Christophe Jaffrelot

Nonresident Scholar
South Asia Program
Jaffrelot’s core research focuses on theories of nationalism and democracy, mobilization of the lower castes and Dalits (ex-untouchables) in India, the Hindu nationalist movement, and ethnic conflicts in Pakistan.


PhD, Political Science, Sciences Po 
MA, History, University of Paris I–Sorbonne 
Advanced study degree, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
DULCO of Hindi at “Langues O,” The Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales
Diploma, Sciences Po


English; French; Hindi


Christophe Jaffrelot is a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a senior research fellow at the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI) at Sciences Po in Paris. His core research focuses on theories of nationalism and democracy, mobilization of the lower castes and Dalits (ex-untouchables) in India, the Hindu nationalist movement, and ethnic conflicts in Pakistan.

He teaches at Sciences Po and part-time in the United States (Columbia, Princeton, John Hopkins, and Yale). He is also professor of Indian politics and sociology at the King’s India Institute and King’s College, London.

Previously, Jaffrelot served as director (2000–2008) and deputy director (1997–2000) of CERI. He is also former editor in chief (1998-2003) and director (2003–2008) of the quarterly journal Critique Internationale. Jaffrelot joined the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in 1991 and was awarded the CNRS bronze medal in 1993. He became a CNRS senior research fellow of second class in 2002 and senior research fellow of first class in 2008. He was awarded the 2014 Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism in commentary/interpretive writing.

Jaffrelot is the author of six books including, Religion, Caste and Politics in India (Columbia University Press, 2011), and has edited seventeen volumes, including Pakistan: Nationalism Without a Nation? (Manohar and Zed Books, 2002).

  • Op-Ed Indian Express November 24, 2015
    Winter Is Coming

    Unless Modi’s government engages opposition in the Lok Sabha, the winter session of parliament will amount to no more than ordinances and obstruction.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express November 7, 2015
    The Story of Indian Politicians and Tantrics

    The use of tantrics has been a routine practice for decades and this hidden face of politics in India is surprisingly under-reported.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express October 24, 2015
    Cornered on Quotas

    The BJP faces a dilemma: While inaction may exacerbate the discontent of the Hardik Patels of tomorrow, any questioning of the reservation system may alienate low-caste voters.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express October 13, 2015
    Sharifs and a Make-Believe

    President Nawaz Sharif is not as powerful as General Raheel Sharif. As the Pakistan army exerts real power, democracy is more and more a facade.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express September 23, 2015
    East vs West

    The RSS may now reject "Western science," but its ideology draws inspiration from the Western social sciences.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express September 3, 2015
    Dal vs State

    The Bajrang Dal has enlarged its agenda in such a way that the rule of law is at stake in India.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express August 27, 2015
    Patels and the Neo-Middle Class Syndrome

    Gujarat, the first state to fight caste-based reservations, may also be the first to reinvent the system in response to the mass mobilization of the Patidars.

  • Op-Ed Indian Express August 22, 2015
    Under the Rule of the Army

    The Pakistani government’s room to maneuver is clearly limited by the irresistible rise of the Pakistani army.

  • Going Soft
    Op-Ed Indian Express August 11, 2015
    Going Soft

    India is less popular with ordinary Americans. But this may not be a problem for U.S.-India relations if hard power considerations make up for it.

  • Indian Flag
    Op-Ed Indian Express July 21, 2015
    Who Mainstreamed BJP?

    Few analysts pay enough attention to either the phase that came before the Emergency or the phase after. Without this context, no good interpretation can emerge of the way the “political untouchability” of the Jana Sangh before the 1970s was attenuated.

  • October 8, 2015 Washington, DC
    The Pakistan Paradox: Who Rules the Country Today?

    Nearly seven decades after the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan faces a daunting series of existential challenges ranging from ethnic strife to Islamism and terrorism.

  • October 17, 2014 Washington, DC
    Modi’s Transformative Moment?

    The first 100 days of a new government can be tumultuous as power shifts hands and leaders make dramatic decisions. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thus far proceeded in a more nuanced fashion, making an assessment of his first four months in office more complicated.

  • October 11, 2013 Washington, DC
    Narendra Modi’s Experiment With the Middle Class in Gujarat

    Earlier this month, India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced that Narendra Modi would be its prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 national elections.

  • November 8, 2012 Washington, D.C.
    The Regionalization of Indian Politics and the Challenge of Coalition-building

    The 2009 Indian general elections saw the United Progressive Alliance gain a remarkable increase of seats in the National Assembly, but its success was largely due to the fragmentation of the party system resulting from the regionalization of Indian politics.

  • November 18, 2011 Washington, D.C.
    Containing or Engaging Pakistan? An American Dilemma

    The United States has dealt with Pakistan as a client state for more than half a century. Today, the relationship is complicated and Washington is at a crossroads: can the United States continue to engage Pakistan or has the time come for a different strategy?


India Decides 2014

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