Ramesh Nagaraj Rao

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Ramesh Nagaraj Rao
Born Closepet N. Ramesh
Nationality American (born in India; citizen of the United States)
Occupation Professor of Communication Studies
Known for A Factual Response to the Hate Attack on the IDRF

Ramesh Nagaraj Rao is a professor of Communication at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia who is the author of a number of papers on India and on the way it is portrayed in the media.[1]


Ramesh Nagaraj Rao (birth name: Closepet N. Ramesh) did his undergraduate education at St. Joseph's College, Bangalore and received B.A. in Economics, Political Science, and Sociology from the Bangalore University in 1977.[2] He worked as an officer in the State Bank of Mysore, and then taught at the Krishnamurti Foundation’s Valley School for two years. While teaching there, he earned a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore, and was the winner of the Kulapati Munshi Award for writing.[citation needed]

Rao worked as a copy editor for The Hindu for a year before he left India to pursue graduate studies in the U.S.[citation needed] He moved to the United States in 1985 and studied at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he obtained a MS in Mass Communication in 1987.[2] He then obtained his PhD in Communication from Michigan State University in 1992. From 1991 to 2005 he taught at Truman State University where he became a full tenured professor.[3] In that position he undertook work on the theory of conflict and hostage negotiations.[4] He then joined Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, as professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre from 2006 to 2011.[2]

Rao is a prolific writer, and his essays and op-eds have appeared in a variety of American and Indian newspapers and magazines like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Columbia Daily Tribune, Richmond Times-Dispatch, India Abroad, Rediff on the Net and The Washington Post. He has also contributed essays to The Guardian (London) on Hinduism and spirituality. He currently writes for Patheos, a religion and spirituality website, and for The Pioneer, the oldest English language newspaper published from New Delhi. Between 2005 and 2008 he wrote more than 60 essays for UPI’s religion and spirituality page.[citation needed]

Rao has served on the executive council of the Hindu American Foundation.[2] He has links to Rajiv Malhotra and received grants from his Infinity Foundation.[5] He also has sympathetic connections to the politicians of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India.[6]



  • Ramesh N. Rao (2001). Coalition Conundrum - The BJP's Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs. Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 8124108099.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ramesh N. Rao (2001). Secular 'Gods' Blame Hindu 'Demons' - The Sangh Parivar through the mirror of distortion. Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 8124108080.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Rao, Ramesh N.; Komerath, Narayanan; Raman, Chitra; Mehra, Beloo; Ramaswamy, Sugrutha (2003). IDRF - Let the Facts Speak [archive]. Friends of India and the authors. OCLC 53924622 [archive]. Retrieved 2012-03-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ramesh N. Rao; Koenraad Elst, eds. (2003). Gujarat after Godhra: real violence, selective outrage. Har Anand Publications. ISBN 8124109176.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio T. De Nicolás, Aditi Banerjee, ed. (2007). Invading the Sacred: an analysis of Hinduism studies in America. Rupa & Co. ISBN 978-81-291-1182-1.CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (contributor)

Selected articles


Discussing his forthcoming book Hindu Demons and Secular Gods: Targeting the BJP and the RSS in 2000, Ramesh Rao said his aim was to counter criticism of the Sangh Parivar and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that had been published after the destruction of the Babri Mosque in 1992. He had found a "programmatic and sustained campaign of vilification and demonization" after these events. He defended the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and said "There is no way that the Christians and Muslims, let alone the Communist Hindu-haters will accept Hindutva. That attempt to convince the followers of the three most deadly ideologies in the world is a wasted effort".[7] Writing to The Japan Times in November 2000 he criticized the paper for parroting "ugly stereotypes as well as maliciously false descriptions" of the RSS.[8] Writing in the India Star in March 2008, Rao criticized the "brood of opinion writers" in the weekly newspaper India Abroad for creating a false image of Hinduism in India.[9]

In 2002 Sabrang Communications and South Asia Citizens Web published The Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva, which investigated how funds raised by the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) in the USA were being distributed in India.[10] Talking of Sabrang, Rediff.com columnist Varsha Bhosle had said in a July 2000 opinion piece: "An international pinko network aids this element of the supposedly neutral Press to influence Indian affairs."[11] Ramesh Rao headed a team that issued a counter-report denying the implied accusation in the Sabrang report that tribal activists, who had played a major role in the violence in Gujarat in 2002, were linked to US funding sources.[12][13] In the rebuttal the authors said Hindutva was simply a framework for maintaining identity in societies where Hindus are small minorities.[14] Ramesh Rao co-authored Gujarat after Godhra - Real Violence, Selective Outrage (2003) with Koenraad Elst. This book includes a critique of a Human Rights Watch report that claimed complicity of the state in the 2002 Gujarat communal violence.[15]

In an article published in April 2005 on India / Pakistan relations Ramesh Rao criticized Pakistan, saying "Indian leaders are like the abused wife: they continue to believe their violent neighbour/partner will change next time ... Pakistan has hobbled India and kept it from attaining self-confidence and prosperity ... By circulating fake Indian currency in the country, especially 500 rupee notes, Pakistan has tried to undermine the Indian economy ...".[16]

Ramesh Rao co-edited Gujarat after Godhra - Real Violence, Selective Outrage (2003) with Koenraad Elst. This book includes a critique of a Human Rights Watch report that claimed complicity of the state in the 2002 Gujarat communal violence, authored by Arvind Bahl.[15]


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  1. Ramaswamy & Banerjee 2007, p. xxi.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ramesh Nagaraj Rao - Welcome.
  3. Prosser 1998, p. 491.
  4. Putnam & Roloff 1992, p. viii.
  5. Dr. Ramesh Rao's Research Concerning Media Bias in Recent U.S. Reporting of India [archive], Infinity Foundation, retrieved 2015-03-28
  6. Nussbaum 2008, p. 248.
  7. Chalasani 2001.
  8. Ramesh 2000.
  9. Schulze-Engler & Helff 2009, p. 126.
  10. Tow & Chin 2009, p. 289.
  11. "Fundie Alert" [archive]. Rediff. July 20, 2000. Retrieved 2012-05-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ramesh et al.
  13. Cady & Simon 2007, p. 110.
  14. Blanco & Zlotnik 2006, p. 83.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Appleby 2011, p. 356-357.
  16. Ramesh 2005.