Professor Sumeet Mhaskar is Labour Sociologist at the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O. P. Jindal Global University. He also holds Research Partner position at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI-MMG) in Germany. Prof. Mhaskar has previously held positions at the Center for South Asia (Stanford University), Centre for Modern Indian Studies (University of Göttingen), International Centre for Development and Decent Work (Kassel University) and MPI-MMG. He is the recipient of the prestigious postdoctoral research award conferred by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. He has obtained his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Oxford, and M. A. and M.Phil. degrees in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Prof. Mhaskar’s research explores the multifaceted vulnerabilities workers’ experience at the lower end of India’s ‘rising economy’. His research interest in deindustrialisation, joblessness, return migration, role of caste, religion and gender in shaping occupational choices, urban spatial restructuring, and labour and social movements. He is currently finalising his book manuscript on Mumbai's textile mill workers' responses to their job loss following the closure of textile mills. In addition to his work on Mumbai textile mill workers, he is working on projects that looks at (a) the urban experience of the rural labour migrants in Mumbai city, (b) the impact on COVID-19 on the Indian middle-class and their responses to the crisis, (c) COVID-19 and the crisis of “gulf dream” for the Kerala migrant workers, (d) COVID-19 Pandemic and its Influences on the Political and Social Aspects, and the Psychological Perceptions, and (e) the Maratha caste mobilisations for affirmative actions or reservations in employment and higher education in the 21st Century Maharashtra.
Prof. Mhaskar’s writings have been published in peer-reviewed journals, edited books, working papers, newspapers, and magazines. He also runs a digitization centre in Mumbai where old and rare documents on social and political movements are digitised. The initial funding for this project was given by International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam. Currently it is funded by the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen.
Journal Articles: Peer Reviewed
Mhaskar, Sumeet and Rahul Sapkal (2022) Backward or Forward? Examining the Contemporary Status of Marathas. Economic and Political Weekly (Special Article) 57(16): 51-59.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2021). Crisis of Dominance: Understanding the Rural-Urban Roots of Maratha Caste Mobilisation for Reservation. Urbanisation (Indian Institute for Human Settlement) 6(1): 64-81
Tschurenev, Jana and Mhaskar, Sumeet (2021). “Wake up for education”: colonialism, social transformation, and the beginnings of the anti-caste movement in India. Paedagogica Historica International Journal of the History of Education, 1-19.
José J. Pizarro, Mhaskar, Sumeet and 31 authors (2020) Tell me what you are like and I will tell you what you believe in: Social representations of COVID-19 in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Papers on Social Representations (London School of Economics and Political Sciences), Volume X, Issue X, pages X.1-X.38. ISSN 1021-5573
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2018). "Ghettoisation of Economic Choices in a Global City: A Case Study of Mumbai." Economic and Political Weekly (Special Article) 53(29): 29-37.
Mhaskar, Sumeet, and Jana Tschurenev. (2017). “Bildung Und Politische Mobilisierung Im Kolonialen Indien. Die Anti-Kasten-Bewegung in Maharashtra, 1848-1882." Zeitschrift Für Pädagogik 63: 561-81.
Working Papers: Peer Reviewed
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2014). Claiming Entitlements in 'Neo-Liberal' India: Mumbai's Ex-millworkers' Political Mobilisation on the Rehabilitation Question. QEH Working Paper Series, QEHWPS200: Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford, pp.1-24.
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2013). Indian Muslims in a Global City: Socio-Political Effects on Economic Preferences in Contemporary Mumbai. MMG Working Paper 13-04: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, ISSN 2192-2357, pp.1-31
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2014). Locating Caste in a Globalising Indian City: A Study of Dalit Ex-millworkers’ Occupational Choices in Post-Industrial Mumbai. In Mobility or Marginalization? Dalits in Neo-Liberal India ed. Clarinda Still. New Delhi and Abingdon: Routledge, pp.107-132.
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2013). Encountering ‘Inclusion’ and Exclusion in Post-industrial Mumbai: A study of Muslim Ex-millworkers’ Occupational Choices. In Navigating Exclusion, Inclusion Engineering: Entangled Social Processes in India, ed. Uwe Skoda, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Marianne Qvortrup Fibige. London: Anthem Press, pp.149-166. ISBN 9780857283221
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2019). Preface In H. Van Wersch, The 1982-83 Bombay Textile Strike and the Unmaking of a Labourers City. New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, pp. xv – xxxvi.
Mhaskar, Sumeet. (2019). The State of Stigmatised Employment in India: Historical Injustices of Labouring. In D. Dutta (Ed.), Mind The Gap: The State of Employment in India, Oxfam India Inequality Report 2019. New Delhi: Oxfam India, pp. 180 – 199.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2021). Sai Balakrishnan. Shareholder Cities: The Land Transformation Along Urban Corridors in India (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) Pacific Affairs Volume 94 – No. 4.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2021). Sheetal Chhabria Making the Modern Slum. The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay (University of Washington Press, 2019) H-Soz-Kult¸History Department, Humboldt University of Berlin.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2021) Ajantha Subramanian. The Caste of Merit: Engineering Education in India (Harvard University Press, 2019). South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 1-2
Sumeet Mhaskar and Prabodhan Pol, Satyendra More (2021). The Memoirs of a Dalit Communist: The Many Worlds of R.B. More, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal [Online], Book Reviews, Online since 25 March 2021, connection on 01 June 2021. URL:
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2017) Aseem Prakash. Dalit Capital: State Market and Civil Society in Urban India. Journal of South Asian Development, Volume: 12 issue: 2, page(s): 206-209
Short Entries in Edited Books
Mhaskar Sumeet and Prabodhan Pol (2019) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (India 1891-1956). In Barbara Potthast, Katharina Schembs (eds.) Student Protests in the Global South: Annotated sources (1918-2018). Cologne: Global South Studies Center (GSSC), University of Cologne.
Mhaskar Sumeet and Prabodhan Pol (2019) Anti-Reservation Student Protests, University of Delhi (India 1990). In Barbara Potthast, Katharina Schembs (eds.) Student Protests in the Global South: Annotated sources (1918-2018). Cologne: Global South Studies Center (GSSC), University of Cologne.
Mhaskar Sumeet and Prabodhan Pol (2019) Rohith Vemula Suicide Note (India 2016). In Barbara Potthast, Katharina Schembs (eds.) Student Protests in the Global South: Annotated sources (1918-2018). Cologne: Global South Studies Center (GSSC), University of Cologne.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2022) How a Strike 40 Years Ago Dismantled Workers’ Claim Over Mumbai, Hastened its Gentrification. 18th January 2022
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2020) Ambedkar’s fight wasn’t just against caste. Scholars have overlooked his labour activism, The Print, 14 April 2020.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2020) Will the ‘new outsider’ revive nativist politics in Mumbai? The Federal, 16 February 2020.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2019) In Maharashtra, it is time to talk about marginalised workers, Hindustan Times, 9 October.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2018) Kamala Mills & Bawana Fires: When Socio-Economic Status Of Victims Dictates Scale Of Outrage And Action, Outlook Magazine, Web Edition, 21 January
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2018) Violence Against Dalits in Maharashtra Is Not New, but Dalit Reaction to It Is Changing, The Wire, 15 January.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2016) The Roots of the Maratha Unrest Lie in Mumbai’s Changing Political Economy. The Wire, 5 December.
Mhaskar, Sumeet, Gajendran Ayyathurai, Dickens Leonard and Chittibabu Padavala (2016) Göttingen Stands Up For Annihilation Of Caste. Routesblog
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2016) The Slow Genocide of Dalit Minds. The Wire, 21 January 2016.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2015) Dalit Rajakaran ani Samakalin Pravahatun Avaidh Honyachi Bhiti. Anivikshan Traimasik: 6(2), October-December, pp.92-94 (in Marathi).
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2014) No Right Turn, Outlook Magazine, Web Edition, 16 October 2014.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2022). (With Jesus Chairez and Prabodhan Pol) Ambedkar, Labour Leader
Published July 13, 2022. The Nagrik Podcast.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2021). Dalit Rights Matter: The Fight for Equality and the Long Road Ahead. Published February 26. Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast, Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR), University of Cambridge.
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2020). University Politics in India. डॉ। सुमीत म्हस्कर के साथ विश्वविद्यालय की राजनीति. In conversation with Vandit Jain of Lights Camera Azadi. Season 1: Episode 27. Published 27 September 2020. (In Hindi)
Mhaskar, Sumeet (2020). Caste Dismissed: Dalit Schooling in Colonial India. In conversation with Esha Krishnaswamy of Historic.ly. Published 26 July 2020.
Rural-Urban Linkages in a Global City
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar
The “Rural-Urban Linkages in a Global City” that looks into the urban experience of rural labour migrants who enter Mumbai city through well-established and old networks. This research examines those spaces in Mumbai known as Galas ("rooms") that have not only provided an entry point for the rural labour migrants but also played an important role in shaping their urban experience - social, political, economic, cultural and spatial. What factors shape the urban experience of present-day rural labour migrants in a rapidly transforming Mumbai city? Despite the closure of the textiles and other manufacturing industries Galas have continued to remain an important point of entry for the present generation rural labour migrants. The particular focus on rural labour migrants who inhabit the spaces once occupied by the textile millworkers will shed light on relations between restructured capital and migrant labour, and the kind of political, social and cultural experience the present generation rural labour migrants undergo in comparison to the previous generation. In addition to the Galas the project also explores the rural landscape which is the point of departure for the rural labour migrants. (N=1033)
The Indian Middle Class and COVID-19
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar
This research explores varied dimensions of middle-class livelihood in the context of changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like members of each class, the middle classes too were confronted with the dramatic changes that came about due to the COVID-19. In most cases, the middle class had to ‘work from home’, which involved changes in the home environment. There have been cases whereby the middle classes were faced with stoppage of income due to job loss or temporary suspension of salaries. The loss of income resulted in distress selling of apartments in several cities. In several cases, the absence of domestic help, especially during the lockdown, meant that the middle-classes had to take up those domestic work in addition to their office work. Those with children had to spend time and resources in online schooling. Given this situation, how did the Indian middle class respond to the COVID-19? (N= 538)
The Crisis of Transnational Indian Migrants Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: A Study of Kerala Migrant Workers in Gulf Region
Investigators: Prof. Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar and Prof. Dr. Jayaseelan Raj
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the transnational migrants in the Gulf countries to the uncertainties of transnational labour regimes. In the absence of social safety nets, the pandemic ushered in wide-ranging changes for Indian migrant workers in the Gulf. These included suspensions from work, delays and denial of wage arrears, and forced unpaid leave. This job market transformation had long term implications for the Kerala migrants as it not only forced them to return to their places of origin, but it produced the crisis of “Gulf Dream”. This project examines the implications of labour market transformations for the Kerala migrants who continued to work in Gulf. It also looks at the migrants who are stuck in Kerala due to COVID-19 restrictions.
COVID-19 Pandemic and its Influences on the Political and Social Aspects, and the Psychological Perceptions.
Investigators: Dr. Jose J. Pizzaro (University of the Basque Country, Spain), Dr. Huseyin Cakal (Keele University, United Kingdom) and Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar (O. P. Jindal Global University, India) and 23 project partners.
The research project explores how and to what extent the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic influences the political and social aspects, and the psychological perceptions of people in different societies. The data for this project was gathered between May 2020-June 2020 in 21 geographical zones from 17 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia (N = 4430).
Claiming Backwardness: Exploring the Maratha Caste Question in 21st Century Maharashtra.
Investigators: Prof. Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar (O. P. Jindal Global University, India) and Dr. Rahul Sapkal (Ashank Desai Centre for Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay), Dr. Prabodhan Pol (Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal University).
During the last two decades India has witnessed mobilisations by the socially and economically dominant castes for affirmative action or reservation in employment and higher education. This study examines the Maratha mobilisation mobilisations in western India for reservation. It explores the social, economic and political factors underlying these mobilisations.
Labouring in the formal and informal economy, migration, discrimination and exclusion at workplaces, urban transformation and social and political movements, Indian politics, and educational and occupational attainment.