In Defence of the ‘Centre for Policy Research’, New Delhi

24 March 2023

I have lent my name to the following open letter, in which professors from universities in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia state why we are “shocked and dismayed” at the Government of India action against the Centre for Policy Research (CPD). CPR is “one of India’s oldest and most esteemed policy research institutions”, and we affirm that it has a “reputation for excellence that is second to none among international scholars”. Read the story here.

Letter from Concerned International Faculty and Researchers

As researchers and scholars with a deep interest in India, we are shocked and dismayed to learn that the Government of India has suspended Centre for Policy Research’s (CPR) registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulatory Act. Coming on the heels of the Income Tax survey conducted on CPR last year, this action is clearly aimed at undermining a leading research institution and jeopardising its existence. It also sets a dangerous precedent that will impair the pursuit of research and independent judgment in the country.  

Established in 1973, CPR is one of India’s oldest and most esteemed policy research institutions. Over the past the five decades, it has served as a vital and resolutely non-partisan centre of knowledge and research on key public policy questions and challenges confronting India and the world. The excellent scholarship produced by CPR has also consistently illuminated and informed Indian public debates. CPR has the rare distinction of working with successive central and state governments as well as a range of other institutions across the country. The governing board of CPR, comprising eminent Indians committed to public service, has held the organization to the highest standards of intellectual rigour and institutional probity.  

Precisely because it is an Indian institution steeped in the Indian policy milieu, CPR has been a close and indispensable interlocutor to academics and researchers working on India across the world. Through its rigorous research and active engagement its has earned a reputation for excellence that is second to none among international scholars.  It has also facilitated the engagement of a large number of scholars with India over the years and has mentored some of the finest young researchers in India.  In turn, CPR’s commitment to rigorous academic inquiry has made it the partner of choice for many universities, research institutions and philanthropic foundations outside India. CPR is a highly valued member of the international research community—one that has considerably enhanced the reputation of Indian academic and research work on the global stage.  

The recent moves against CPR by the Indian government amount to an abrogation of the institutional independence that is crucial to the production and dissemination of knowledge. In so doing, they also strike a blow at intellectual freedom and public reason that are cornerstones of Indian democracy. We respectfully urge the Indian government to reconsider its decision. We affirm our full support to the President of Centre for Policy Research and her colleagues.                    

Dan HonigAssociate ProfessorUniversity College, London
Karuna MantenaProfessor of Political ScienceColumbia University
Adam ToozeProfessor of HistoryColumbia University
Ashutosh VarshneyProfessor of Political ScienceBrown University
Prerna SinghAssociate Professor of Political ScienceBrown University
Tariq ThachilProfessor of Political ScienceUniversity of Pennsylvania
Sanjoy ChakravortyProfessor of Geography and Urban StudiesTemple University
Paul StanilandProfessor of Political ScienceUniversity of Chicago
Mukulika BanerjeeAssociate Professor of AnthropologyLondon School of Economics
Christophe JaffrelotProfessor of Indian Politics and SociologyKing’s College London
Andrew KennedyAssociate ProfessorAustralian National University
Pradeep ChibberProfessor of Political ScienceUniversity of California, Berkeley
Ira KatznelsonProfessor of Political Science and HistoryColumbia University
Jan Werner-MuellerProfessor of Social SciencesPrinceton University
Sumit GangulyProfessor of Political ScienceIndiana University
Uday Singh MehtaProfessor of Political ScienceCity University of New York
Mark W. FrazierProfessor of PoliticsThe New School
Shanta DevarajanProfessor of the Practice of International DevelopmentGeorgetown University
Gary BassProfessor of Politics and International AffairsPrinceton University
Lousie TillinProfessor of PoliticsKing’s College London
Parick Le GalèsResarch Professor of Sociology, Politics and Urban StudiesSciences Po
Olle TörnquistProf. Emeritus of Politics & DevelopmentUniversity of Oslo
Poulami RoychowdhuryAssociate Professor of SociologyMcGill University
Michael BurawoyProfessor of SociologyUniversity of California, Berkeley
Mike LevienAssociate Professor of SociologyJohns Hopkins University
Rina AgarwalaProfessor of SociologyJohns Hopkins University
Emmerich DaviesAssistant ProfessorHarvard University
Lucas GonzálezProfessorEscuela de Política y Gobierno
Phil HarrisonProfessorUniversity of the Witwatersrand
Rajesh VeeeraghavanAssistant ProfessorGeorgetown University
Adam AuerbachAssociate ProfessorAmerican University
Kim Lane ScheppleProfessor Of SociologyPrinceton University
Alexander LeeAssociate Professor of Political ScienceUniversity of Rochester
Anjali ThomasAssociate Professor of International AffairsGeorgia Institute of Technology
Jishnu DasProfessorGeorgetown University
Maitresh GhatakProfessor of EconomicsLondon School of Economics
Pranab BardhanProfessorUniversity of California, Berkeley
Sumitra BadrinathanAssistant ProfessorAmerican University
Bhumi PurohitAssistant ProfessorGeorgetown/ UC Berkeley
Rani MullenProfessorThe College of William & Mary
Alpa ShahProfessor of AnthropologyLondon School of Economics
Rachele BruleAssistant Professor of Political ScienceBoston University
Sanjay RupareliaProfessorToronto Metropolitan University
Aditya DasguptaAssistant Professor of Political ScienceUniversity of California, Merced
Rikhil BhavnaniProfessor of Political ScienceUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison
Christopher ClaryAssistant ProfessorState University of New York, Albany
Pradeep ChhibberProfessor of Political ScienceUniversity of California, Berkeley
Larry DiamondSenior FellowThe Hoover Institution
Irfan NooruddinProfessorGeogetown University
Gyan PrakashProfessorPrinceton University
Aditi MalikAssistant ProfessorCollege of the Holy Cross
Jennifer BussellAssociate Profesor of Political ScienceUniversity of California, Berkeley
Nayanik MathurProfessorOxford University
Indrajit RoySenior LecturerUniversity of York
Emma MawdsleyProfessor of GeographyUniversity of Cambridge
Darryl LiAssistant ProfessorUniversity of Chicago
Megnaa MehttaLecturer in Social AnthropologyUniversity College, London
John Echeverri-GentProfessor of PoliticsUniversity of Virginia
Christine FairAssociate Professor iGeorgetown University
Neil DeVottaProfessor of Politics and International AffairsWake Forest University
Wilhelm KrullFounding DirectorThe New Institute
John HarrissEmeritus Professor of International studiesSimon Fraser University
Dinsha MistreeResearch FellowHoover Institution and Stanford Law School
Sunil AmrithProfessor of HistoryYale University
Rohit DeAssociate Professor of HistoryYale University
Sudipta KavirajProfessor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African StudiesColumbia University
Atul KohliProfessor of International AffairsPrinceton University
Maya TudorAssociate Professor of Government and Public PolicyOxford University
Gabi Kruks-WisnerAssociate Professor of Politics and Global studiesUniversity of Virginia
Adam ZiegfeldAssociate ProfessorTemple university
Sanjay ReddyProfessor of EconomicsNew School of Social Research
Ravinder KaurProfessorUniversity of Copnhagen
Francesca JenseniusProfessor of Political ScienceUniversity of Oslo
Tanushree GoyalAssistant Professor of PoliticsPrinceton University
Simon MaxwellFormer DirectorOversees Development Institute
Robert StavinsProfessor of Energy & Economic DevelopmentHarvard Kennedy School
Mike HulmeProfessor of GeographyCambridge University
Matto MildenbergerAssistant ProfessorUniversity of California, Santa Barbara
Harald WinklerProfessorUniversity of Cape Town
Patrick HellerProfessor of SociologyBrown University
Hochstetler, KathrynProfessor of International DevelopmentLondon School of Economics and Political Science
Peter NewellProfessor of International RelationsUniversity of Sussex
Vinay GidwaniDistinguished University Teaching ProfessorUniversity of Minnesota
Matthew LockwoodSenior LecturerUniversity of Sussex
Holdren, John P.Co-Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy ProgramHarvard Kennedy School of Government
David EngermanProfessor of HistoryYale University
J. Timmons RobertsProfessor of Environmental Studies and SociologyBrown University
Raphael KaplinskyEmeritus Professorial FellowInstitute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
Carlota PerezHonorary ProfessorUniversity of Sussex
Rumy HasanSenior LecturerUniversity of Sussex
Filippo OsellaProfessor of AnthropologyUniversity of Sussex
Ben RogalyProfessor of Human GeographyUniversity of Sussex
Harro von BlottnitzDirector Energy Systems Research GroupUniversity of Cape Town
Lucy BakerSenior Research FellowUniversity of Sussex
Stephen HowesProfessor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public PolicyAustralian National University
Matthew PatersonDirector, Sustainable Consumption InstituteUniversity of Manchester
Milan VaishnavDirector and Senior Fellow, South Asia ProgramCarnegie Endowment for International Peace