Mahesh Rangarajan

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Mahesh Rangarajan
Born (1964-04-22) 22 April 1964 (age 52)
Nationality Indian
Education DPhil (Modern History)
Alma mater St. Columba's School, Delhi, Hindu College, University of Delhi
Oxford University
Occupation Professor

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

Ashoka University, Sonepat, Haryana
Known for Environmental history.

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 and contemporary 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 chaired 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 in History (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 graduated from Delhi university and then from Oxford each with First Class. He was awarded a doctorate (D.Phil.) in Modern History from Nuffield College, Oxford University in 1993, the subject being 'Forest policy in the Central Provinces.' He was awarded a studentship at Nuffield and was also a Beit Senior Scholar, 1991-1992.[5]


Mahesh Rangarajan studied at Delhi University (1982-1985), Oxford (1986-1993) and moved as the Assistant Editor of the The Telegraph (Kolkata) for a year 1993-94. He taught at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA from 2002-04, and served as Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi, 2007-2011 and as Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, 2011-2015. He is now a Professor of Environmental Studies and History at Ashoka University[6]

Teaching and research[edit]

He quits from the post of Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in September 2015,[7] He has taught courses in Delhi University in environmental history and conservation at several institutions. From 2001 to 2004, he was a visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of History, hosted with South Asia Program, which is part of the Mario Einaudi Centre for International Relation, Cornell Univerasity where he taught South Asian Environmental History.[5][8] 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.[9] 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 and also the syllabus for environmental studies at Delhi University. He was Professor of Modern Indian History at Delhi university, 2007-2011. Like mentioned above, he is now a Professor of History, Environmental History and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University[10] He has written books and articles on politics and history of wildlife conservation, forest rights and environmental history.[11] In 2000 he co-authored,Towards Co-existence and the following year a brief work, India's Wildlife History, An Introduction, Battles over Nature, a book he co-authored with Vasanth Saberwal 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] The book Making Conservation Work (2007) co-edited with Ghazala Shahabhuddin looks at ways of securing India's biodiversity in the new century. The same year 2007 he Co-edited a Reader Environmental Issues in India. He was a member of the founding team and corresponding editor of the Cambridge-based journal Environment and History (founded 1996) headed by Richard Grove and also of the journal Conservation and Society (founded 2003).[5] He is a member of the executive board of the Association of South Asian Environmental Historians.[12]

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 commentary on issues and writes analytical articles for Indian and international media.[13][14]


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 was a Junior fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library. He was awarded the TN Khooshoo Memorial Prize for Environment and Development in 2014.


  • Fencing the Forest, Conservation and Ecological Change in India’s Central Provinces, 1860-1914, Oxford University Press, Delhi and Oxford, 1996; OUP Paperback, 1999.
  • Ed., The Oxford Anthology of Indian Wildlife, Volume I, Hunting and Shooting, Oxford University Press, Delhi and Oxford.
  • Ed., Volume II, Watching and Conserving

Oxford University Press, Delhi and Oxford.

  • Co-authored with VK Saberwal and A. Kothari,
Towards Coexistence, People, Parks and Wildlife,  

Orient Longman, Delhi, 2000.

  • India’s Wildlife History: An Introduction

Permanent Black in association with the Ranthambhore Foundation, Delhi, 2001, Paperback, 2006.

  • Vasant Kabir Saberwal and M Rangarajan, Ed.

Battles over Nature, Science and the politics of conservation, Permanent Black, Delhi, 2003, Paperback, 2006.

  • Edited, Environmental Issues in India: A Reader,

Delhi: Pearson Longman, Published January 2007.

  • Ghazala Shahabuddin and Mahesh Rangarajan edited, Making Conservation Work, Securing biodiversity in this new century (Delhi: Permanent Black, June 2007).
  • William McNeill, Jose Padua and Mahesh Rangarajan Ed. Environmental History As if Nature Existed, (Delhi: OUP, 2010).
  • ed., Bharat main paryavaran ke mudde, Hindi translation of the Reader by Rita Sridhar, (Delhi: Pearson, 2009).
  • Mahesh Rangarajan and K. Sivaramakrishnan Ed.,

India’s Environmental History Volume I, From Earliest times to the Colonial Era. Volume II: Colonialism, Modernity and the Nation, (April 2012, pp. 1200).

  • Mahesh Rangarajan, N. Balakrishnan, Deepa Bhatnagar eds., Selected Works of C. Rajagopalachari, Vol. 1, 1907-1921

(Hyderabad: Blackswan Pvt Ltd., 2013).

  • Mahesh Rangarajan, MD Madhusudan and Ghazala Shahabuddin edited, Nature Without Borders,( Hyderabad: Orient Black Swan, 2014)
  • M Rangarajan and K. Sivaramakrishnan ed. Shifting Ground, People, animals and mobility in India’s Environmental history, (Delhi: OUP, 2014).
  • Mahesh Rangarajan, Nature and Nation, Essays in Environmental History, ( Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2015).

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" (PDF). Ben-Gurion University. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Directory". Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  8. ^ "Spring Semester details at CIPEC". Cornell University. 
  9. ^ Saberwal, Vasant K; Mahesh Rangarajan (2003). Battles over Nature. Orient Blackswan. p. 412. ISBN 81-7824-141-2. Acknowledgements 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Books by Mahesh Rangarajan". India Environment Portal. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Official Website of the ASAEH". Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Roy Chaudhry, Pritha (19 July 2007). "Presidential candidates unsuitable". Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  14. ^ 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]