Kumar is the daughter of Lovraj Kumar, a former bureaucrat and member of the elite Indian Administrative Service, and his wife Dharma Kumar, a notable historian. While Lovraj Kumar belongs to Uttarakhand, Dharma hails from a Tamil Brahmin family from south India. Radha Kumar grew up in Delhi and studied in Modern School (New Delhi). She obtained her Masters degree from Cambridge University, and holds a PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Kumar has written several books on a wide range of subjects, mostly dealing with gender issues in a conflict situation. Usually, the conflicts that she has chosen to address in this manner have involved a Muslim party or a communist party or both of these. Kumar has been a director at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Jamia Milia Islamia, an Islamic institution located in Delhi. She is also co-founder and Director-General of the Delhi Policy Group, a think-tank which has received generous funding from US-based agencies including the Ford Foundation.
Kashmir interlocutor panel
In October 2010, Kumar was appointed as one of the three interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir appointed by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of the Central Government of India. The panel was headed by Dilip Padgaonkar, former editor of the Times of India. and the other member was M.M. Ansari, a former Election Commissioner of India.
Within a few weeks of the panel's constitution, and after private hints had failed, a public reprimand was issued to the panel by P. Chidambaram, home minister of India, for speaking too freely and too frequently to the press; and also for pushing various schemes and solutions, when the assigned job of the panel was to gauge and summarize the views and ideas of Kashmiri society. All of these criticisms pertained to actions taken by Kumar. Her reaction to the reprimand was to tell the press that the home minister (who had appointed the panel) had no business to tell the interlocutors what they should do.
- Divide and Fall?: Bosnia in the Annals of Partition
- Negotiating Peace in Deeply Divided Societies: A Set of Simulations
- Making Peace with Partition
- A History of Doing: Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India, 1900-1990
- Bosnia-Herzegovina: Between War and Peace(Co editor)
- Frameworks For A Kashmir Settlement
- Paradise at war: A political history of Kashmir
- "Professor Radha Kumar". Delhi Policy Group.
- "Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar & Ansari to be interlocutors". The Economic Times. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Radha Kumar to stay J&K interlocutor". The Times of India. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Radha Kumar articles Foreign Affairs