About the Project

The sociology of India’s political class has traditionally been dominated by qualitative methods, notably an ethnographic approach to the study of elected representatives and political leaders, at the local, regional and national levels. This is partly an outcome of the qualitative bend of social sciences in India, but also a consequence of the lack of usable public data on the profile of elected representatives.

This project proposes to fill the empirical void of the study of India’s political class by creating a unique open source dataset of elected representatives, both at the national and at the regional level.

Repositories do exist, published in the form of Who’s Who by the Parliament and regional assemblies. But these exist mostly in print and are usually available only in vernacular languages. There are also various selective datasets, on specific segments of the political class, such as women parliamentarians (Dutoya) or Muslim elected representatives (SOURCE). Various scholars in the United States have attempted to build comprehensive datasets but their efforts were always limited in scope and in time. Most of that data lies unused, behind proprietary barriers, such as the dataset constituted at the University of Michigan in the 1960s.

Individual scholars have also compiled information on the social profile of elected representatives but their efforts did not go beyond the publication of their thesis (Mayer), articles (Blair) or books (Frankel and Rao). As a result, there are no existing comprehensive dataset profiling India’s elected representatives, both at the national and regional levels.