SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Rochana Bajpai

BA (Baroda); MA (JNU, Delhi); MPhil, DPhil (Oxford)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Rochana Bajpai
Department of Politics and International Studies

Admissions Tutor: MSc Politics of Asia

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice


Dr Rochana Bajpai
Email address:
+44 (0) 20 7898 4750
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Fridays 4:00pm - 5:00pm


Rochana Bajpai is Reader in Politics. Her research interests are in comparative political thought and political ideologies, liberalism and multiculturalism, and modern Indian politics.

Rochana’s book Debating Difference: Group Rights and Liberal Democracy in India (Oxford University Press, 2011, paperback 2016, sixth impression), offers the first systematic analysis of debates on group-differentiated rights in the Indian Constituent Assembly (1946-49). Through a close reading of Indian constitutional and parliamentary debates on minority rights and affirmative action, the book demonstrates the importance of political arguments for understandings of political outcomes as well as political thought.

Rochana’s publications range across comparative political thought and research methods; the Indian Constituent Assembly debates; conceptions of secularism and minority rights in India; liberal ideas in India; conceptions of social justice and caste in India; affirmative action policies in India and Malaysia. Rochana’s current research (funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship), focusses on the theory and practice of political representation, with particular reference to minority representation in the Indian Parliament. She is also interested in comparative constitution-making, comparative affirmative action, and electoral authoritarianism.
Rochana is a founding member of the SOAS Centre for Comparative Political Thought and a co-convenor of the London Comparative Political Thought Research Group.

Rochana received a B.A. in Political Science from the M.S. University of Baroda, India; an M.A. in Political Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; an M.Phil (St. Catherine’s) in Politics and a D.Phil (Nuffield College) from the University of Oxford. She joined SOAS in 2006. Prior to joining SOAS, Rochana was a Junior Research Fellow in Politics at Balliol College, Oxford and the Centre for Political Ideologies. She has also held fellowships at St. Anne’s College and Wolfson College, University of Oxford.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Ching-Yu Huang, An In-Depth Study in Taiwan's Gender Mainstreaming in the Legislative Politics

Introduction to Political Theory

Political Theory

Government and Politics of South Asia

Government and Politics of Modern South Asia

MPhil research methods and upgrade seminar


Political Theory: contemporary liberal theory and comparative multiculturalism 
South Asian politics: the state and political ideologies in India


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • South Asia
Country Expertise
  • India
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi


Authored Books

Bajpai, Rochana (2011) Debating Difference: Group Rights and Liberal Democracy in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, reprinted 2012.


Bajpai, Rochana and Saez, Lawrence (2022) 'Winning big: The political logic of winning elections with large margins in India'. India Review, (21) 1, pp 21-52.

Bajpai, Rochana and Kureshi, Yasser (2022) 'Mechanisms of democratic authoritarianism: de-centring the executive in South Asia and beyond'. Democratization, pp 1-22. [Forthcoming]

Bajpai, Rochana (2022) 'Pluralizing Pluralism: Lessons from, and for, India'. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, (20) 1, pp 27-42.

Bajpai, Rochana (2019) 'What do descriptive representatives describe? Minority representative claims and the limits of Shape-shifting'. Ethnicities, (19) 5, pp 740-762.

Bajpai, Rochana and Farooqui, Adnan (2018) 'Non-extremist Outbidding: Muslim Leadership in Majoritarian India'. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, (24) 3, pp 276-298.

Bajpai, Rochana and Brown, Graham K. (2013) 'From Ideas to Hegemony: Ideational change and Affirmative action policy in Malaysia, 1955-2010'. Journal of Political Ideologies, (18) 3, pp 257-280.

Bajpai, Rochana (2010) 'Rhetoric as Argument: Social Justice and Affirmative Action in India, 1990'. Modern Asian Studies, (44) 4, pp 675-708.

Bajpai, Rochana (2009) 'Constitution-Making and Political Safeguards for Minorities: An Ideological Explanation'. Journal of Contemporary Thought, (30), pp 57-87.

Bajpai, Rochana (2003) 'Values in Political Rhetoric'. Seminar: The Monthly Symposium 524, pp 16-20.

Bajpai, Rochana (2002) 'The Conceptual Vocabularies of Secularism and Minority Rights in India'. Journal of Political Ideologies, (7) 2, pp 179-197.

Bajpai, Rochana (2000) 'Constituent Assembly Debates and Minority Rights'. Economic and Political Weekly, (35) 21-22, pp 1837-1845.

Book Chapters

Bajpai, Rochana (2021) 'Religious pluralism and the state in India: Towards a typology'. In: Barkey, Karen and Kaviraj, Sudipta and Naresh, Vatsal, (eds.), Negotiating Democracy and Religious Pluralism: India, Pakistan, and Turkey. New York: Oxford University Press, pp 139-156.

Bajpai, Rochana (2020) 'Liberalisms in India'. In: Jenco, Leigh K. and Idris, Murad and Thomas, Megan C., (eds.), Handbook of Comparative Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 485-503.

Ackerly, Brooke and Bajpai, Rochana (2017) 'Comparative Political Thought'. In: Blau, Adrian, (ed.), Methods in Analytical Political Theory. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, pp 270-296.

Bajpai, Rochana (2017) 'Secularism and Multiculturalism in India: Some Reflections'. In: Triandafyllidou, Anna and Modood, Tariq, (eds.), The Problems of Religious Diversity: European Challenges, Asian Approaches. Edinburgh University Press, pp 204-227.

Bajpai, Rochana (2015) 'Democracy'. In: Frick, Gita Dharmpal and Steinbach, Monika Kirolskar and Dwyer, Rachel and Phalkey, Jahnavi, (eds.), Key Concepts in Modern Indian Studies. Oxford University Press, pp 56-60.

Bajpai, Rochana (2014) 'Reframing Secularism: Religion, Nation and Minorities in India'. In: Black, Brian, (ed.), Confronting Secularism in Europe and India Legitimacy and Disenchantment in Contemporary Times. London, Oxford: Bloomsbury, pp 21-38.

Bajpai, Rochana (2012) 'Liberalisms in India: A Sketch'. In: Jackson, Ben and Stears, Marc, (eds.), Liberalism as Ideology: Essays in Honour of Michael Freeden. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 53-76.

Bajpai, Rochana (2011) 'Beyond Identity? UPA rhetoric on social justice and affirmative action'. In: Saez, Lawrence and Singh, Gurharpal, (eds.), New Dimensions of Politics in India: The United Progressive Alliance in Power. London: Routledge, pp 79-96.

Bajpai, Rochana (2010) 'Cultural Rights of Minorities during Constitution-making: A Re-reading'. In: Mahajan, G. and Jodhka, Surinder, (eds.), Religion, Community and Development. New Delhi: Routledge, pp 282-300.

Bajpai, Rochana (2010) 'Constitution-making and Political Safeguards for Minorities: An Ideological Explanation'. In: Ansari, M.R. and Achar, Deeptha, (eds.), Discourse, Democracy and Difference: Perspectives on Community, Politics and Culture. Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, pp 271-308.

Bajpai, Rochana (2008) 'Political Representation and the making of the Indian Constitution'. In: Bhargava, Rajeev, (ed.), Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp 354-391.

Bajpai, Rochana (2006) 'Redefining Equality: Social Justice in the Mandal Debate, 1990'. In: Mehta, V.R. and Pantham, T., (eds.), Political Ideas in Modern India: Thematic Explorations. London: Sage Publications, pp 326-339.

Monographs and Working Papers

Bajpai, Rochana (2015) Multiculturalism in India: An Exception?. Boston University.

Bajpai, Rochana (2002) Minority Rights in the Indian Constituent Assembly Debates, 1946-1950. Queen Elizabeth House Working Papers Series - QEHWPS30.

Book Reviews

Bajpai, Rochana (2009) 'Review of Martha Nussbaum, 'The Clash Within, Religious Violence, Democracy and India’s future''. International Affairs, (85) 3, pp 652-653.


Bajpai, Rochana (2017) 'Why did India choose pluralism? Lessons from a post-colonial state'.

Bajpai, Rochana (2005) 'Ideologies of Anti-Americanism: Cross-cultural Perspectives', 10.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 2nd October 2022, 11:56 Europe/London.