Prof Sudha Pai is a well-known political scientist, author and columnist. She retired as Professor of Political Science at the Centre for Political Studies and as Rector (Pro-Vice Chancellor) of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in January 2016. Pai holds a PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and has over 35 years of teaching and research experience at Gargi College, Delhi University and at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She joined the Jawaharlal Nehru University as Assistant Professor at the Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences in 1980. At the Centre she has taught Courses and guided research in the field of Indian Politics and Comparative Politics. Her research interests include Dalit Politics, State Politics in India, Agrarian Politics, Globalization and Legislative Governance. Pai has students who hold faculty positions in many reputed Universities, the Civil Services, Journalism and NGOs.
Pai has been member of many projects including SIDA and UNIRISD and was Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti, New Delhi from 2006 to 2009 where she completed a book project Developmental State and the Dalit Question: Congress Response. Pai has been member of many academic boards, including currently the Advisory Committee of the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Mohali, part of ISB Hyderabad. Widely travelled, she has organized and attended various National and International Seminars and Conferences. Well known for research on various aspects of Indian Politics, particularly on the state of Uttar Pradesh, she has authored a number of books and papers in reputed national and international journals. Her latest book Everyday Communalism: Riots in Contemporary Uttar Pradesh (co-authored with Sajjan Kumar) has been described as an insightful study on communalism today, ethnographically rich and which unfolds the process of everyday communalism in the context of the present political economy. She is also well known for her articles in leading national newspapers such as The Indian Express, The Economic Times and websites such as thewire.in. on contemporary politics and public policy.