN GPS".
  17. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  21. ^ das, kalipurayath/
  22. ^ C:\Users\afilm\Downloads\Agricultural Problems of India (2).pdf
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  32. ^ UNESCO
  33. ^ "Faculty list". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  34. ^ "Editorial leadership". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
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  37. ^ "M.D.Nalapat". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  38. ^ "Leadership". Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  39. ^ "International Affairs Forum, CIR". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  40. ^ "About / Resource Board". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
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External links[edit]