• Political analyst, writer and consultant.
• Founder, Chaitanya–The Policy Consultancy, Chennai,
• Founder and Managing Trustee, The Prajnya Trust, Chennai.

Access Swarna Rajagopalan's curriculum vitae here.
Swarna Rajagopalan 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 and disasters.

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 Women's Regional Network.

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 website.


Projects and publications

Projects in progress

  • "Intersections 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.
  • "Peace, 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 permission.)



  • Security and South Asia: Ideas, Institutions and Initiatives, edited, Routledge India (2006).
  • Women, Security, South Asia: A Clearing in the Thicket, co-edited with Farah Faizal, Sage, (2005).
  • State and Nation in South Asia, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, 2001. (Indian reprint, Viva Books, January 2006).
  • Re-Distribution of Authority: A Cross-Regional Perspective, co- edited with Jeanie J. Bukowski, Praeger, Westport, 2000.

Articles, papers and book chapters

Accessible Reports

Within 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.

Media publications



Briefings (for Chaitanya)

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 at http://www.swarnar.com/gujevents.htm.
  • 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.

Blogs, etc.

Book Reviews

  • 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 Book Review.
  • 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 Studies.
  • 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, January-March 2006.
  • 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 Studies (forthcoming).
  • 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.