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Photo: Hans Glave

Avantha Professor and Director, King’s India Institute, King's College London

Metro Fellow - Class of Spring 2010

Sunil Khilnani is the Avantha Professor and Director, King’s India Institute, at King’s College London. Prior he was the Starr Foundation Professor and Director of South Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC.


Khilnani was born in New Delhi and was awarded his PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. Thereafter he was Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College at the University of London and was a visiting Professor of Politics at Seikei University in Tokyo. He has been elected a fellow of Christ’s College at University of Cambridge and has held fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. His research centers on the history of political intellectuals and the development of democracy outside the West. He is a leading expert on Indian and its society and politics, as well as their historical roots. Professor Khilnani has worked on a biography of former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru while at the Wissenschaftskolleg, and on a history of democracy in India.


His publications include Arguing Revolution: The Intellectual Left in Postwar France (Yale, 1993; German translation, 1995), Civil Society: History and Possibilities (with Sudipta Kaviraj: Cambridge, 2001), and The Idea of India (third edition, Penguin Books, 2001), which was translated into Hindi, French, and Arabic. He serves as a member of the editorial board of The Political Quarterly and is a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Study in Nantes. He is a recipient of the 2005 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the Indian government.

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