Christophe Jaffrelot

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Christophe Jaffrelot
Nationality France
Occupation Political Scientist
Known for Studies of South Asian Politics

Christophe Jaffrelot is a French political scientist specialising in South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. He is director of the Centre d'études et de recherches internationales (CERI) at Sciences Po and director of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).


He is a graduate of the institut d’études politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, the université de Paris-I Panthéon-Sorbonne and of the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO). He has a doctorate of political science from Sciences Po in 1991, and has received a post-doctoral Habilitation degree.[1]

He currently works at the Centre for Studies in International Relations (CERI) at Sciences Po and served as its Director during the period 2000-2008.[2] He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at CNRS, and a Professor at Sciences Po. He is also a visiting professor at the India Institute, King's College London and a Global Scholar the Princeton University.[1]

He is the senior editor of the Sciences Po book series, Comparative Politics and International Relations published by C. Hurst & Co. He has been the editor-in-chief of Critique Internationale and serves on the editorial boards of Nations and Nationalism and International Political Sociology. He is also on the editorial board of The Online Encyclopaedia of Mass Violence.[1]

He often writes columns for the Indian Express and The Caravan, and received the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism.[3] He was awarded the Brienne Prize for geopolitics by the Defense Ministry of France for his book Le Syndrome Pakistanais.[4]

Jaffrelot's research is centred on South Asia, focusing on the aspects of nationalism and democracy, Hindu nationalism, caste mobilisation in politics and ethnic conflicts. His interest in India was kindled when he was still in school, through a philosophy teacher well-versed in Indian philosophy. He visited India when he was 20 and found the Indian society interesting in many different ways.[5]


On India
  • Les Nationalistes hindous (in French), Presses de Sciences Po, Paris, 1993
  • The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian politics, London: C. Hurst & Co. and Penguin India, 1996, ISBN 978-1850653011; also published as Hindu Nationalism in India by Columbia University Press, 1998.
  • L'Inde contemporaine de 1950 à nos jours (in French), direction, Fayard, Paris, 1996, rééd. 1997, 2006
  • La Démocratie en Inde. Religion, caste et politique (in French), Fayard, Paris, 1998
  • Dr Ambedkar - Leader intouchable et père de la Constitution indienne (in French), Sciences Po 2000, ISBN 2-7246-0800-3
  • The BJP and the Compulsions of Politics in India, co-edited with Thomas Blom Hansen, Oxford University Press India, 2000, ISBN 0195652495.
  • Tribus et basses castes. Résistance et autonomie dans la société indienne (in French), co-direction avec Marine Carrin, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, 2003
  • India's Silent Revolution. The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India, Columbia University Press, C. Hurst & Co. and New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003.[6]
  • Ambedkar and Untouchability. Analysing and Fighting Caste, New Delhi: Permanent Black, C. Hurst & Co. and Columbia University Press, 2004
  • Sangh Parivar: A Reader (edited), Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-568365-X.[7]
  • Inde : la démocratie par la caste. Histoire d'une mutation socio-politique (1885–2005) (in French), Fayard, Paris, 2005, ISBN 2-213-62426-7
  • Hindu Nationalism: A Reader (edited), Princeton University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-691-13097-3.
  • Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China, co-edited with Peter van der Veer, SAGE Publications, 2008, ISBN 0761936238.
  • India since 1950: Society, Politics, Economy and Culture (edited), New Delhi: Yatra Books, 2011.[8]
  • Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalisation, co-edited with Laurent Gayer, C. Hurst & Co., 2012, ISBN 1849041768.
  • Rise of the Plebeians? The Changing Face of the Indian Legislative Assemblies, co-edited with Sanjay Kumar, Routledge, 2009, ISBN 0415460921.
  • Religion, Caste, and Politics in India, C. Hurst & Co., 2011, ISBN 978-1849041386.[9]
  • Saffron Modernity in India: Narendra Modi and his Experiment with Gujarat, C. Hurst & Co., 2015, ISBN 1849044295.
On Pakistan
  • Le Pakistan (in French), direction, Fayard, Paris, 2000
  • Le Pakistan, carrefour de tensions régionales (in French), direction, Complexe, Bruxelles, 1999, rééd. 2002
  • Pakistan. Nationalism without a Nation?, direction, New Delhi: Manohar, London: Centre de sciences humaines and New York: Zed Books, 2002, rééd. 2004, ISBN 1842771175.
  • A History of Pakistan and Its Origins, direction, London: Anthem, 2004, ISBN 1843311496.
  • Le Syndrome Pakistanais (in French), 2013, ISBN 9782213661704
  • The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience, C. Hurst & Co., 2015, ISBN 1849043299.
On South Asia
  • Armed Militias of South Asia: Fundamentalists, Maoists and Separatists, co-edited with Laurent Gayer, C. Hurst & Co., 2009, ISBN 185065977X.
Other topics
  • Démocraties d'ailleurs. Démocraties et démocratisations hors d'Occident, direction, Karthala, Paris, 2000
  • Revisiting Nationalism. Theories and Processes, co-edited with Alain Dieckhoff, C. Hurst & Co., 2005
  • Emerging States: The Wellspring of a New World Order (edited), C. Hurst & Co., 2009, ISBN 1850659710.


The book Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, based on his doctorate research, is considered Jaffrelot's magnum opus. Walter Andersen, a scholar who has studied the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),[10] said that "for the expert on South Asia, this book is an absolute must." Craig Baxter, another author,[11] said that it was required for anyone with an interest in South Asia.[12] Richard White noted that the book was "formidably well researched and explores all the main arguments and themes relating to the subject."[13] Stacey Burlet commented that the book combined "an abundance of information" with "lucid analysis."[14]

In the book, Jaffrelot developed two themes for understanding the operation of the RSS in particular and the Hindu nationalist movement in general. The first was that the movement defined an ideological identity based on a process of 'stigmatisation and emulation' of what it portrays as 'threatening Others' (Indian Muslims or Christian proselytisers, and the British or the West), which threaten the idea of the 'one Nation'. The second was the "instrumentalist" strategy of ethno-religious mobilisation, which was dubbed the 'Sanghatanist pattern' of implantation and party building.[12] Through the 'sanghatanist pattern', the RSS and allied organisations aimed to penetrate Hindu society in all its areas and organise it as the 'one Nation'. The book covered the development of the first theme starting in the late 19th century with the formation of the Arya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha, through the founding of the RSS in 1925 and the development of the Sangh Parivar after India's independence, leading up to the Bharatiya Janata Party's ascendance in the early 1990s. The book is full of important and valuable information and not an "easy read."[12]

His work was extensively quoted in the atrocity literature that flooded the western media in the aftermath of Gujarat ‘as the authoritative study of [Hindu] groups’. 128 Jaffrelot also has strong influence in the foreign policy of France with regard to India. CERI, where he works, is a think-tank which works closely with CAP, the policy planning unit of the French foreign ministry. (Rajiv Malhotra, Breaking India)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Christophe Jaffrelot". CERI, Sciences Po. Retrieved 2014-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "History". CERI, SciencesPo. Retrieved 2014-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "News". Sciences Po. Retrieved 2014-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Christophe Jaffrelot à l'honneur". Sciences Po. Retrieved 2014-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "India's an open book to him". The Hindu. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 2014-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Zoya Hasan (2 February 2003). "The democratisation of politics". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Jyotirmaya Sharma (27 September 2005). "Hindu nationalist politics". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. K. N. Panikkar (12 March 2012). "Ambitious compendium of India". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. K. N. Panikkar (24 March 2011). "When caste and religion surged". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Andersen, Walter K.; Damle, Shridhar D. (1987) [Oringally published by Westview Press]. The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism. Delhi: Vistaar Publications.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Baxter, Craig (1971) [first published by University of Pennsylvania Press 1969]. The Jana Sangh - A Biography of an Indian Political Party. Oxford University Press, Bombay. ISBN 0812275837.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Baxter, Craig (May 1999). "The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, by Christophe Jaffrelot (Review)". The Journal of Asian Studies. 58 (2): 549–551. doi:10.2307/2659469. JSTOR 2659469.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. White, Richard A. J. (April 1997). "The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s, by Christophe Jaffrelot (Review)". International Affairs. 73 (2): 395. doi:10.2307/2623888. JSTOR 2623888.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Burlet, Stacey. "The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, by Christophe Jaffrelot (Review)". Contemporary South Asia. 6 (3): 291–292. doi:10.1080/09584939708719822.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

  • Rajiv Malhotra, Breaking India

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