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 The Indian Express January 12, 2022
    Tackling India’s Unemployment Wave

    Over the last few months, the Government of India and the mainstream media have highlighted the return of economic growth. However, very little attention has been paid to the job market. India’s unemployment rate has been soaring.

  • The India Forum December 17, 2021
    The Europe-India Balance Sheet

    The increasingly close relations between Europe and India are one of the most significant – and yet largely undervalued – developments in today’s international scene. Never before have the relations between the European Union (EU) and India been as warm as today, and this applies as well to the relations with several individual European countries.

  • Frontline December 15, 2021
    Christophe Jaffrelot: ‘At Stake Is Survival Of Indo-Islamic Civilisation’

    The majoritarian inferiority complex is to some extent irrational—in India like elsewhere. The Hindu complex of inferiority vis-à-vis others (including the Muslims) crystallized in the 19th century when the British not only emphasized the division of Hindus along caste lines and sectarian lines but also invented communal stereotypes.

  • Op-Ed Institut Montaigne December 2, 2021
    Farmers Versus Modi: Reaping the Seeds of Protest

    These farm laws covered three main points, each dealt with in a specific legislative text. First, they ended the mandatory building up of stocks of agricultural products, except for in "exceptional circumstances".

  • The Print November 15, 2021
    ‘This govt is of Ram bhakts, and Gita is above the Constitution’—Inside Modi’s India

    The nature of new legislation to promote Hinduism, the extent of which remained very limited, indicates that it was not through lawmaking that the BJP primarily intended to operate: discourse and practices were the preferred means of action in their repertoire, as can be seen in debates about the respect owed to India’s very name.

  • Op-Ed Himal Southasian November 5, 2021
    The Decline of Parliament

    "In any democracy, parliaments are the institutions where the two mainstays of democratic culture that Levitsky and Ziblatt mention in their book— “mutual toleration and institutional forbearance”—are supposed to flourish, for the simple reason that the opposition is also represented in these aptly named representative assemblies."

  • Op-Ed The Caravan November 4, 2021
    Caste Quandary

    From the very start, the Hindu nationalist movement has been borne by the upper castes due to the social conservatism it promotes. Indeed, while in theory it aims to abolish the “nation-dividing” caste system, such an ambition does not rule out a strong adherence to Brahminical values and the Hindu traditional social order.

  • Institut Montaigne November 3, 2021
    India Between Solar Energy and Coal: From a “Green Image” to a “Green Façade”?

    What’s more, even if India did meet these objectives, its current policies and actions are only in line with a limitation of global temperatures under the 2°C mark, which stands above the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C goal.

  • Op-Ed The Indian Express October 21, 2021
    EU, India and the Indo-Pacific

    By and large, the Indo-Pacific strategy of the EU remains driven by economic considerations and India, whose main asset is geopolitical and even geostrategic, does not figure prominently in it.

  • Op-Ed The Wire October 3, 2021
    Why Won't Western Leaders Raise India's Falling Democratic Standard With Modi?

    Last week, Narendra Modi told the world that democracy was born in India, but nobody seized this opportunity to ask whether it is also flourishing in its birthplace. The question needs to be asked because all the institutions measuring the level of democracy across the world have noticed that India has entered a phase of de-democratisation.

  • Democracy Paradox July 13, 2021
    Narendra Modi and Hindu Nationalism

    The police is even acting directly against the minorities and the Delhi riots of 2020 showed that the police could be on their side in the street in their rioting activities.

  • August 17, 2020
    Crony Capitalism in India

    Experts discuss capitalism in India and how it came to be.

  • Wire April 20, 2020
    Perception of India Back to Stereotype of Poor Nation

    One of the main problems rural India will face and is already facing is the fact that most of the migrant laborer’s were sending back to their villages 1/3rd or half of what they were earning in the cities and this money will not be there anymore.

  • October 25, 2018 Washington, DC 中文
    Ceasefire Violations in Kashmir: A War by Other Means?

    Two nuclear-armed rivals in South Asia—India and Pakistan—have not fought openly since the 1999 Kargil conflict, but the lack of active war has not meant the absence of violence.

  • 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?


Areas of Expertise

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