Rahul Ghai

Rahul Ghai

Associate Professor

Rahul’s engagement with rural development began in 1992 when he joined URMUL Rural Health and Development Trust, in Bikaner which gave him opportunity to work closely with rural communities in western Rajasthan to engage with triad of food, fodder and water security and a quest for improving human development in the interiors of Thar in Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Barmer for more than a decade and a half. He worked with a team to set up the Arid Zone Environmental Research Centre which conducted action research interventions with desert communities on issues of drought, settlement, and irrigated farming in IGNP Canal command area, community institutions and sustaining of craft-based livelihoods. The wide-open expanses of desert and the close engagement with desert communities served as an open university offering opportunities to hone skills and attitude of being a barefoot researcher. Rahul has been consultant to Oxfam GB, Action Aid, Plan International, Tearfund, SIDA, CCF, Tata Trusts, Reliance Foundation, India Foundation for the Arts, SURE, Deshkal Society and Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation for strategic planning, organizational learning, project appraisal and impact assessment for disaster mitigation and livelihood programmes in ecologically fragile regions of India. In particular has been his participation in disaster response and assessments in Orissa Super Cyclone 1999, Bhuj earthquake 2002, Tsunami 2004 , Kashmir earthquake 2005, and creeping drought in Western Rajasthan and North Gujarat in 1999-2002. He has contributed to designing and teaching courses on rural development and social management with IGNOU and Central University Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Since 2012 he has been associated with IIHMR as one of the core faculties of the School of Development Studies. A graduate from Hansraj College, Delhi University, Rahul Ghai completed his Masters and M.Phil in History from Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. An avid birdwatcher, Rahul has devoted last two and a half decades working with subaltern sufi musicians towards reinvigorating Sufiyana Qalam tradition singing in Pugal region, Bikaner. He has curated courses on sufi music traditions for students and listeners in association with Ahmedabad University and India Foundation for the Arts. He is member of the advisory board for Bodh Gaya Global Dialogues: Culture, Enlightenment and Sustainable Development, an international annual festival that has been held since 2017 by the Deshkal Society in association with IGNCA. Rahul has authored several pieces in reputed national newspapers and magazines. Rahul has authored two papers in the popular book Interrogating Development, Insights from the margins published by Oxford University Press. His most recent publications include an edited volume by PRIMUS books The Marginalized Self, tales of Resistance of a Community, a co-authored paper on Migration realities of tribal central India in the landmark publication Tribal Development Report, 2 Vols, published by Routledge and CRC, UK. Apart from these he has contributed to journals like IIC Quarterly, Economic and Political Weekly; Pastoralism: Research, Policy, Practice; Journal of Health Management, Man and Environment on issues of migration and social ecological complex adaptive systems. His areas of teaching are development theory and practice, vernacular conceptions of modernity and sustainable development, pastoral systems, rural and rurban social formations, livelihoods, and internal migration in transforming India, culture and development, Design Thinking, ethnography, and qualitative research.

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