Prof. Dr. Rahul Mukherji


Professor and Head
Department of Political Science, 
South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University
Voßstr. 2, Building 4130
D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany


Executive Director, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University (2020-2022)

Speaker, Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (2021-2022)


Room: 14, 1st floor
Tel.: +49 6221 5415291
Office Hours:
Student Consultations on Friday 1400-1600 hours
Please send an email for an appointment!

Academia Profile:


About Prof. Dr. Rahul Mukherji:

Short Bio-data

I have been professor and head of the Department of Political Science at the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg University since 2016.

I teach and research in the area of comparative and South Asian politics and international relations. Current research projects involve democratic backsliding, politics of welfare and India’s emergence in the global order.

I have earlier taught at the National University of Singapore (2008-2016), the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi. 2003-2008), Hunter College (New York, 1996-1998) and the University of Vermont (Burlington, 1999). I am concurrently Senior Non-Resident Fellow with the Institute of South Asian Studies (National University of Singapore, 2021-2023), and co-chair of the China-India workshop coordinated by Fudan University in Shanghai.

I serve on the board of journals such as Governance, Global Public Policy and Governance, Pacific Affairs, India Review, Bandung and the Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences. I co-edit a book series for Oxford University Press titled: Institutions and Development in South Asia.


Area of expertise

Comparative politics, International Relations, Governance, South Asia


Designation: Professor and Head, Department of Political Science; Executive Director, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University


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1999 PhD, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, New York.

1992 M.Phil., South Asia Division, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

1990 MA, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi.

1988 BA, Economics (Honours), Delhi University (DU), Delhi.

Jobs Held / Offered

January 7 2008 – June 14 2016, Associate Professor, South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

July 1 2014 – September 2015, Honorary Senior Fellow and Head of Research, Institute of South Asian Studies, NUS.

2006 – 2008: Associate Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

2003- 2006 - Assistant Professor, Centre for Political Studies, JNU, New Delhi.

2001 – 2003 - Fellow, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, New Delhi.

1999- 2001 - Assistant Research Professor, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

1999: Offered Visiting Assistant Professor positions at the departments of government at Dartmouth College and Georgetown University, respectively.

Spring 1999 - Visiting Lecturer. Department of Political Science, The University of Vermont, Burlington.

1996-1998: Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York.



2021-2023: Non-resident Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

2014: NUS award for Research Excellence (Office of Deputy President, Research and Technology, National University of Singapore.

2012: NUS award for Research Excellence (Office of Deputy President, Research and Technology, National University of Singapore.

August 1 2005 to October 4 2006, Visiting Research Fellow - Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.

May 20 2004 - June 25 2004 - Associate, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies - Columbia University, New York.

May 20 - August 19, 2002 - Visiting Fellow, Australia South Asia Research Centre - Economics Division, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra.

1997-1999 - President's FellowGraduate School of Arts and Sciences - Columbia University, New York.

1993 -1996 - Ambedkar Overseas Fellow in International Relations, Government of India, New Delhi.

Select Publications


Globalization and Deregulation: Ideas, Interests and Institutional Change in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Political Economy of Reforms in India under the Oxford India Short Introduction Series (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2014).

Co-authored with Sumit Ganguly, India Since 1980 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011). Book was translated into Portuguese.

Journal Publications

 “Policy paradigms and path dependence: the endogenous roots of institutional displacement and drift in India,” Global Public Policy and Governance, vol. 1, No. 1,(2021), pp. 78-97.(2021) (with Seyed Hossein Zarhani). PDF

“Democracy vs. Covid: India’s Illiberal Remedy,” Journal of Democracy, Vol. 31, No.4 (2020), pp. 90-105. PDF

“Governing India: Evolution of Programmatic Welfare in Andhra Pradesh,” Studies in Indian Politics, Vol.8, No. 1 (2020), 7-21 (with Seyed Hossein Zarhani). PDF

"Bureaucratic Rationality, Political Will, and State Capacity - MGNREGS in Undivided Andhra Pradesh" Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 52, No. 49 (2017), pp. 53–60. (with Jha, Himanshu) PDF

"Governance reform in a weak state: Thirty years of Indian experience" Governance, Vol.30, No.1 (2017), pp. 53–58. PDF

"India and Global Economic Governance: From Structural Conflict to Embedded Liberalism" International Studies Review, Vol 16, No.3, (2014), pp.460-466. PDF

"Ideas, Interests and the Tipping Point: Explaining Economic Change in India," Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 20, No. 2 (2013), pp. 363-89. PDF

"Interests, Wireless Technology and Institutional Change: From Government Monopoly to Regulated Competition in Indian Telecommunications", Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (2009), pp. 491-517.

"The Politics of Telecommunications Regulation in India: Explaining State - Industry Alliances Favoring Foreign Investment" Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 44, No. 10 (2008), pp. 1405-1423. Lead article.

Edited volume

India's Economic Transition: The Politics of Reforms (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007, paperback 2010, reprint 2011).

Book Chapters

With Himanshu Jha "India and Bangladesh in Global Financial Governance: From Structural Conflict to Embedded Liberalism in the Climate Finance Regime," in Joost Pauwelyn, Martino Maggetti, Tim Büthe, and Ayelet Berman, eds., Rethinking Participation in Global Governance (Oxford University Press, 2022). pp.

With Seyed Hossein Zarhani “Economies and Development," in Sumit Ganguly and Neil DeVotta, Understanding Contemporary India, (Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2021).

"Is India a Developmental State?" in Yin-Wah Chu, ed., The Asian Developmental State: Reexaminations and New Departures (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 217-36.

"India's Foreign Economic Policies," in Sumit Ganguly, ed.,Engaging the World: Indian Foreign Policy Since 1947 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 470-95.


Select Professional Service

2004 - Contributing Editor, India Review (Routledge)

2007 -  Member: Research Advisory Council, University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. .

2016-2019 - Member, Editorial Board, Governance.

2012- Member, Editorial Board, Pacific Affairs.

2013- Member, Editorial Board, Bandung: Journal of the Global South (Springer)

2018-2021: Member Editorial Board, Indian Politics and Policy

2018- : Member Editorial Board, Indian Politics and Policy

2018: Series Editor with Subrata Mitra and Raghbendra Jha: Institutions and Development in South Asia, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

2020-2023: Member, Editorial Board, Global Public Policy and Governance (Springer: ).

2021-  Member, editorial board, Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences.




The Hindu : Words of wisdom for the Congress’s ‘Last Mughals’

The Hindu : Seeking to destroy India's civil society

The Wire : 'The Kashmir Files' Denounces the Vedic Ideal 'Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava'

The Wire : India’s History Holds the Answer to Its Democratic Future

Newsplatform : Fallacies About Indian Democracy: Majoritarianism & Tradition

The Business Standard: on the contemporary political and economic issues in India

The Hindu: The monk who shaped India’s secularism




Podcast für Deutschlandlatest, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung : Indiens Herausforderung

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut (DAI), Heidelberg : Is India‘s Democracy Dead?

The South Asia Institute, Democracy and the Region - Interview with Frank Islam

Europe Reconnect (KU Leuven): India’s Authoritarian Turn

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai): India’s Economic Reforms

Latest Thinking: How Does India Achieve Change in Its Policies?

Celebrating 50 years of the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University



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