Dr. Suraj Yengde is one of India’s leading scholars and public intellectuals. Named as one of the "25 Most Influential Young Indian" by GQ magazine and the "Most influentual Young Dalit" by Zee, Suraj is an author of the bestseller Caste Matters and co-editor of award winning anthology The Radical in Ambedkar. Caste Matters was recently featured in the prestigious "Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade" list by The Hindu.
Suraj is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He holds a research associate position with the department of African and African American Studies, a non-resident fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and is part of the founding team of Initiative for Institutional Anti-Racism and Accountability (IARA) at Harvard University. He has studied in four continents (Asia, Africa, Europe, North America), and is India’s first Dalit Ph.D. holder from an African university (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg). He is an International Human Rights attorney by qualification from India and the UK.
Suraj has published in multiple languages in the field of caste, race, ethnicity studies, and inter-regional labor migration in the global south. Currently, he is involved in developing a critical theory of Dalit and Black Studies.
Suraj has been nominated for India's highest literary award "Sahitya Akademi" and is a recipient of the "Dr. Ambedkar Social Justice Award" (Canada, 2019) and the "Rohit Vemula Memorial Scholar Award" (2018).
Suraj was recently featured on the BBC World Service, and WGBH Boston's multi-part series on Caste in America sponsored by the Pulitzer Center. Suraj inaugurated a popular column called 'Dalitality' at the Indian Express and is currently the only column in print media to have Dalit centric opinions.
Suraj's cover story for the Caravan magazine explores the important question of 'Race, Caste and what it will take to make Dalit Lives Matter?' It is the first extensive treatment of the Dalit-Black question.
Suraj is a transnational Dalit rights activists involved in building solidarities between Dalit, Black, Roma, Indigenous, Buraku and Refugee people’s in the Fourth World project of marginalized peoples.
His recent work with the philosopher Cornel West has received global attention and calls for unity between African Americans and Dalits.
His writings have appeared in Al Jazeera, BBC, The Caravan, LiveMint, The Sunday World, TheWire.in, Scroll, Mail & Guardian Africa, Saturday Star, Open Democracy and is a syndicated columnist at The Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Huffington Post, The Print, The Citizen, Globe & Post, The Mexican Times, The Conversation, among others. He is frequently invited by the media and corporations to offer expert advice on the issues of caste, migration, race relations and international law. Economic Times did a feature on him on the ocassion of Independence Day.
Suraj has worked with leading international organizations in Geneva, London, and New York. Suraj is also an activist in the transnational movement of Dalit rights. He is a co-convener of Dalit-Black Lives Matter symposium and the Dalit and Black Power Movement. He runs a monthly Ambedkar Lecture Series at Harvard. He is an associate editor of Southern Journal of Contemporary History.
Suraj offers consultations to the government and non-governmental policy-making bodies on the issues of human rights, social justice, cross-border migration and organizational strategies for campaigns and advocacy.
Suraj has delivered over 300 lectures, keynotes at international academic conferences and seminars across the world on the issues of casteism, racism, institutionalized discrimination, diversity and inclusion.
He is a convenor of convenor of the Dalit Film Festival and India for Diversity movement.
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photo credit: Meredith Nierman