Areas of Interest & Expertise
Secularism and Indian Politics, Hindu Nationalism, Politics of Disaster Relief and Recovery, Philanthropy in South Asia, Relationship between Religion and Development in India, Citizenship in Northeast India
I am a political scientist by training and am interested in understanding the interplay between religion and politics and religion and development in India. I also study the politics of humanitarianism particularly in the context of disasters, the institution of philanthropy in South Asia and the question of citizenship in Northeast India in the context of Partition history.
My most recent book publication Disaster Relief and the RSS studies the political implications of the humanitarian work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by examining the institution of seva (service) in disaster situations. This book provides a refreshingly new perspective of the RSS by recognising its ‘compassionate’ aspects and understanding its appeal from the point of view of its benefactors.
My research and teaching interests are guided by an attempt to examine the limitations of the ‘secular’ and the repercussions of the political project of secularism to suppress and de-recognize the non-secular experience.
I earned my PhD, MPhil and MA degrees in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. I started my career at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and subsequently worked in a conflict resolution firm named Meta-Culture in Bangalore. I have been associated with Azim Premji Foundation since 2010.
Currently, I am working on a project titled ‘Religion and Philanthropy in India’ where I examine religious subjectivities and motivations for giving and the challenges encountered by religious organizations in an essentially secular philanthropic space.
In my free time, I love travelling to forests and gardening with my daughter.
Book and Book Chapters
- Bhattacharjee, Malini.(2019). Disaster Relief and the RSS: Resurrecting ‘Religion’ Through Humanitarianism. Sage Publications.
- Bhattacharjee, Malini.(Eds.)(2019). Hindutva as a ‘Sacred Form’: A Case Study of Karnataka’ in Religion in Indian Politics. Routledge.
- Bhattacharjee, Malini (2020). The politics of perception and the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. Dialogue. 22 (2). pp. 25 – 32. http://www.asthabharati.org/Dia_Oct%20020.pdf#page=25
- Bhattacharjee, Malini (2021). Building a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ through ‘Seva’ a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ through ‘Seva’. Economic and Political Weekly, 56 (3). https://www.epw.in/engage/article/building-hindu-%20rashtra-through-seva
- Bhattacharjee, Malini, Book Review: R. Srivatsan. 2015. Seva, Saviour and State: Caste Politics, Tribal Welfare and Capitalist Development, New Delhi: Routledge. 406/ Contributions to Indian Sociology, 51, 3 (2017) : 379 – 414. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0069966717713408
- Bhattacharjee, Malini (2016). ‘Seva, Hindutva and the Politics of Post-Earthquake Reconstruction in Rural Kutch’ as part of Salvage and Salvation: Religion and Disaster Relief in Asia (Special Issue). In Asian Ethnology 75:1. https://asianethnology.org/downloads/ae/pdf/AE%2075 – 1%20Bhattacharjee.pdf
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2016). Tracing the Emergence and Consolidation of Hindutva in Assam (Special Article) in Economic and Political Weekly.51(16), Issue no. 16, pp. 80 – 87. https://www.epw.in/journal/2016/16/strategic-affairs/tracing-emergence-and-consolidation-hindutva-assam.html
- Bhattacharjee, Malini and Dolashree Mysoor. (2015). Unredressed Grievances under RTE: Navigating the State Labyrinth. In Governance. DOI: 10.1111/gove.12132. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gove.12132
- Bhattacharjee, Malini, Dolashree Mysoor, and Arun Sivaramakrishnan. (2014). RTE Grievance Redress in Karnataka. in Economic and Political Weekly, XLIX : 23, pp.37 – 41. https://www.epw.in/journal/2014/23/insight/rte-grievance-redress-karnataka.html
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2021). Book Review of Book review of ‘RSS: Evolution from an Organization to a Movement’. India Chapter. http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/2567/1/Book%20Review%20on%20%27RSS_%20Evolution%20from%20an%20Organization%20to%20a%20Movement%27.pdf
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2020, October 11). Did the First Amendment to the Constitution lay the foundation for an authoritarian state?.The Indian Express. . https://indianexpress.com/article/books-and-literature/did-the-first-amendment-to-the-constitution-lay-the-foundation-for-an-authoritarian-state-6720006/
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2021, Forthcoming). Serving the ‘Other’ During the Pandemic: Hindu Nationalist Groups and Covid Relief in India, Religion and Covid-19 under observation: the Asia-focused research blog CoronAsur, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (Converted into a book chapter). https://ari.nus.edu.sg/20331 – 28/
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2020, July 6). 73 yrs ago, Sylhet Referendum left a Hindu community homeless between Assam and Bangladesh. The Print . https://theprint.in/opinion/73-yrs-sylhet-referendum-hindu-community-homeless-between-assam-bangladesh/455233/
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2020, June 16). Interview in Bastion Dialogues, The Bastion. https://thebastion.co.in/ideas/dialogues-dr-malini-bhattacharjee-on-the-rss-seva-and-relief-and-development/
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2020, February 11). What lessons should Narendra Modi, Amit Shah & Arvind Kejriwal draw from Delhi election?. The Print. https://theprint.in/talk-point/what-lessons-should-narendra-modi-amit-shah-arvind-kejriwal-draw-from-delhi-election/363646/
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2020, January 10). Indian intellectuals using secularism to shoot down CAA is only helping Hindutva camp. The Print. https://theprint.in/opinion/indian-intellectuals-using-secularism-to-shoot-down-caa-is-helping-hindutva-camp/347313/
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. Did BJP Ride on RSS ‘Seva’?. Deccan Herald. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/main-article/did-bjp-ride-on-rss-seva-736970.html
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2018, September 5). Has the Assamese sub-national movement finally converged with Hindutva?. The Asian Age. http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/050918/has-assamese-sub-national-movement-finally-converged-with-hindutva.html
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. The BJP in Karnataka: Tracing the social ecology of Hindutva in the State. The News Minute. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bjp-karnataka-tracing-social-ecology-hindutva-state-83699
- Bhattacharjee, Malini. (2015, May 21). Beware the Politics of Seeing Religious ‘Meaning’ in Disasters’. The Wire. http://thewire.in/2015/05/21/beware-the-politics-of-seeing-religious-meaning-in-disasters/
- ‘Sacralising the Secular’: Religion and Philanthropy in India
- ‘Unforgetting Sylhet’: Redeeming a Subverted Narrative