Dr. Suman Nath – Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Govt. College

Dr. Suman Nath

Designation: Assistant Professor

Department: Anthropology

Qualification: M. Sc. (C.U.), Ph. D. (IIM Calcutta with C.U)
Area of Specialization: Social and Cultural anthropology, Politics and Governance, Public Policy and Resource Allocation

E-mail: sumananthro1@gmail.com



All course materials delivered by Dr. Suman Nath is available here:


Class lectures of Dr. Suman Nath is available here:


Research Interests

Research expertise in both rural and urban settings on cultural factors in development governance, socio-economic and cognitive surveys, social needs and impact assessment with a focus on health, poverty alleviation, participatory water management and local government sectors. Assessment of cultural constructs, community involvement, and institutional arrangements for partnership building activities; particularly experienced in long-term ethnographic fieldworks conducted in different states in India, equipped with skills of applied and action research, writing reports in time bound manner and representing results in different interactive processes.

Research Projects (Completed/ ongoing)

  1. Awarded University Grants’ Commission’s Minor Research Project sceme for the project title: “Political Culture and Local Governance in Transition: Aspects of Service Delivery in West Bengal” in 2016. Grant Amount 2,25,000/-
  2. Awarded University Grants’ Commission’s Minor Research Project scheme for the project title: “Incompatible institutions and decision making: a study on the dialectics of water institutions and panchayats in West Bengal” in the year 2011. Grant amount: Rs. 1,29,000/- only. Duration: 1 year and 6 months

Research Publications


  1. 2022. Democracy, Social Cleavage in India: Ethnography on Riots, Everyday Politics and Communalism in West Bengal c. 2012-2021, Routledge, New YorkISBN: 9781003273516 (click here)
  2. 2022 . Theory, Policy, Practice – Development and Discontent in India. In contract with Routledge, New York. Co-editor. Debraj Bhattacharya. ISBN: 978-03-676345-4-4 (click here)
  3. 2020 People-Party-Policy Interplay in India: Micro-dynamics of Everyday Politics in Contemporary West Bengal, New York: Routledtge, Taylor and Francis. ISBN: 978-11-386154-3-4  (click here)
  4. 2014 Sexuality, Identity and Health: Same-Sex Behaviour of Urban Indian Menco authors: Arnab Das, Soumi Dey, Department of Anthropology, Calcutta University, and Dipankar Chatterjee, School of Agriculture and Rural Development, RMVU, Ranchi. Ashwin-Anoka, New Delhi. ISBN: 978-81-904750-6-8

Journal Articles


  1. “Intriguing Issues in the Corruption Discourse and Challenges of Governance,” Economic and Political Weekly. 58(41) 29-30. https://www.epw.in/journal/2023/41/book-reviews/intriguing-issues-corruption-discourse-and.html (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2. “The Electoral Legacies of Civil War Violence: Theory and Evidence from a Maoist-Affected State in India,” Studies in Comparative International Development Springer-Nature. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-023-09389-w Click here (Scopus/UGC CARE)


  1. “Politics of Cultural Misrecognitions and the Rise of Identity Consolidations in Post Left West Bengal,” Economic and Political Weekly, 57(40), 58-66. Click here (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2. “Political Campaigning in West Bengal: Violence, Professionalisation and Communalisation”, South Asian History and Culture, 13(3), 305-320. https://doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2022.2075208, Jointly with Subhasis Ray, OP Jindal Global University (Scopus/UGC CARE)


  1. 2021  “Resolving Disagreements in Panchayats: Elected Representatives and Local Bureaucracy Interface in West Bengal” Economic and Political Weekly, Co-author: Prof. Bhaskar Chakrabarti. Vol 56, No. 38, pp. 46-53. (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2. 2021 “Farmers’ Politics in West Bengal: Left Front and Post Left Front Period,” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 56, No. 15, pp. 42 – 49. (Scopus/UGC CARE)


  1. 2020, “Party-people and local governance in an Indian state: a longitudinal study on the roots of electoral violence,” India Review, Vol 19 (3): 280-300 (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2. 2020, “Banaras in a Narrative of Nostalgia and Kitsch”, Anthropos, Vol 115, pp – 19-36 Co-Authored with Dr. Arnab Das and Prof. Subrata Sankar Bagchi (Scopus/UGC CARE)


  1. 2019, “Manufacturing Polarisation in Contemporary India: The Case of Identity Politics in Post Left Bengal”, International Journal of Conflict and Violence, Volume 13, pp/ 1-09 ISSN: 1864-1385 (UGC No. 2790 & CARE) Co-Author: Subhoprotim Roy Chowdhury (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2. 2019, “Mapping Polarisation: Four Ethnographic Cases from West Bengal”. Journal of Indian Anthropological Society, Volume 54, pp. 51-65. ISSN: 0019-4387 (UGC No. 11059 & CARE) Co-Author: Subhoprotim Roy Chowdhury


  1. 2018, “Cultural Misrecognition” and the Sustenance of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal”, Economic and Political Weekly. Vol53, No. 28, pp. 92-99 ISSN: 0012-9976  (UGC No. 12473 &CARE)(Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2. 2018. “Those Numbered Days: An Autoethnography on Living and Dying with a Cancer Patient”, Journal of Human Value, Vol 24, No. 3, pp. 1 – 11. ISSN: 0971-6858 (UGC No. 28534 & CARE)(Scopus/UGC CARE)

2017 backwards

  1. 2017 “Everyday Politics and Corruption in West Bengal: Reflections on Strategies of Trinamool Congress”, Economic and Political Weekly, vol 52(21): 22-25, 2017  (UGC No. 12473 &CARE) (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  2.  2013 “Reasons for the Gap between Irrigation Potential Created and Utilised: A Case Study of West Bengal and Seven North-Eastern States.” In Review of Development and Change, vol: XVIII (2): 115 – 130. 2013 Co-Authors: Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay and Annapurna Shaw, IIM Calcutta. Issn 0972-2661 (UGC CARE) (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  3. 2013 “Wage Employment: Impact of MGNRGS in Bardhaman, West Bengal” In Journal of Rural Development. National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad, 32 (1) pp. 19 – 32, 2013, Co-Authors: Biju Paul Abraham, Bhaskar Chakrabarti and Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Url. http://www.nird.org.in/NIRD_Docs/jrd010413.pdf Issn 0970-3357 (UGC CARE)(Scopus/UGC CARE)
  4. 2012 “MGNREGS and Creation of Environmental Assets in Bardhaman, West Bengal.” In Indian Journal of Public Administration, Delhi, 2012, 58(4): 740-748. Co-Authors. Biju Paul Abraham, Bhaskar Chakrabarti and Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta Issn 0019-5561 (UGC CARE) (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  5. “Governance in Absence of Formal Institutions: Water Politics in Rural West Bengal.” In Journal of the Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Calcutta. Volume 14. No. 1, pp. 216 -227. 2012. Co-Authors. Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, and Arnab Das, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta. Issn 2249-6181
  6. 2011 “Local Governments in Rural West Bengal, India and their Coordination with Line Departments.” In Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, Issue – 8/9, pp. 33 – 51, May-November 2011. University of Technology, Sydney. Co Authors: Bhaskar Chakrabarti and Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Url. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/cjlg/article/view/2411/2638 ISSN: 1836-0394 (UGC CARE) (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  7. 2011 “Political Economy of Cold Storages in West Bengal.” In Commodity Vision, Vol. 4, Issue. 4, pp. 36 – 42. January, 2011. Co-Author: Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. ISBN:      A100007611 (UGC CARE)
  8. 2010 “Village forums or development councils: People’s participation in decision-making in rural West Bengal, India.” In Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, Issue – 5, pp. 66 – 85, March 2010. University of Technology, Sydney.  Co Authors: Raghebendra Chattopadhyay and Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Url. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/cjlg ISSN: 1836-0394 (UGC CARE) (Scopus/UGC CARE)
  9. “Voices, Noises and Kolkata Book Fair: An insiders’ study of Constructs, Performances and Practices in a Space for consumption. In Journal of the Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Calcutta. Volume 12&13, 2010 pp – 74 – 86. Co Authors: Arnab Das, Gopalkrishna Chakrabarti, Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta. Anwita Dutta, Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune. Priyadarsini Sengupta, Bangabasi College, Kolkata.
  10. “An Ethnographic Study of Growing Localisation of Culture of Fast Food in A City Adjacent to Kolkata Metropolis” In Journal of the Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Calcutta. Volume 12&13, 2010, pp. 10 – 25. Co-Authors: Amrita Saha, Sutapa Mukhopadhyay, Arnab Das, Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta and Priyadarsini Sengupta, Department of Anthropology, Bangabasi College.

Articles in Edited Volumes

  1. 2019. “Field Research for the ‘Present’ as Collaboration among Fragments and Differences: A Journey Within, Across, In-Between and Beyond the Boundaries” in Bonita Aleaz and Partha Pratim Basu eds. Revisiting Qualitative Methods in Social Science Research, pp. 136-166. Gurgaon: Orient BlackSwan
  2. 2015 “Empathising terminal illness: A phenomenological study on the constructs and stereotypes of life with cancer” in Ajit K Dalal and K. Ravi Priya, eds.  Qualitative Research on Well Being and Self Growth. Pp. 124 – 143. London and New Delhi: Routledge India. ISBN: 978-1-13-802037-5
  3. 2014 “Tales of Everyday Politics in West Bengal.” In Sarit K. Chaudhuri and Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri (eds.). Fieldwork in South Asia: Memories, Moments and Experiences, pp. 262-275. New Delhi, Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Washington DC: Sage ISBN: 978-81-321-1742-1
  4. 2009 “Decentralisation of Irrigation Management in India: Problems of Participation and the Role of Water User Associations.” In Xiao-ning, Z. and Shu-rong, Z. (Eds.) Proceedings of 2009 International Conference on Public Administration (5th). Volume 3 (part III), pp. 513 – 522. UESTC Press. Co authors: Bhaskar Chakrabarti and Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Public Policy and Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Url: http://www.icpa-uestc.cn/en/home/paperdown.php?newsId=89    ISBN 7-81094-968-3
  5. 2011 “Passing (A)Lone: A Study of Hidden Marginalisation of the Dying/Living with Cancer.” In R. Ray (eds.). Development Displacement and Marginalisation. 199 – 215. Kolkata: Asiatic Society. Co Authors: Gopalkrishna Chakrabarti and Arnab Das, Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta. ISBN: 978-81-920615-1-1
  6. 2009 “The Ways of Dying in Retrospect: A Study on Care for and Rights to Life.” In SS Bagchi (Eds.). Expanding Horizons of Human Rights. PP. 118-138. New Delhi: Atlantic. Co authors: Gopal Krishna Chakraborti, University of Calcutta and Priyadarsini Sengupta, Bangabasi College. ISBN: 978-81-269-1069-4
  7. 2007 “The Changing Facets of Urbanism – from the first cities up to the present.” In B. Chaudhuri and S. Chaudhuri (Eds.), IUAES (International Union for Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences) inter congress publication Vol – 2: Urbanism and Multiethnic Society.PP. 35-47. New Delhi: Inter India Publications. Co Author: Priyadarshini Sengupta, Bangabasi College, Kolkata. ISBN: 812100429-2

Popular Articles

  1. There is Temple Politics where You Least Expect it – Bengal’s Junglemahal for one. In The Wire, 2024, February 04. Url: https://thewire.in/politics/theres-temple-politics-where-you-least-expect-it-bengals-jungle-mahal-for-one
  2. Why Is Caste an ‘Absent-Present’ Category in Bengal Politics? In The wire, 2023, August 19. Url: https://thewire.in/books/why-is-caste-an-absent-present-category-in-bengal-politics
  3. West Bengal polls: How religio-cultural matrix, shrinking party identity mark return of organisation-based politics in state. In First Post, 2021, April 16. Url: https://www.firstpost.com/politics/west-bengal-polls-how-religio-cultural-matrix-shrinking-party-identity-mark-return-of-organisation-based-politics-in-state-9534961.html
  4. Before CBI probe into West Bengal violence, let’s define the ‘post-poll’ period ‘Post-poll’? Political violence in West Bengal is too intrinsic to admit legal categories. – in The Print, 2021, September 28. Url: https://theprint.in/opinion/before-cbi-probe-into-west-bengal-violence-lets-define-the-post-poll-period/741507/ . Co-Author: Subhashish Ray
  5. Violence isn’t new in BJP states. But Lakhimpur Kheri and Darrang mark a new turn in The Print. 2021, October 15. Url: https://theprint.in/opinion/violence-isnt-new-in-bjp-states-but-lakhimpur-kheri-and-darrang-mark-a-new-turn/750875/ Co Author: Subhashish Ray
  6. Paschimbonge BJP: Akasmikota na Dharabahikota (The Rise of BJP in West Bengal: is it Sudden or in Continuation) in Bengali. In Arekrakam, Volume 7, Issue 12, 2019. PP. 17-24
  7. Paschimbonge Adibasider Rojnamocha o Trinamuler Rajniti (Everydayness of tribal people in West Bengal and Politics of Trinamool Congress) in Bengali. In Arek Rakam,Volume 7, Issue 7,2019. Pp. 29-36
  8. Panchayat, Village Politics and Political Chang (Panchayat, Gramin Rajniti o Rajnoitik Palabadal) in Bengali. In Amar Patraput, 2019. ISSN: 2395-504X
  9. Joler dor kato? Sorkar jaane? (Does the Government Know the price water?) in Bengali. In Andabazar Patrika, Saturday December 29, 2018. Link: https://www.anandabazar.com/editorial/price-of-irrigation-water-is-increasing-it-should-be-controlled-1.922909?fbclid=IwAR3ag4oXZSlR4E-2uT9-xhlStx9HHiF_g1dOwidR3ZZ4gtMoL2ybX6g5_Wo
  10. Aalu Chas o Sarkari Niti (Potato Cultivation and Policies) in Bengali. In Anandabazar Patrika, Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Link: https://www.anandabazar.com/editorial/potato-farming-and-government-policy-1.784373?ref=hm-sec-new-stry-editorial
  11. “Bojha chai gramer manush kake o kano biswas koren” (It is important to understand whom and why do villagers trust?) in Bengali. In Anandabazar Patrika, Saturday May 4, 2013. Link: http://www.anandabazar.com/archive/1130504/4raj8.html
  12. “Joler dor thik kore rajniti, tai chash kore labh thake na chhoto chasir” (Politics decides water price, hence farming is no longer profitable for marginal farmers) in Bengali. In Anandabazar Patrika, Saturday April 20, 2013. Link: http://www.anandabazar.com/archive/1130420/20raj10.html
  13. “Water Politics: Notes from Badrhaman, West Bengal” in Exploring Development. March 15, 2013. Link: http://expldev.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/water-politics-notes-from-bardhaman-west-bengal-suman-nath/

Achievements / Awards

  1. Awarded in “Humanizing Development Global Campaign” by International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) Poverty Practice, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP for photography and description on development issues in 2009. Total awardees 50 globally from over 100 countries. Photo title: “Guaranteed employment”, Issue: NREGA implementation, Link: http://www.ipc-undp.org/photo/
  2. Selected by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), SaciWATERs, Gender Water Alliance (GWA) and Society Of Promoting Participatory Ecosystem’s Management (SOPPECOM) to participate in “Gender, Water and Equity, South Asia Training Programme” from April 27 to May 1, 2009. 20 professionals from South Asia were selected for the fully funded International level workshop on issues of politics, gender and policy related to Water distribution and reform.
  3. Selected by UNDP and Planning Commission of India to participate in the “Young Scholar’s Programme on Human Development” at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research in June 2008. 30 young scholars in the country were chosen for the fully funded National level workshop with a focus on Human Development Index, economic growth, public health, law governance and civil society. Paper presented: A phenomenological needs assessment of terminally ill cancer patients.

Teaching Experience


  1. Working as assistant professor in West Bengal Education Service at Department of Anthropology, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Govt. College, New Town, Kolkata. July 2016 till date
  1. Worked as assistant professor in West Bengal Education Service at the Department of Anthropology, Haldia Government College. Teaching areas: major theories of social anthropology, development issues, planning and administration and research methodologies. Also involved in supervising 15 days of Under Graduate fieldwork each year. Serving as the convener of Sub-Committee academic affairs since 2012. January 2010 to July 2016.

Post Graduate

Delivered courses as Guest Lecturer on contemporary theories of Social sciences, development related issues and research methodologies in Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta, WBSU, Dept of Psychology, KNU (on different occassions)

Research Experiences other than PhD

As Research Fellow at the University of Calcutta

“The Local Representation of ‘Diversity’ and ‘Marginality’: The Cultures and the Cases” in ASIHSS programme (UGC). 1st December to 31st December 2006. The work included fieldwork at different settings within and around Kolkata metropolis and writing and presenting findings.

As Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta

  1. Independent Evaluation of the National Aids Control Programme for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, January – May 2007. The work included assessing projects in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Manipur including studying the role of different NGOs, CBOs and the State AIDS Control/Prevention Societies. Three out of four major aspects of evaluation have been taken: Manpower Staffing, Inter-sectoral linkages and Procurement & Supply chain. Status: report submitted.
  2. Evaluation on Piggery Development Programme in tribal areas of Manipur implemented by Rural People’s Development and Resource Foundation, Ministry of Child and Woman development, Government of India, June to October 2007. The work involved studying the process of implementation of the programme and potential linkages with the market. Assessment of women empowerment in terms of decision making in family and community has been studied in details and suitable recommendations are suggested. Status: report submitted.
  3. Evaluation to examine various issues related to the Gap between irrigation potential created (IPC) and utilised (IPU) and for suggesting measures for reducing the gap for Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India. The work involved ethnography with PRA and participatory approach with irrigating communities in West Bengal and NE states. Assessment social, political, cognitive factors related to the gap and also measurement errors, policy analysis and redefinition of IPC and IPU with preparation of clear roadmap for minimising the gap aiming at a sustainable resource management has been done. From the month of November 2007 to August 2009. See http://wrmin.nic.in/writereaddata/linkimages/IIM_Kolkata1149066777.pdf for a copy of the report submitted in the MoWR website. Status: report submitted.
  4. Impact assessment of National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (NREGS) in Bardhaman District of West Bengal for NREGA cell Bardhaman District, Government of West Bengal. December 2008 to April 2009. The work involved ethnography with the beneficiaries and officials to assess current problems and make suitable recommendation for betterment of the programme. Status: report submitted.
  5. Evaluation on organisation effectiveness of three tier local government for the Government of West Bengal. Work involved ethnography with participatory approach at several villages in eight districts of West Bengal to assess the rural decision making for resource allocation, contemporary policy initiatives and reasons for their failure, village and official politics and policy analysis regarding decentralisation and Panchayat system of the state from a process re-engineering and change management perspective. Formal employment: September 2009 to October 2009. Status: report submitted.
  6. Study on the political economy of cold storages in West Bengal, Research Project, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Started from the month of November 2009. Status: report submitted.

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