Shaunaka Rishi Das (born 18 February 1961 as Timothy Kiernan) is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS), a position he has held since the Centre’s foundation in 1997. He is a Hindu cleric, a lecturer, a broadcaster, and Hindu Chaplain to Oxford University. His interests include education, comparative theology, communication, and leadership. He is a member of The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, convened in 2013 by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. In 2013 the Indian government appointed him to sit on the International Advisory Council of the Auroville Foundation. Keshava, Rishi Das’s wife of 27 years, died in December 2013.
As Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies he maintains the vision and ethos of the OCHS and encourages the Centre’s continued growth and development in all spheres. In this role he oversaw the formal recognition of the OCHS by Oxford University in 2006, and developed the Centre’s publishing partnerships with Oxford University Press, Journal of Hindu Studies, and with the Routledge Hindu Studies Series. He has also been responsible for forging formal relationships between the OCHS and Universities in the USA, Europe, India, and China. He is the first Hindu Chaplain to Oxford University in its 800-year history.
He is a regular broadcaster, making the Hindu contribution to ‘Prayer for the Day’ on BBC Radio 4 since 2007. He was also a participant in the popular History of the World in 100 Objects series broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and published by Allen Lane. He has acted as a consultant for a number of documentaries on Hindu culture and traditions. He has written articles for The Guardian and The Independent newspapers, Business India, and has written the Hindu entry for the Annual Register since 2004.