Prof. Thorat is a Professor in Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Research, both in New Delhi, India.
Prof. Thorat has received awards for Public Service for Marginalized groups, Minorities and Education: 1) Padmashree Award; 2) Mother Teresa International Award; 3) Dr. Ambedakar Chetna Award; 4) Bharat Shiromani Award; 5) Purushottam Award; and 6) Vidyalankara Award.
Prof. Thorat has done extensive research, published about 20 books and more than 100 papers. The research focused on problems of excluded groups, socially Inclusive growth, poverty, agricultural growth in dry agriculture, caste and economic discrimination, labour market discrimination, impact of economic discrimination on the poverty and marginalization, economic ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar, and higher education.
Prof Thorat was involved in the civil rights movement against untouchability and caste discrimination and struggled to get entry to village temple and well in early 1960’s. He was the member of “Equality Group” that worked in the villages. In the Collage and in Jawaharlal Nehru University (1964-1980), he was involved in addressing the issues of dalits, nomadic tribes and de-notified tribes. He works continuously for the cause of dalits and marginalized groups through writings, lectures and helping several dalits and other organizations. He supported MPs particularly from Dalits in their work in the Parliament and also SC/ST parliamentary Forum on several issues. He also founded the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies. As Chairman of the University Grants Commission, he assisted the government in higher education, particularly the UPA and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in their initiatives to take the higher education ahead.
Prof. Thorat rose from a situation of poverty, discrimination, and miseries in a small village through constant struggle and with a sense of dedication used his writings and social actions for the last 40 years for positive change for the cause of deprived sections in Indian society.