Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma),
M.Phil. (University of Delhi),
M.A. (University of Delhi)
In a career spanning over more than three decades teaching political science, governance, development and public policy, Dr. Ashwani Kumar has the privilege of engaging with students, academicians, diplomats, parliamentarians, development professionals, multilateral agencies and governments, across countries (UK, Germany, Korea, China, South Africa, USA) and at various levels (as professor, researcher, member of central government committees, global consortiums, multilateral projects), helping build not only rich learning and scholarship, but also a diversity of perspectives with blending of literary traditions which he believes has helped him to achieve excellence in social sciences and policy action. In recognition of his academic exellence in the social sciences, the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) has awarded him the prestigious ‘Senior Fellowship’ (2016-18) for his research on Welfare Regimes & MGNREGA in the States of India.In his policy advisory role ,he has served as a Member of ‘Central Employment Guarantee Council’ (CEGC), Ministry of Rural Development (Govt of India) and headed a Task Force of Ministry of Rural Development on Capacity Building Reforms for MGNREGA.(Govt of India) He has authored the ‘Community Warriors: State, Peasants & Private Caste Armies in Bihar’, a seminal contribution to exploring the paradoxes of democracy and violence in India. He is recipient of the Azim Premji University Research Grant as well for his research on crime & politics in Bihar. He also regulalry curates presitgious Rajni Kothari Lecture Series & MS Gore Colloquium series @ School of Development Studies-TISS, and one of the co-curators of Chandrabhaga Poetry Festival. He is also co-editor of recently published "Migrants, Mobility and Citizenship in India ( Routeldge India 2021), a major work on electoral and citizenship rights of migrant workers in India. As a senior researcher , he has done several international and national policy related projects including " ‘Inclusive Elections and Domestic Migration’ for Election Commission of India. In addition to being a political scientist and policy researcher, he is also a widely reputed Indian poet writing in English and his book " Banaras and the Other' has been long-listed for Jayadev National Poetry Award 2017. He is co-founder of Indian Novels Collective(INC) to popularise translation of classic novels from Indian languages, and a collection of his select poems titled ‘Architecture of Alphabets’ has been published in Hungarian. He has also curated musical concert on Poems by János Arany in the performance of the Kaláka Ensemble by the Hungarian band @ Times Literature Festival & G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Mumbai. He has recently performed in the famous Attakkalari Dance performance by mastero Jayachandran Palazhy. As a feature five poets , he also represented India at Asia Pacific Writers Translators Conference 2019 @ Macau. And he has served as Jury for the fiction book award @ prestigious Tata Literature Live in November 2020 . Recently, he organzied an international conference on " Grassroots Governance in India" as part of centenary celeberations of Prof MS Gore, emiment sociologist & former director of TISS. He He is regularly invited by different TV channels and newspapers to discuss Indian politics.
Committed to institutional reforms in governance of welfare programs, & senior policy advior, Ashwani Kumar is proactively involved in monitoring & evaluation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in various states & districts of India. He was also a Member of Executive Committee for ‘Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology’ (CAPART), Ministry of Rural Development and participated in the governance reforms for voluntary sector in India. He has been involved with various MGNREGA related committees of central government that included member of selection committee for Ombudsman for MGNREGA, Expert Committee on empanelment of National Level Monitors, Reforms in Job Card and Expert Group on Evaluation Studies for MGNREGA at MoRD. He has also done rapid assessment of implementation of MGNREGA and gained crucial experience in coordinating with multiple stakeholders in federal governance in more than 30 districts such as Dhar & Seoni (MP), Sheohar & Gaya(Bihar), Barabanki(UP) Seoni (MP), Dhamtari, Rajnandgaon & Sarguja(Chhattisgarh), Narmada(Gujarat) Tiruvannamali(Tamil Nadu), Bagalkote & Dharwad(Karnataka), Jalpaiguri & Bankura (West-Bengal), Ernakulam (Kerala), Dhalai (Tripura), Nizamabad, Visakhapatnam, Adilabad & Vizininagaram (Andhra Pradesh), Keonjhar & Malkangiri (Odisha) etc. Based on his decade -long policy experience of state capacity in implementing welfare programs, he has published his article "Wages of politics or last-mile welfare? in the international journal " Territory, Politics & Governance" in 2021. He was a member of MGNREGA Appraisal Team of GIZ (German Ministry of Economic Development & Cooperation) and a Special Invitee for Alagh Committee on Revamping of National Institute of Rural Development (Ministry of Rural Development). He also served as a member of Working Group of Planning Commission of India on Postal Sector for formulating 12thplan for Department of Post; (GoI). He is a member of academic council of Indian Institute of Forest management (Ministry of Environments & Forests, GoI), Somiaya Vidyavihar University(Mumbai & he also serves on the Advisory Board of BADAL- Bastar Academy of Dance & Literature- BADAL( Govt of Chhatisgarh)
He has obtained his PhD in Political Science under the guidance of Prof. Robert Cox from University of Oklahoma and is the recipient of "John Halvor Leek Memorial Scholarship" in recognition of outstanding academic performance in the graduate program at University of Oklahoma for three consecutive years. As a teaching assistant, he worked with David Boren, former Senator and President of University of Oklahoma and Edward Joseph Perkins, former US Ambassador to the United Nations. He has earlier taught at University of Delhi, University of Oklahoma and has also been a Visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at London School of Economics (London), German Development Institute (Bonn), University of Sussex,(UK) Korea Development Institute (Seoul), North West University (South Africa) etc.
With Mary Kaldor and others at London School of Economics (LSE) and Dirk Messner, Director of German Development Institute, he has co-edited the prestigious LSE Year Book on ‘Global Civil Society; Poverty and Activism’ and ‘Power Shifts and Global Governance’ respectively. His co-authored article " Pathways of money: insights from the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections" has been published by India Review, March 2021. He has lectured widely, nationally and internationally including University of Cambridge, University of Sussex, Center for Development Research at University of Bonn, University of Luiss( Rome), University of Chulalongkorn (Bangkok), National University of Singapore among others.
He has led several major research projects that include “Online Survey & Competition among Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) Living Abroad” for Election Commission of India for Election Commission of India, ‘South Africa National Project on Human Rights Literacies’ in collaboration with North West University (South Africa); Project Director for Evaluation of Flagships Development Programs including MGNREGA in Manipur, Govt of Manipur & Govt of Sikkim in India. His international projects as project-director include, among others, ICSSR-ESRC (UK)'s partnership program for capacity building for doctoral scholars between TISS & University of Sussex. He has also been Referee for “Governance; International Journal for Policy, Public Administration and Institutions”,(US), Journal on Global Governance, Centre for the Study of Globalization and Regionalization, University of Warwick, UK, The Indian Journal of Social Work”, TISS (Mumbai) and also an examiner for doctoral research at University of Cambridge (UK).He has been on the Search and Selection Committee for the Vice-Chancellor of a State University and the selection panels of the prestigious scholarship funding programs- The Narotam Sekshsaria Foundation Program & Inlaks Foundation Program.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Ashwani Kumar is also one of the major voices of Indian poetry in English & his anthologies ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’ and " Banaras and the Other' are quite well-received. His poems- translated in Indian languages and Hungarian- are noted for ‘lyrical celebration’ of garbled voices of memory and subversive ‘whimsy’ quality, have appeared in Indian and international journals and major anthologies of poetry in India & abroad. He has read his poems at major International and national festivals including Budapest Poetry Festival @ Hungary, Baltonfured Poetry Festival, Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF), Kala Ghoda Art and Litfest, Tata NCPA Litfest, Prakriti Poetry Festival @ Chennai, Times Mumbai Litfest, Poetry @ Bangla Kavita Academy, Patna Art & Literature Festival, La Sutra Poetry Festival (Mumbai), Odisha Art and Literature Festival, Kadambari Poetry Festival(Bhubaneswar), Chandrabhaga Poetry Festival @ Konark, Mumbai International Poetry Festival, Women Writers Fest(Delhi & Mumbai), IndiaPEN Poetry Reading @ Prithvi, Abhivakyati of Sahitya Academy of India, among others. As a columnist, his articles and reviews appear regularly in Outlook India, The Hindu, Financial Express, The Print, Business Standard, Times of India, Indian Express, DNA, Open Democracy, Prabhat Khabar among others.
Areas of Research
Research Work in Progress
Visiting Fellow/Professor for Research and Teaching
Academic Awards and Honours
Advisor, Consultancy & Journal Referee
Lectures/ Seminars/Paper Presentations
‘The Fragile Earth; Rethinking Homosapien, Turtles and Forests’, Foundation Day lecture for Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, ( Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change) February, 6, 2021.
‘Methods & Approaches for Monitoring & Evaluation’, CMR University, School of Legal Studies, Bengaluru February, 6, 2021.
‘Migrants & Mobility: A Citizenship Perspective’, Carmel College, Bengaluru, January 30, 2020.
‘Studying Last Mile Welfare in the Districts of India’, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru January 29, 2020
Voting Facilities for Migrant Workers,’ Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), January 21, 2021
‘Contemporary Trends of English Poetry,’ Mata Jija Bai Government Girls PG College, Indore, January 7, 2021
‘Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the Constitution and the Youth’, Government Dunger College, Bikaner, December 6, 2020
‘MGNREGA as Humanitarian Response: Policy Insights,’ MP Institute of Social Science Research & UNICEF, Ujjain, December 4, 2020
‘Surveillance and the Protection of Privacy in the Midst of Pandemic,’ Afro-Asian Association for Justice Development, July 9, 2020.
Buddha’s Fire Sermon ; Monuments, Memories & Spiritual Politics’ in the International Conference on Bodh Gaya Global Dialogues at Bodhgaya by Deshkal Society in partnership with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), 9-12 March 2018.
Whistling in the Woods: Corruption in the Age of Kaliyuga in the International Conference at GREQAM, AIX MARSEILLE UNIVERSITY,(France) on ‘Corruption, Whistle blowing and Democracy’ 9-10 November ,2017.
Presented a Paper ‘Public or Private Leviathan? The Politics of Crime Reduction and Infrastructure Development in Contemporary Bihar’ at the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) Silver Jubilee International Conference on Bihar and Jharkhand, Patna, March 24-28, 2017.
Government Reports on Policy and Governance
District Appraisals/ Monitoring for MGNREGA Implementation for MoRD( Government of India)
Kumar, Ashwani (with Shashwat Dhar) Migration, Politics and Ethnicty: Revisiting Myron Weiner’ in Ashwani Kumar & Ram B. Bhagat (eds.) Migrants, Mobility and Citizenship Routledge 2021
Nitin Dhaktode & Ashwani Kumar, ‘Social Accountability in MGNREGA: Institutionalized Social Audit in United Andhra Pradesh’, International Journal of Governance and Public Policy Analysis, Sri Lanka, Volume 02, Issue 01, December, 2020.
Ashwani Kumar, ‘Coins of Amrita: An Afterword’, The Beacon Journal, August 6, 2020.
Ashwani Kumar, ‘Cholera Conversation at Fulton Canteen’, The Beacon Journal, June 19, 2020.
Kumar. Ashwani (with Souradeep Banerjee) Violence and Ethnic Conflict in India: A Human Rights Perspective , in Human Rights Literacies, edited by Cornelia Roux and Anne Becker, Springer 2019.
Articles in Print Media English
Courses Taught at Tata Institute of Social Sciences