Swapan Dasgupta (Bengali: স্বপন দাশগুপ্ত Shôpon Dashgupto) (born 3 October 1955) is a senior Indian journalist and Member of Parliament, being a Presidential Nominee to the Rajya Sabha (Council of States, or India's Upper House of Parliament).
At various points in his career, he has held senior editorial posts at The Statesman, The Daily Telegraph, The Times of India, The Indian Express and India Today, where he was Managing Editor till 2003. He has published his works in The Pioneer, The Telegraph, Dainik Jagran, The Times of India, The New Indian Express, Outlook, The Free Press Journal and several other newspapers and magazines, and is currently a freelance writer for various publications. Over the last decade, he has acquired the fame of being one of the most frequently appearing faces on Indian television. He is seen in all major political debates featured in the English electronic media, and was well known for appearing on NDTV's weekly segment, Politically Incorrect, with Mani Shankar Aiyar. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in the field of Literature and Education in 2015. A self-professed believer in British Conservatism, he has often been seen to be supportive of the BJP and its politics, though has on a number of occasions taken stands that are contrary to the party line.
Dasgupta was awarded Padma Bhushan (India's third highest civilian award) in 2015, for his contribution to Literature and Education.
Swapan Dasupta was born in Calcutta in 1955 into a Bengali Baidya family. His father, S.C. Dasgupta, was the owner and Chairman of the Calcutta Chemical Company, a well-known pharmaceutical company started by his grandfather, the Late K.C. Das during the period of Swadeshi entrepreneurship in Bengal. K.C. Das became famous for being amongst the first Indians to graduate from Stanford University in 1910. His mother, Rekha (née Sen), was the daughter of the successful barrister Susil Chandra Sen CBE, author of India's first Companies Act, and after whom a road is named (formerly Nandan Road) in the posh locality of Bhowanipore, South Calcutta. The Sen family were the erstwhile Rajas (Zamindar) of Kalna, centred in Guptipara in West Bengal. He is also descended from the famous Gooptu clan through his maternal side.
He was educated briefly at St. Paul's School, Darjeeling but subsequently left. He completed his school education at La Martiniere Calcutta, where he was a contemporary of Chandan Mitra and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 1975, standing second in Delhi University. He then went on scholarship to complete his MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He completed his thesis in 1980, entitled "Local politics in Bengal, Midnapur District".
Upon completion of his PhD, he returned to India and joined his family's company, the Calcutta Chemical Company, in a management role while his mother was the Chairperson. However, acknowledging that his true calling was in academia, he soon stepped down. He then returned to the United Kingdom to take up the position of a Junior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, for which he was awarded the INLAKS Scholarship by the INLAKS-Shivdasani Foundation.
After his stint in Oxford, he returned to India in 1986 and started off his journalistic career at The Statesman. He worked in senior editorial positions at newspapers like The Times of India, The Telegraph, The Indian Express and India Today. He is currently an independent columnist with various publications.
Dasgupta is a journalist in the English media. He has regularly appeared on various Indian news channels including CNN-IBN, NDTV and Times Now to debate on current issues pertaining to India and international affairs. He has edited a collection of essays: Nirad Chaudhuri—The First Hundred Years. He was a co-participant on the popular weekly show Politically Incorrect with Mani Shankar Aiyar on NDTV.
He also lectures extensively in both India and abroad on topics relating to history, politics & current affairs. He was recently lauded for his series on 'Indian Conservatism' at the King's India Institute, London's Distinguished Lecture Series at the Tagore Centre for Global Thought, King's College, London.
He was awarded the C.F. Andrews Award by his alma mater, St. Stephen's College, in 2015 for being amongst the most distinguished alumni of the institution. The vice-chancellor of AMU has recommended the name of pro-BJP journalist Swapan Das Gupta in Political Science Department as adjunct faculty.
In February 2015, Swapan Dasgupta was appointed on the Board of Directors of Larsen and Toubro as a nominee of the Unit Trust of India. Dasgupta's appointment to this post has given rise to some controversy. He resigned from the position prior to being elected to the Rajya Sabha.
In April, 2016, Dasgupta was nominated by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee to the Rajya Sabha. His term would continue till 2022.
In spite of being perceived to be close to the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has not joined the party and remains an independent member in the Rajya Sabha.
He is married to Reshmi Dasgupta, Lifestyle Editor at The Economic Times, and they reside in New Delhi.
They have one son, a law student currently living in London.