Vivek Kumar is an Indian sociologist and a public intellectual. At present he is professor of sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social System, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His areas of interest include methodology of social sciences, sociology of marginalized sections, dependent and independent Dalit political leadership, sociology of Indian diaspora, sociology of South Asia, social movements, globalization and social change. Professor Kumar has coined the terms "Dalit Diaspora", Arohi mobilization, a human distress index for Dalits, and an exclusion index from a sociological point of view. He has analyzed the process and mechanism involved in strengthening the democracy by the ‘Independent Dalit Movements’ in the largest populated state of India i.e. Uttar Pradesh. Kumar has also examined how the Dalit movement has diversified its demands for inclusion in the modern institutions of governance and other spheres of day-to-day life after India became a democracy. Now, Kumar is studying internal differences within the Indian diaspora and its relationship with Indian democracy. He also writes in newspapers and participates in debates on television channels regularly.
Early life and education
Kumar was born on January 10, 1966 in the Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh. He did his PhD in sociology in 2000, under the supervision of Professor Nandu Ram, from the same institute where he is teaching currently i.e. Centre for the Study of Social System, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Kumar has had a diverse career in NGOs and media besides academics. His earlier appointments in academia include:Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (from 2001 November-28 August 2008)Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (from 28 August 2008-January 2014)Lecturer in the Unit for Sociology of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (from 8 September 1995- 8 March 1996)State Coordinator for the study ‘People’s Report on Untouchability in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal’, Action Aid India (from 15 March 2001 – 12 November 2001)Visiting Faculty, Department of Sociology, University of Pune, Maharashtra, October 2007Visiting Faculty, Department of Sociology, University of Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, April 2008Visiting Faculty, Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 2009Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Columbia University, New York, USA on Nehru-Fulbright Teachers’ Fellowship, January 5-May 16, 2012Visiting Faculty, Institute of South Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany under the UGC DAAD Project, 15 May-15 June 2013Editor, Newsletter of Research Committee on Dalit and Backward Castes, associated with Indian Sociological Society, New DelhiMember, Editorial Committee, Diaspora Studies, Journal of the Organization for Diaspora Initiatives, New DelhiMember, Advisory Board, Vikas Vani Journal, The Journal of Xavier Institute of Management, JabalpurMember, Advisory Board, Deliberative Research, A Quarterly Bilingual Indian Journal, Firozabad, UPMember, National and International Seminar Committee, ICSSR, June 2012-continuingMember, Central Region Project Selection Committee (CRPSC) of Poorest Areas Civil Society Program (PACS), Department for International Development, Government of United Kingdom, New Delhi, 2010
He was also consultant to Action Aid India, UP Chapter. As the Co-Convener of National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights he attended ‘World Conference Against Racism’ held in Durban in 2001, He was the Chief Adviser to RDSS, Lucknow.
He was an assistant editor of The Pioneer in Lucknow and was possibly the first Dalit columnist to write regular columns for the Hindi weekly Pioneer, published from Lucknow. He anchored a weekly television program, Dalit Awaaz, at Jain Television, New Delhi. He writes a fortnightly column in India’s largest circulated Hindi daily Dainik Jagran and other Hindi and English newspapers and magazines.
Awards and recognitionDr. Rajendra Prasad Award for contribution towards the development of education, 2003-2004, presented by International Intellectual Society, New DelhiTri Ratna Award for spreading social awareness among deprived sections of the Society, 2006Samyak Sahityaratna Award for his excellent literary services, 2014, presented by Samyak Sahityaratna Award Committee, New DelhiMember, Consultative Group on the ‘Empowerment of SCs and OBCs and Social Welfare’ in the context of the Mid-Term Appraisal of Eleventh Five Year Plan, Planning Commission, Government of India, September 2009Member, Discussion on Course for the Indian Administrative Service, Administrative Reform Commission, 2006Member, Curriculum Formulation Program for Marginalized Sections, National Council of Education and Research and Training, 20082014, Caste and Democracy in India: Perspective from Below, New Delhi: Gyan Publications.(Co-edited), 2009, Dynamics of Change and Continuity in the Era of Globalization: Voices form the Margins, New Delhi: Sunrise Publication.2006, India’s Roaring Revolution: Dalit Assertion and New Horizons, New Delhi: Gagan Deep Publications.2002, Dalit Leadership in India, New Delhi: Kalpaz Publication.2000 (2013), Dalit Assertion and Bahujan Samaj Party, New Delhi: Samyak Prakashan.2014, Prajatantra Mein, Jati, Arakshan aur Dalit, New Delhi: Samyak Prakashan.(Co-edited), 2014, Dalit Sahitya Ka Samajsahstra, New Delhi: Natraj Prakashan.2007, Dalit Samaj: Purani Samasyaen Nai Akanshayen, New Delhi: Samyak Prakasha.2004, Bahujan Samaj Party evm Sanrachnatmak Parivartan, New Delhi: Samyak Prakashan.
Articles in books2014, ‘Dalit Studies: Continuities and Change’ in Yogendra Singh (eds.), Indian Sociology (Volume 3): Identity, Communication and Culture (ICSSR Research Surveys and Explorations), New Delhi: Oxford University Press.2013, ‘Ambedkarism and Future of Dalits' in Sukant K Chaudhury (eds.) Ambedkar and Future of Dalits, New Delhi: Serials Publications.2013, ‘Social Development and Planning in Developing Countries' in Shewta Singh (eds.) Social Work and Social Development: Perspectives from India and the United States, Chicago: Lyceum Books INC, USA.2013, ‘Representation of Marginalized Sections and Indian Political Parties’ in A K Mehra (eds.) Party System in India: Emerging Trajectories, New Delhi: Lancer Publications.2013, ‘Recognizing Structures of Corruption and Understanding the Nature of Mobilization Against It in Thakur M N and D Rai (eds.) Democracy on the Move? Reflections on Moments, Promises and Contradictions, New Delhi: Aakar Publications.2013, ‘Towards Epistemology of Social Exclusion’ in Ashish Saxena (eds.), Marginality, Exclusion, and Social Justice, New Delhi and Jaipur: Rawat Publications.2013, ‘The New Dalit Diaspora: A Sociological Analysis’ in Sharma K L and Renuka Singh (eds.), Dual Identity: Indian Diaspora and Other Essays, New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan.2012, ‘Dalit Diaspora: Invisible Existence’ in S K Jain (eds.) Indian Diaspora in the Era of Globalization, New Delhi: Kalpaz Publications.2010, Different Shades of Dalit Mobilization, in T K Oommen (eds.) Social Movements I: Issues of Identities, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.2010, ‘Teaching Caste and the Hindu Social Order: Dalits in Indian Sociology’ in Maitrayee Chaudhuri (eds.), Sociology in India: Intellectual and Institutional Practices, New Delhi: Rawat Publications.2008, ‘Changing Trajectory of Dalit Assertion in Uttar Pradesh’ in Nandu Ram (eds.) Dalits in Contemporary India: Discrimination and Discontent, New Delhi: Siddhant Publications.2008, ‘Babasaheb Ambedkar: Conceptualization and Operationalization of Social Justice’ in P G Jogdand (eds.) Globalization and Social Justice: Perspectives, Challenges and Praxis, New Delhi: Rawat Publications.2007, Bahujan Samaj Partya: Some Issues of Democracy and Governance in Sudha Pai (eds.) Political Process in Uttar Pradesh: Identity, Economic Reform and Governance, New Delhi: Pearson Longman.2007, ‘Governance and Development in the Era of Globalization: Understanding Exclusion and Assertion of Dalits in India’ in Kameshwar Chaudhary (eds.) Globalization Governance Reform and Development in India, New Delhi: Sage Publications.2006, ‘Sociology of Indian Minorities’ in Joseph Benjamin (eds.) Minorities in Indian Social System, New Delhi: Gyan Publishing House.2006, ‘Political and Civil Institution of Governance: Contradiction of Exclusion and Inclusion of Dalits in Contemporary India’ in R B S Verma (eds.) Empowerment of Weaker Sections in India, New Delhi: Serials Publications.2006, ‘Dalit Sahitya Ka Samajshastra’ in Devendra Chaube (eds.) Sahitya Ka Naya Saundryasastra, New Delhi: Raj Kamal Prakashan.2004, ‘Ambedkar’s Vision of Social Justice: Quest for Unification, Empowerment and Differentiation’ in M H Makwana (eds.) Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Vision and Social Justice, Ahemdabad: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Chair, School of Social Sciences, Gujarat University.2004, ‘Reformist’s Role’ in Renuka Singh (eds.) The Path of Buddha: Writings on Contemporary Buddhism, New Delhi: Penguin Books.2003, ‘Emergence of Dalit Youth: Some Sociological Reflections’ in Vinod Chandra (eds.) Construction and Reconstruction of Indian Youth, Lucknow: J N Postgraduate College.1999, ‘Nature and Crisis of Dalit Leadership: A Brief Socio-Historical Profile’ in Ashish Ghosh (eds.), Dalit and Peasants the Emerging Caste-Class Dynamics, New Delhi: Gyan Sagar Publication.1999, ‘Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Identities in UP’ in Ambrose Pinto (eds.) Dalit Assertion for Identity, New Delhi: Indian Social Institute.
Articles in periodicals and journals2014, ‘B R Ambedkar aur Rashtra Nirman ki Avdharna’, Bhartiya Samajshastra Sameeksha (Bhartiya Samajshatra Parishad ki Shodh Patrika), Volume 1, Number 1, January–June, New Delhi, pp. 22–31.2010, ‘Ambedkar’s Idea of Nation and Nation Building’, Human Rights Global Focus (published by the International Human Rights Foundation), Volume 5, Number 3 & 4, July–December, pp. 69–85.2009, ‘Locating Dalit Women in the Indian Caste System, Media and Women’s Movement’, Social Change: Journal of the Council for Social Development, Volume 39, Number 1, March, New Delhi, pp. 64–84.2009, ‘Dalit Diaspora: Invisible Existence’, Diaspora Studies, Volume 2, Number 1, January–June, Journal of the Organization for Diaspora Initiatives, New Delhi, pp. 53–74.2008, ‘Democracy and Self- Representation’, Mainstream, Volume XLVI, Number 42, October 4, New Delhi.2007, ‘Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Ideas of Social Justice and Just Society’, Dialogue, Volume 9, Number 2, October–December, New Delhi, pp. 117–126.2007, ‘Behind the BSP Victory’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XLII, Number24, June 1–7, Mumbai, pp. 2237–2239.2007, ‘Literary Representation of Ambedkar: A Survey from Hindi Literature’, Creative Forum: Journal of Literary & Critical Writings, Volume 20, Number2, July–December, New Delhi: Bahri Publications, pp. 45–54.2007, ‘When the Marginalized Mobilize: A Case Study of the Bahujan Samaj Party’, Indian Journal of Social Work, Volume 68, Number 1, January 2007, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, pp. 88–100.2006, ‘Education: A Perspective from Below: Viewing Social Sciences from a Dalit Perspective’, Biblio, September–October, New Delhi, pp. 35–36.2006 (Published in June 2009), ‘Indian Media and its Role in the Empowerment of Dalits’, Communicator: A Journal of the Institute of Mass Communication, Volume XLI, Number 1, January–December, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, pp. 73–97.2005, ‘Situating Dalits in Indian Sociology’, Sociological Bulletin (Special issue of South Asia: The State of Sociology, Issues of Relevance and Rigour), Volume 54, Number 3, September–December, New Delhi, pp. 514–532.2005, ‘Understanding the Politics of Reservation’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XL, Number 9, February 26-March 4, Mumbai, pp. 803–806.2005, ‘Violence and Youth: Carving Out an Independent Agenda for Youth’, Indian Journal of Youth Affairs, Volume 9, Number 2, July–December, Vishva Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi, pp. 55–62.2004, ‘Understanding Dalit Diaspora’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXXIX, Number 1, January 3–9, Mumbai, pp. 114–116.2004, ‘BSP and Dalit Aspirations’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXIX, Number 18, May 1–7, Mumbai, pp. 1778–1781.2004, ‘Social Exclusion, Alternative Economic Survey: Magnifying MalDevelopment’, Noida: Rainbow Publisher and London: Zed Books.2003, ‘From Social Reform to Political Mobilization: Changing Trajectory of Dalit Assertion in UP’, Social Action: A Quarterly Review of Social Trends, Volume 53, Number 2, April–June, New Delhi, pp. 115–31.2003, ‘Dalit Movement and Dalit International Conferences’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXXVIII, Number 27, July 5–11, Mumbai.2003, ‘Uttar Pradesh: Politics of Change’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXXVIII, Number 37, September 13–19, Mumbai, pp. 3869–3871.2003, ‘Dalits, Alternative Economic Survey 2002-2003: Liberalization Sans Social Justice’, Noida: Rainbow Publisher.2002, ‘Ambedkar’s Vision of Social Justice: Quest for Unification, Empowerment and Differentiation’, Jagriti, Journal of History, Culture, Art and Social Justice, Kashi Hindu University, Varanasi.2002, ‘Socio-Political Mobilization and Empowerment of Dalits in Uttar Pradesh’, Contemporary Social Work, Volume XIX, April 2002, Department of Social Work, Lucknow University, Lucknow, pp. 57–72.2002, ‘Globalization and Empowerment of Dalits in India’, Guru Nanak Journal of Sociology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab.2002, ‘The Power of Strategy, The Dalit, Dalit Media Network, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, May–June, pp. 13-16.2001, ‘Globalization and Empowerment of Dalits in India’, Indian Anthropologist, Volume 31, Number 2, December, New Delhi, pp. 15–25.2001, ‘Untouchability in Uttaranchal’, Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XXXVI, Number 49, December 8, Mumbai, pp. 4536–37.