I served as Professor and Regional Director of Council for Social Development, Southern Regional Centre, Hyderabad, India from March 2011 to March 2021. During my term in CSD, I introduced the doctoral programme in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad and Mumbai in 2012, initiated 3 Working Paper series -- Hyderabad Social Development Papers; Interdisciplinary Law and Critical Development Studies and led several multi-state/national studies on socio-economic and educational status of vulnerable communities, directly focussed on policy change. The Telangana Social Development Report introduced in 2017, and published periodically is an effort conceptualised and led by me till 2020.
Apart from institutionalising the annual institutional grant-in-aid from the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 2011 and the Government of Telangana in 2015, I successfully secured a major Ford Foundation grant for research and advocacy in the area of Adivasi Rights in 2012, that saw CSD taking major initiatives in the area of socio-legal research, strategic litigation and legal training in the field of adivasi/indigenous rights making CSD-SRC the first social science institute to engage intensively with law and legal research. Between 2011 and 2021, I have focused in terms of pedagogy on working with young researchers on honing writing skills through writing workshops, and on training lawyers from vulnerable communities, especially adivasi communities in developing lawyering skills and courtcraft to enable self-representation.
Refresher Courses for Lawyers from Adivasi/Indigenous Communities, 2012-2017
In 2012, twenty-two lawyers and two law students – all Adivasis from different indigenous tribes in Andhra Pradesh — joined a capacity-building program at CSD that evolved into a 5-year mentorship program with monthly reviews of cases, difficulties and learnings. This was organized in five phases, of which in the first four phases they were supported with modest fellowships that helped sustain their work in legal practice, without looking for other part-time employment. By the fifth phase, they have moved to complete self-reliance:
In 2022, this cohort of lawyers set up an Adivasi Advocates Association at the state level. The core principle behind the conceptualization of this programme in 2012 was the idea of self-representation.