Before assuming charge as Director, IIAS, Makarand R. Paranjape was teaching at the Centre of English Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where he has been Professor since 1999. Prior to that he was Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Delhi (1994-1999), and Fellow, Lecturer, and Reader, University of Hyderabad (1986-1994).
Professor Paranjape earned his Masters and Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) after a first class B.A. (Hons.) in English, from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. He completed his schooling from Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bengaluru, and Pre-University from Madras Christian College, Chennai.
Professor Paranjape is the author nearly twenty books of literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction, in addition to being the editor of over two dozen other works on variety of topics. He has produced original and defining works on several makers of modern Indian literature and culture including Henry Derozio, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, and Raja Rao. He is also interested in larger social, philosophical, and civilizational issues, having edited volumes on science and religion, bio-medical and alternate healing practices, decolonization national culture, dharma and development, the literature and culture of the Indian diaspora, and the globalization of the Indian culture industry.
He has published close to 175 academic papers, published in peer-reviewed journals abroad as well as leading Indian journals, and book chapters. His popular articles, essays, book reviews, op-eds, and “middles,” number close to 1000 and have appeared in nearly every major newspaper in India including the Times of India, Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Hindu, DNA, Business Standard, Sunday Observer, Statesman, Telegraph, Deccan Herald, Deccan Chronicle, and Pioneer, and most major magazines including India Today, Outlook, Sunday, Week, Femina, and Swarajya. His recent book publications include Debating the ‘Post’ Condition in India: Critical Vernaculars, Unauthorized Modernities, Post-Colonial Contentions (New Delhi and Abingdon, 2018), Cultural Politics in Modern India: Postcolonial Prospects, Colourful Cosmopolitanism, Global Proximities (Routledge, 2016), The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi (Penguin Random House, 2015), and Making India: Colonialism, National Culture, and the Afterlife of Indian English Authority (Springer, 2013).
Apart from books in criticism, Makarand has published six poetry collections and works of fiction (two novels and a collection of short stories). Among his latest creative writing publications are: Transit Passenger/Passageiro em Transito (Humanitas, 2016), and the novel, Body Offering (New Delhi: Rupa, 2013). His edited books include Swami Vivekananada: A Contemporary Reader (Routledge, 2015), and Healing across Boundaries: Biomedicine and Alternative Therapeutics (Routledge, 2015).
In this past decade, Professor Paranjape has been an Andrew Mellon Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin (June-July 2018), Inaugural DAAD Global South Visiting Fellow (May-June 2015) and Erich Auerbach Visiting Professor in World Literature (July-December 2014), University of Tuebingen, Visiting Professor University of Bern, Switzerland (April-July 2015), Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (January-April 2015), Inaugural ICCR Chair in Indian Studies, South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore (2010-2011), CAPES Visiting Professor, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (August-December 2011), and Shivdasani Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford (October-December 2009).
Professor Paranjape is a widely travelled invited speaker with over 500 seminar presentations, lectures, talks, and readings to his credit in most Indian states and over 50 countries across the globe. He has served on important committees within JNU and other institutes of national importance in India. He is Member, IIT-Indore Senate; Member, General Assembly, Indian Council of Cultural Relations; Member, Society of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library; Presidential Nominee, IIT-Madras; and member of selection committee at major Indian institutions of higher education including central universities and IITs. He has also been External Examiner University of Mauritius and University of Malaya.
Professor Paranjape has also be the Principal Investigator or leader of several projects both nationally and internationally funded. He was the inaugural coordinator of the UGC Special Assistance Programme awarded to the Centre for English Studies, JNU, as well as the recipient of a Major Award Programme grant for his project on “Science and Spirituality in Modern India.” Professor Paranjape is the founding trustee of Samvad India Foundation, a non-profit trust devoted to promoting studies in Indian culture and thought, especially in cross-cultural, international context. He was the joint-coordinator of the China-India Inter-Cultural Dialogue and a member of the drafting and disseminating committee of the Charter of Universal Responsibility, both initiatives of the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation (FPH), France.
Professor Paranjape has been an invited participant at major international events and meetings such as the Dialogue of Civilizations (Tehran), UNESCO World Cultural Summit at the Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France, Africa Asia-Africa Literary Festival, Jeonju, South Korea, the Parliament of Religions, Salt Lake City, Utah, among several others. He was the founder and the co-curator of “Bharat Shakti: The PondyLitFest".
He currently lives in Shimla in the IIAS campus with his wife Gayatri Ayer, who is an artist, writer, and yoga teacher.