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.
How Nitish, Rahul and Modi have overplayed their hand
The universe of ideas that once formed JNU is laid out in this new history.
Now he must outmanoeuvre the politics of resentment and zealotry in his parivar.
Delhi, BJP looked old. AAP wears imprimatur of a new revolution.
The depth, texture and brilliance of Dhulipala’s argument are hard to convey in a short review.
Secularism is buffeted by domestic political dynamics as well as global currents.
Why smart capitalists should demand an inheritance tax.
A challenger in Delhi could pierce the complacency at the Centre.
Every response to the attack on ‘Charlie Hebdo’ seems to feed the perpetrators’ intent.
Five key transitions the Modi government needs to make
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam was philosophically acute, but politically deeply problematic.
He would agree: Christmas mustn’t be encumbered by ‘Good Governance Day’ hubris.
The spectre of silence looms large over Pranab Mukherjee’s narrative on the events of the tumultuous Seventies.
Fighting the Taliban will be a long haul. Better relations with India will make it easier
In six months of NDA, the bad fight scenes are piling up.
My tragedy is I have to fear my supporters more than my attackers.
Fukuyama is as erudite as ever, but his catchall analysis does not add to the literature of political sociology
Second-generation reforms are far away. First recognise the extent of regulatory rot.
At Kathmandu, Modi could seize the chance, sketch a new regional imagination.
There is nothing more than bad faith in the Left and Congress’s crocodile tears over the decimation of higher education.
How a charismatic leader was undone by the smaller mistakes.
Left is flailing. But India’s right also substitutes abstract logic for historical judgement.
Will the BJP’s dominance rework federal equations?
He honed in on the yearning to defeat defeatism. How do you lock horns with that?
Our fascination with surveillance-based discipline stems from a culture of control.
Modi intuits link between communication and change. There’s no other game in town.
Katherine Armstrong's Fields of Blood charts the complicated relationship between religion and violence across a wide arc of history.
Supreme Court itself has muddied constitutional interpretation beyond recognition.
The US and China are isolated in their own ways.
A potent mix of nostalgia and unresolved hurt has come to drive world politics.
Recent economic logjam underlines need to remake the state for the 21st century.
The clear message was that our big problems are not market failure or state failure, but social failure.
Because this government’s actions are brewing potential education sector troubles
Gaza’s tragedy: All sides have given up on problem, are only trying to win argument.
Government has quickly descended into a mix of trifles, alibis and risk averseness.
Judicial appointments row, stoked by Katju revelations, is not about reform.