• Political analyst, writer and consultant.
• Founder, Chaitanya–The
Policy Consultancy, Chennai,
• Founder and Managing Trustee, The
Prajnya Trust, Chennai.
works as a writer, political analyst, consultant and social entrepreneur
in Chennai, India. She is the founding trustee of The
Prajnya Trust, which is building a centre for policy research, advocacy
and networking in the areas of peace, justice and security. Her consultancy,
Chaitanya, has undertaken
educational programming, research conferences, commissioned research,
research direction and reviews as well as project evaluations and reviews.
She is active as a scholar on traditional and non-traditional security
topics. She also writes for both print and electronic media.
Dr. Rajagopalan received her Ph.D.
in Political Science at the University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1998), an M.A. in International
Relations from Syracuse
University (1985) and a B.A. in Political Science from Elphinstone
College, University of Bombay (1984). Her Ph.D. dissertation was
published as State
and Nation in South Asia (Lynne Rienner 2001/ Viva
2006). She is the author of several articles and book chapters and
recently, a monograph for the East-West Center, Washington DC, on peace
accords in Northeast India. She has edited Security
and South Asia: Ideas, Institutions and Initiatives (Routledge India
2006) and co-edited Women,
Security, South Asia: A Clearing in the Thicket, with Farah Faizal
(Sage 2005) and Re-Distribution
of Authority: A Cross-Regional Perspective with Jeanie J. Bukowski
(Praeger 2000). She is currently at work on a project relating to UN
Security Council Resolution 1325 and a co-edited anthology on gender
Swarna Rajagopalan has been present
at the start of several path-breaking initiatives in South Asia. She
volunteered at the Bombay (Mumbai) rallies protesting a rape judgment
in 1980 that are considered a landmark in the history of the Indian
women’s movement. In May 1993, she attended the first Security,
Technology and Arms Control Workshop in Bhurban, Pakistan. Also in May
1993, Swarna was a rapporteur at the inaugural session of the Regional
Centre for Security Studies (RCSS). She assisted at and participated
in the first Winter Workshop on Ethnicity, Migration and Environment
held by the RCSS in 1997. She remains a part of these and other regional
networks. Swarna has also served as an election observer in the 2000
Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka. She is an active member of the
Swarna Rajagopalan’s consultancy
portfolio has been diverse, both in terms of clients and the nature
of the projects she has undertaken. She has undertaken assignments for
Indian nonprofits like Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace,
the MacArthur Foundation, agencies like the World Bank and USAID, and
Michigan State University. Chaitanya, her consultancy firm, maintained
a weekly digest of security news from the southern part of the South
Asian subcontinent, first on its website and then at subcontinentsouth.blogspot.com.
The website also hosted several online learning guides on security and
governance related topics. She was the creator of most of these resources.
Dr. Rajagopalan blogs at justswarna.blogspot.com.
In 2009-11, she was an expert
blogger for the MacArthur Foundation's Asia Security Initiative
blog. She blogs for all the Prajnya Trust's weblogs as well. She has
written articles related to security for National Review, The New Indian
Express and InfochangeIndia.org. Since 2011, she has been a columnist
for InfochangeIndia.org and since 2013, for the DNA
Projects in progress
and Beyond," in Gender, Women and Disasters: Survival, Security
and Development, edited by Linda Racioppi and Swarna Rajagopalan. (A
Prajnya project, under review)
- "The 1325 Resolutions: From Thought to Action,"
in Debating 1325 in India: Reflections on women, militarisation and
peace, (working title) edited by Asha Hans and Swarna Rajagopalan.
with women: Women's political participation in post-conflict contexts,"
in Making Women Count for Peace, edited by Rita Manchanda (forthcoming).
(The full unpublished version of the research is available
here. Please cite or circulate with
and South Asia: Ideas, Institutions and Initiatives, edited, Routledge
Security, South Asia: A Clearing in the Thicket, co-edited with Farah
Faizal, Sage, (2005).
and Nation in South Asia, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, 2001. (Indian
reprint, Viva Books, January 2006).
of Authority: A Cross-Regional Perspective, co- edited with Jeanie J.
Bukowski, Praeger, Westport, 2000.
Articles, papers and book chapters
- "Baby Girl Blues:
Patriarchy, Gender, Democracy and Violence," in
Democracy and Violence in Contemporary India, a joint Calcutta Research
Group and Indian Institute of Advanced Study project, 2011-12 (unpublished)
Strategic Thought in the Ramayana and Mahabharata," in India's
Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Cases, edited by Kanti Bajpai,
Saira Basit and V. Krishnappa, Routledge, 2014, pages 31-62.
- "Whose Security,
Whose Development?: Lessons from Campaigns against Female Infanticide
in Tamil Nadu," in Political Transition and Development
Imperatives in India, edited by Ranabir Samaddar and Suhit K. Sen,
Routledge, 2012, pages187-229.
on Feminism and Foreign Policy," IIC Quarterly, Summer
- "Militarization and post-war Sri Lankan
democracy," South Asian Journal, July-September 2011.
Refractions," Peacebuilding issue, Agenda, October
a Feminist Peace,” Seminar 619, March 2011.
Violence, Conflict, Internal Displacement And Peacebuilding,”
Peace Prints, Volume 3, Number 1 (2010).
in the Indian Epics,” Peace Prints, Volume I, Number
Accords in Northeast India: Journey over Milestone,” East-West
Center Washington Policy Studies Series 46 (2008).
Linings: Natural Disasters, International Relations and Political Change
in South Asia, 2004-5,” Defense & Security Analysis,
Vol 22 ed 4, December 2006.
Rama’s World,” in Swarna Rajagopalan, ed., Security
and South Asia: Ideas, Institutions and Initiatives, edited, Routledge
Dravida Nadu Experience: Security, State-building and Secession from
a Peninsular Perspective,” in Gopalji Malviya, ed., Security
Dimensions of Peninsular India, Centre for Security Analysis, Chennai,
and Security: In search of a new paradigm,” in Farah Faizal and
Swarna Rajagopalan, eds., Women, Security, South Asia: A Clearing
in the Thicket, Sage, September 2005.
States in South Asian International Affairs” for Devin Hagerty,
ed., South Asia in World Politics, Rowman and Littlefield,
policy, reality: Women, security, South Asia,” in Sustainable
Development: Bridging the Research/ Policy Gaps in Southern Contexts.
Volume 2: Social Policy. Sustainable Development Policy Institute. Oxford:
Oxford University Press. Pages 80-97, 2005.
Militants, Martyrs, Nations and States: Kashmir and Sri Lanka,”
special issue on “Rethinking Terrorism,” Swords
and Ploughshares, bulletin of the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament
and International Security, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
in India: Accepted Principle, Contentious Interpretation,”
in William Safran, ed., The Secular and the Sacred: Nation, Religion
and Politics, Frank Cass, London, 2003.
Afghanistan: Lessons from South Asia” (Comment), Seminar,
Units, Re-distributing Authority: Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka,”
in Jeanie J. Bukowski and Swarna Rajagopalan, eds., Re-distribution
of Authority: A Cross-Regional Perspective, Praeger, Westport,
CT, May 2000.
Unit Demarcation and National Identity,” Nationalism and
Ethnic Politics, Volume 5:3-4, Fall and Winter 1999, pp.191-211.
(Special journal issue reprinted as William Safran and Ramon Maiz, eds.,
Identity and Territorial Autonomy in Plural Societies, Frank Cass, London
and Portland, Oregon, 2000.
Integration in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan: Constitutional and Elite
Visions,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Volume
3:4, Winter 1997, pp.1-38.
Traveler’s Collection of Tales,” Nethra, International
Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Volume 1:4, July-September 1997,
An Agenda: How And Why Ethnic Groups And Nations Choose Their Goal,”
Occasional Paper, Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International
Security, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, November
Of Diversity Through Integrative Strategies,” Swords and Ploughshares,
bulletin of the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International
Security, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Fall 1994.
and Beyond Borders: An Independent Review of Post-Conflict Fund Support
to Refugees and the Internally Displaced, Social Development Papers,
Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction, World Bank, October 2004.
- "Gender violence infringes human rights,"
New Indian Express, December 10, 2009. (Available at http://prajnya.in/16d09medianie.htm#16d09o2)
- "Gender violence at denial's end,"
New Indian Express, November 25, 2009. (Available at http://prajnya.in/16d09medianie.htm#16d09o1)
- “What it means to be a woman in India,”
New Indian Express, November 25, 2008. (Available at http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2009/04/that-could-be-me.html)
- “Through their bodies we strive,”
New Indian Express, November 3, 2008. (Available at http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2008/11/two-nuns-two-indias-and-politics-of.html)
- “Going to work is fraught with great
risk,” New Indian Express, October 13, 2008. (Available at http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2008/11/work-as-extreme-sport_03.html)
- “Kosi's distressed daughters,”
New Indian Express, Chennai, September 17, 2008. (Available at http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2008/09/for-kosis-distressed-daughters.html)
- “Guardians stray from the straight path,”
New Indian Express, Chennai, August 25, 2008. (available at http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2008/11/peacekeeping-and-gender.html)
- “Stirrings of change in Maldives,”
Foreign Panorama section, Deccan Herald, October 24, 2004.
Maldives: On the cusp of change?” National Review, Vol.
2, No. 9, September 2004.
Lanka: Politics, War and Peace,” National Review, Vol. I
No. 3, December 2003.
- MacArthur Foundation Asian Security Initiative
Refractions," Peace building Issue, Agenda, October 2011.
will bell the cat?" InfochangeIndia.org, April 2011.
reservations for women," InfochangeIndia.org, April 2010.
- Guest editor, Civil
Society issue, Agenda, November 2009.
for All, series for InfochangeIndia.org, 2008-9:
- Subconsciously, Self-Consciously, Subcontinental
- The Swarna Rajagopalan Column on Indogram.com:
Season of Political Change in South Asia, Focus: Maldives,”
May 16, 2005.
Season of Political Change in South Asia, Focus: Bhutan,”
May 4, 2005.
Season Of Political Change In South Asia, Focus: Nepal,”
April 10, 2005.
Report Card for March 8th, 2005,” March 10, 2005.
harmony, beyond words," February 15, 2005.
just a few well-chosen words. (No, no, not mine!)” January
the turning of the tide,” 3 January, 2005.
Diary, December 2004,” 22 December, 2004.
Amaidhi Thodara India Yenna Cheyya Vendum?” (In Tamil; Translation
of “Sri Lanka: Can Peace Be Seized From The Jaws Of Conflict?”)
Thisaigal, December 2003.
Briefings (for Chaitanya)
- Chaitanya Brief Volume II, No. 1: The
Crisis in Maldives: In Perspective, November 11, 2006.
- Chaitanya Brief Volume 1, No. 3: Keeping
South Asia’s Children Safe: The Child Rights-Security Interface,
November 14, 2005.
- Chaitanya Brief Volume 1, No. 2: Post-Tsunami
International Relations: A Sea Change? June 26, 2005.
- Chaitanya Brief Volume 1, No. 1: Maldives:
Democratic Transition in the offing? June 4, 2005.
LTTE Proposals and Sri Lanka’s Peace Prospects, November
Online learning resources
- For Chaitanya–the
Policy Consultancy, resource guides were created between 2004
and 2006 on a range of issues from democratization in the Maldives,
to gender equity, to children and security. These were placed at http://www.chaitanyaconsult.in/chaitanya/policy.html
but the site has since been reconstructed and some links are lost.
- “The Iraq Question,” http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~swarnar/iraqpage.htm.
February-March 2003. Now available at http://www.swarnar.com/iraqpage.htm.
- “On events in Gujarat.” http://pantheon.yale.edu/~sr323/gujevents.htm.
Resource page created to provide contextual information and resource
links after communal riots broke out in India, March 2002. Now available
- Alliance for Lifelong Learning, Learning Guide
on India-Pakistan conflict (http://www.allianceforlifelonglearning.org/er/IndiaPakistanK.html),
January-February 2002. Now available at http://www.alllearn.org/er/lg/IndiaPakistanK.shtml.
- “Contextualizing the events of September
11 and thereafter.” (http://pantheon.yale.edu/~sr323/sept11.htm).
This is an online resource page maintained October-November 2001,
containing links to background information and analyses of the events
of September 11, 2001 and thereafter. Now available at http://www.swarnar.com/sept11.htm.
- Nira Wickramasinghe, Sri Lanka in the Modern
Age: A History of Contested Identities, University of Hawai’i
Press, Honolulu, 2006 in The Book Review.
- Radhika Coomaraswamy and Nimanthi Perera-Rajasingham,
editors, Constellations of Violence: Feminist Interventions in South
Asia, Women Unlimited, New Delhi, 2008, in The Book Review.
- N. Manoharan, Democratic Dilemma: Ethnic Violence
and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, Samskriti, New Delhi, 2008, in The
- Review of Roshmi Goswami, MG Sreekala and Meghna
Goswami, Women in armed Conflict Situations: A Study by North East
Network, North East Network, Guwahati, May 2005 and Gunjan Veda, Tailoring
peace… The Citizens’ Roundtable on Manipur and Beyond,
North East Network, Guwahati, April 2005, in Indian Journal of Gender
- Review of Roland Paris, At War’s End:
Building Peace after Civil Conflict, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
2004, in International Studies (Jawaharlal Nehru University), XLIII:1,
- Review of Nigel Biggar, editor, Burying The
Past: Making Peace And Doing Justice After Civil Conflict, Georgetown
University Press, Washington DC, 2003, in Millennium Journal of International
- Review of Geeti Sen, editor, India: A National
Culture? Sage Publications, New Delhi and India International Centre,
2003, in Journal of Asian Studies (forthcoming).
- Review of Michael M. Cernea and Christopher
McDowell, editors, Risks and Reconstruction: Experiences of Resettlers
and Refugees, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000, in Contemporary South
Asia, 11:2, 2002.
- Review of Stephen Peter Rosen, Societies &
Military Power: India and Its Armies, Cornell, 1996, in International
Journal of Hindu Studies, I:3, December 1997.
- Review of Abdul Aziz and David Arnold, ed.,
Decentralised Governance in Asian Countries, Sage, New Delhi, 1996,
in Contemporary South Asia, VI:3, November 1997.
- Review of Stig Toft Madsen, State, Society
and Human Rights in South Asia, Manohar, 1996, in Contemporary South
Asia, VII:3, November 1998.