Purnendu completed his Masters from JNU, Delhi in 1981. From 1984, he has been associated with the Institute of Development Studies, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, where he now serves as Associate Professor. He did his Ph.D. from the Institute of Social Studies in Netherlands in 1996 on the subject of 'Pastoral lives in Rajasthan'. This work later got published by Oxford in 1999.
Purnendu continues to work on the lives of pastoral communities and his writings have been published in a number of international and national journals. His current research interest is to further explore the ecological dimension of society and culture.