Author Q&A with Aakash Singh Rathore

Aakash Singh Rathore, is the author of the recently released title, Indian Political Theory: Laying the Groundwork for Svaraj. An interesting new interpretation of a contemporary ideal of svaraj, this analysis takes into account influences from other cultures and sources as well as eschews thick conceptions that stifle imaginations and imaginaries.

We caught up with Aakash to discuss this exciting new title...

Aakash Singh Rathore, Author of Indian Political Theory - Singh RathoreAakash Singh Rathore is a professor, author and an Ironman triathlete. He is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and Director of the International Research Network for Religion and Democracy ( 

He is also an International Fellow of the Center for Ethics and Global Politics in Rome, Italy.

1. Congratulations on the publication of your book (Indian Political Theory)! What led you to write it?

I have planned to write this book since 2010, the year I published its predecessor, Indian Political Thought—A Reader (Routledge). That anthology showed the need for a dedicated monograph on the topic.

2. Can you describe your book in one sentence?

My book lays out the current field of indigenous Political Theory in India and suggests the most adequate methodology for its future direction.

3. What makes your book stand out from its competitors?

What really makes my book stand out is that there are no competitors! This is the first and only book that exhaustively covers the terrain of contemporary (that is, living) Indian political theory and theorists.

4. Did anything take you by surprise or was completely new when researching the book?

The analogy between the ancient Indian idea of pratyahara and the ancient Greek notion of epoche was a pleasant surprise for me.

To be honest, the review of all the existing literature surprised me, in that I discovered how many ways the status quo can be reformulated – there are very few books with innovative solutions such as I offer.

5. Are there any relevant world issues that your book relates to at the moment?

All non-western countries are increasingly oriented toward nativism in Political Theory. Even in the process of democratization (as during the Arab Spring), the resurgence of fundamentalism (or, in India, of Hindu nationalism), is constant. This book addresses a methodology that is useful for the entire Global South. It pursues svaraj (authentic nativism) in a fully democratic vein without the threat of nationalism and fundamentalism.

6. What sparked your particular interest in area of study?

All of my interest in the topic began by reading Bhikhu Parekh's essay, “The Poverty of Indian Political Theory”, and essay I took strong objection to and it goaded me on to produce 2 major books: both Indian Political Thought in 2010 (the reader that begins with the Parekh essay as the first chapter) and the present book, Indian Political Theory (2017).

The rise of nationalist and fundamentalist thought in the Global South shocks all social scientists. Very few solutions have been put forth. The uniqueness of this book is that it treats thoroughly of these developments.

7. How do you think the field of political thought is evolving today? What are some ongoing controversies?

The major controversy in social science throughout the entire Global South is about how to carve out a space for indigeneity and nativism/tradition without opening the doors to fundamentalism (or saffronization in India) and reactionary nationalism. My book provides a systematic answer.

8. What do you think is the future for political theory?

The discipline will continue to evolve, and the question is whether the centres of power (New York, Boston, London, Oxford) will diversify and pluralize, or will continue to be monolithic. As long as it is monolithic, then theory in the Global South will experiment with more and more types of nativism.

9. Tell us an unusual fact about yourself and your teaching.

It is certainly an unusual fact that I am an IronMan triathlete, and currently ranked number 2 in all of India. I am seeking to become number 1 for 2018.

Watch Aakash Singh Rathore speak about Indian Political Theory on Taylor & Francis India YouTube channel.

Additional Titles from Aakash Singh Rathore

  • Global Justice

    Critical Perspectives, 1st Edition

    Edited by Sebastiano Maffettone, Aakash Singh Rathore

    The global justice debate has been raging for forty years. Not merely the terms and conditions, but, more deeply, the epistemic, existential and ethical grounds of the international relations of persons, states and institutions are being determined, debated and negotiated. Yet the debate remains…

    Paperback – 2016-01-21
    Routledge India
    Ethics, Human Rights and Global Political Thought

  • Wronging Rights?

    Philosophical Challenges for Human Rights, 1st Edition

    Edited by Aakash Singh Rathore, Alex Cistelecan

    This book brings together two of the most powerful and relevant philosophical critiques of human rights: the post-colonialist and the post-Althusserian, its balanced internal structure not just throwing these two critiques together, but actually forcing them to enter into confrontation and dialogue…

    Paperback – 2016-01-21
    Routledge India
    Ethics, Human Rights and Global Political Thought

  • Indian Political Thought

    A Reader, 1st Edition

    Edited by Aakash Singh Rathore, Silika Mohapatra

    This Reader provides a comprehensive introduction to the study of contemporary Indian political theory. Tracing the development of the discipline and offering a clear presentation of the most influential literature in the field, it brings together contributions by outstanding and well-known…

    Paperback – 2010-06-30

Feature in Asia News Network

Aakash Singh Rathore presents a compelling case for why Indian political theory needs to redirect its gaze.

Find out more via Asia News Network.

20% Discount!

Use code IPT20 for 20% discount off Aakash Singh Rathore's, Indian Political Theory.

*Discount is only available on print books purchased from, and cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. Code valid until 31st October 2017.

Indian Political Theory: Laying the Groundwork for Svaraj

Indian Political Theory: Laying the Groundwork for Svaraj (Hardback) book coverIn this book, this concept of svaraj is defined as a thick conception, which links it with exclusivist notions of spirituality, profound anti-modernity, exceptionalistic moralism, essentialistic nationalism and purism. 

However, post-independence India has borne witness to an alternative trajectory: a thin svaraj. The author puts forward a workable contemporary ideal of thin svaraj, i.e. political, and free of metaphysical commitment. 

Click here to purchase this title or to find out more.

'This impressive critique of the idea of svaraj in Indian political thought deserves to be widely read.' - Talal Asad, CUNY Graduate Institute, USA