Swapan Dasgupta in May 2017
|MP of Rajya Sabha (Nominated)|
Assumed office |
25 April, 2016
3 October 1955|
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
|Residence||New Delhi, India|
La Martiniere Calcutta|
St. Stephen's College, Delhi
SOAS, University of London
Nuffield College, Oxford
|Occupation||Journalist, Writer, Public Policy Analyst, Politician|
At various points in his career, he has held editorial posts at The Statesman, The Daily Telegraph, The Times of India, The Indian Express and India Today, where he was Managing Editor till 2003. He has published his works in The Pioneer, The Telegraph, Dainik Jagran, The Times of India, The New Indian Express, Outlook, The Free Press Journal and several other newspapers and magazines, and is currently a freelance writer for various publications. Over the last decade, he has acquired the fame of being one of the most frequently appearing faces on Indian television. He is seen in all major political debates featured in the English electronic media, and was well known for appearing on NDTV's weekly segment, "Politically Incorrect", with Mani Shankar Aiyar. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in the field of Literature and Education in 2015. A self-professed believer in British Conservatism, he has often been seen to be supportive of the BJP and its politics, though has on a number of occasions taken stands that are contrary to the party line.
Swapan Dasupta was born in Calcutta in 1955 into a Bengali Baidya family. His father, S.C. Dasgupta, was the owner and Chairman of the Calcutta Chemical Company, a well-known pharmaceutical company started by his grandfather, the Late K.C. Das during the period of Swadeshi entrepreneurship in Bengal. K.C. Das became famous for being amongst the first Indians to graduate from Stanford University in 1910. His mother, Rekha (née Sen), was the daughter of the successful solicitor Susil Chandra Sen CBE, author of India's first Companies Act, and after whom a road is named (formerly Nandan Road) in the posh locality of Bhowanipore, South Calcutta. The Sen family were the erstwhile Rajas (Zamindar) of Kalna, centred in Guptipara in West Bengal. He is also descended from the famous Gooptu clan through his maternal side.
He attended St. Paul's School, Darjeeling briefly, and completed his school education at La Martiniere Calcutta, where he was a contemporary of Chandan Mitra and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 1975, standing second in Delhi University. He completed his MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. His thesis, completed in 1980, was entitled "Local politics in Bengal, Midnapur District".
After the death of his father in 1979, he returned to India and joined the Calcutta Chemical Company. However, acknowledging that his true calling was in academia, he soon stepped down. He returned to the United Kingdom to take up the position of a Junior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, for which he was awarded the INLAKS Scholarship by the INLAKS-Shivdasani Foundation.
He returned to India in 1986 and started off his journalistic career at The Statesman. He worked in senior editorial positions at newspapers including The Times of India, The Telegraph, The Indian Express and India Today. He is currently an independent columnist published in numerous national and international media.
Dasgupta is a journalist in the English media. He regularly appears on various Indian news channels including CNN-IBN, NDTV and Times Now to debate on current issues pertaining to India and international affairs. He has edited a collection of essays: Nirad Chaudhuri—The First Hundred Years. He was a co-participant on the popular weekly show Politically Incorrect with Mani Shankar Aiyar on NDTV.
He also lectures extensively in both India and abroad on topics relating to history, politics & current affairs. He was recently lauded for his series on 'Indian Conservatism' at the King's India Institute, London's Distinguished Lecture Series at the Tagore Centre for Global Thought, King's College, London.
He was awarded the C.F. Andrews Award by his alma mater, St. Stephen's College, in 2015 for being amongst the most distinguished alumni of the institution.
Larsen and Toubro Board
In February 2015, Swapan Dasgupta was appointed on the Board of Directors of Larsen and Toubro as a nominee of the Unit Trust of India. Dasgupta's appointment to this post has given rise to some controversy. He resigned from the position prior to being elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Nomination to the Rajya Sabha
In spite of being perceived to be close to the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has not joined the party and remains an independent member in the Rajya Sabha.
He is married to Reshmi Dasgupta, Lifestyle Editor at The Economic Times, and they reside in New Delhi. They have one son who currently lives in London.
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