Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is President, Centre Policy Research, New Delhi, one of India's top think tanks. Before he started engaging with contemporary affairs, he taught political theory at Harvard, and briefly at JNU.  He has written extensively on intellectual history, political theory, law,  India's social transformation and world affairs. He is the recipient of the Infosys Prize, the Adisheshiah Prize and the Amartya Sen Prize.  He has been singularly blessed with wonderful colleagues and is grateful that all the institutions he has been associated with, value their independence fiercely. He misses having students, since nothing better expresses the idea of a good life than a good seminar.   He believes the purpose of writing is to provoke thinking not to provide instruction.  Although politics and the contemporary world excites him, the high point of the day for him  remains "retiring with the ancients," to use Machiavelli's phrase.  There is nothing like retiring with old books, that have more of the world in them than we often recognize.

Contradictions in the Modi government are still muddying its identity
Thu, May 26, 2016

Modi government’s backward-looking instincts keep pulling down its forward-looking mission.

A BJP-dominant system
Fri, May 20, 2016

Now in power in states like J&K and Assam, the BJP will be on test for its nation-building capacity

Supreme Court’s judgment on criminal defamation is the latest illustration of a syndrome
Wed, May 18, 2016

Our punitive impulses are an expression of deep institutional failure.

Congress after Uttarakhand
Thu, May 12, 2016

The lesson should not be to exult in a moral high ground, but to realise that the party is still tottering.

Game of visas
Sat, Apr 30, 2016

India comes across as trying to compete with China by being China. It’s not a winning strategy.

After Mandal
Sat, Apr 23, 2016

A new alignment of incentives and unrest is emerging . It could make reservations an important political axis

Revolutionary Road
Sat, Apr 16, 2016

The role of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army in the mainstream national movement and how their moral compass was rooted in non-violence.

Circus and bread
Fri, Apr 15, 2016

On IPL, to accuse the court of a politics of distraction is to miss the point.

The Panama portent
Fri, Apr 08, 2016

Angry populism against corrupt elites could grow. But in India, reaction will be muted.

The American hug
Sat, Apr 02, 2016

Fundamental military alignments with US, taking place without open debate, may foreclose India’s options.

Privacy after Aadhaar
Sat, Mar 26, 2016

If this bill with far-reaching implications for rights, accountability and the powers of the state is a money bill, then practically any legislation can be converted into a money bill.

Globalisation in question
Sat, Mar 19, 2016

It was undergirded by a set of meta-assumptions, all of which are now being contested.

Budget 2016: The triumph of centrism
Tue, Mar 01, 2016

Budget confuses government’s rabid rightwing supporters more than it annoys its opponents.

The rise of the angry national
Sun, Feb 28, 2016

Rather than being threatened by currents of world history, India can take any current of thought and make it its own, but in a way that exudes that ineffable sense of being shaped by India.

An act of tyranny: ‘Modi govt threatened democracy; that is the most anti-national of all acts’
Tue, Feb 16, 2016

Nothing that JNU students did poses nearly as much of a threat to India as government's subversion of freedom

Discrimination dialogue
Wed, Feb 10, 2016

A starting point could be the doing away of the myth that modernity alone will deal with caste

Book review: Stranger Anxiety
Sat, Feb 06, 2016

Is assimilating the other as xenophobic as excluding him? Tabish Khair explores the link between xenophobia and capitalism in this new book.

Reading Rohith
Sat, Jan 23, 2016

One can only meditate on the deep truth of his letter, its yearning for a space beyond power and rancour

Religious quagmires
Sat, Jan 16, 2016

Can elements of a secular morality be enforced in ways that don’t reinforce a sense of state arbitrariness?

A journey to the essence
Mon, Jan 11, 2016

We need to engage with Abhinavagupta to find a language in which to articulate our experience.

The recovery of idealism
Fri, Jan 01, 2016

It cannot happen where language is corroded, resentment is paramount. In 2016, let’s reset ourselves.

Turning Back the Page: The stand-out books of the year 2015
Sat, Dec 26, 2015

From a history of Rome to a monograph on Ashoka and a masterful biography of Edmund Burke, the stand-out books of the year examined the intersection of morality and politics.

Upside down state
Fri, Dec 25, 2015

We seem happy to hollow out the public sector where we shouldn’t and regulate the private in harmful ways.

The coming storm
Sat, Dec 19, 2015

Political, economic and institutional dysfunction threatens to cloud India’s prospects

Book review – Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist
Fri, Dec 11, 2015

The first volume of Niall Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger would have served its subject better if he had submitted him to a Kissingerian analysis.

Kathmandu nights
Tue, Dec 08, 2015

Constitutional settlements require a measure of statesmanship and generosity missing in Nepal today.

Why every patriot should be worried, and, yes, ashamed
Fri, Nov 27, 2015

True patriotism requires you to be able to say that I am ashamed of my country in certain respects.

Europe’s challenge
Wed, Nov 18, 2015

It is to keep the European project alive — and to find a political solution to the quagmire in West Asia.

A vote against hubris
Mon, Nov 09, 2015

Bihar has been transformed from the graveyard of revolutions to a source of new hope.

Intolerance protest: It doesn’t take an iota of intelligence to indict Congress on charges of hypocrisy
Thu, Nov 05, 2015

The Congress is as afraid of coming clean as the BJP is quick to exploit ambiguities on the issue.

A lesser evil: Collegium has grave deficiencies, but it compromises structural independence of judiciary less
Sat, Oct 17, 2015

The judiciary came to the conclusion that the NJAC, as currently constituted, would be a threat to judicial independence. It is hard to disagree.

Shiv Sena wants to openly acknowledge that criminality and democracy have been fused
Wed, Oct 14, 2015

Shiv Sena’s real threat is this: It can shift markers of language and public norms.

As India stays away
Fri, Oct 09, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has implications for India’s integration with the world economy.

Dadri reminds us how PM Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the poison that is being spread
Sat, Oct 03, 2015

Mohammad Akhlaq’s death is a tragedy. It exemplified the depths of the barbarity that lurks behind the veneer of our civilisation.

In thrall to the past
Fri, Dec 25, 2015

Nepal’s constitution inaugurates the new, but it protects too much of the old.

A book on how Gita Press became a success in redirecting Hinduism
Sat, Sep 19, 2015

The book is full of incidental insights across a range of subjects: the Hindi public sphere, the economics of publishing, labour relations within the press, new art forms.