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.
A strong leader’s capacity to tolerate dissent is more crucial than his beliefs.
Is there something about our politics that makes great ministers hard to find?
AAP doesn’t recognise how much absence of predictability and order also hurts the poor.
Courts, publishers, educators and professional offence mongers are to blame.
His death reminds us of the transitions the Indian project still needs to make.
Focusing all our attention on the state, we miss our own deeper failings of social trust.
We need to ask why courts efforts to clean up are not bringing clarity,accountability.
Rahul, Modi, Kejriwal are yet to show commitment on institutional regeneration.
The story of the relationship between state and private enterprise needs a rewrite.
There is no passion for growth,and no one is taking up the cudgels on its behalf.
The Ugly Indian and the Ugly American have rediscovered each other.
A new democratic experimentalism is in the air.
By upholding Section 377,the court has undermined constitutional values.
The Congress is identified with a tottering,corrupt and incompetent old order.
Elites assert innocence not by being exemplary,but by being shrill.
What India can learn from the debate on secular stagnation in the West.
Evasion or silence cannot be a response to the surveillance controversy.
Indias high decibel politics misses a serious engagement with the future.
The perils of a bureaucratic and legal imagination that disdains politics.
The South Asia project founders because we dont have the imagination for it.
A new party is beginning to open up new spaces of conversation
UPA didnt make a nuanced case for contesting the judgment on convicted MPs.
Our institutions have lost the credibility to project the truth.
Muzaffarnagar challenges ingrained assumptions on secularism and diversity.
Anti-superstition laws enshrine paternalism,diminish the moral importance of the harm committed and make citizens less responsible.
Congress has a story around the welfare state. Whats BJPs response?
Institutional disrepair lies at the heart of the economic breakdown.
The deeper premises that led to Partition still shape politics in South Asia
The rot in our institutions stems from individual insecurities
Debates over appointment of India's RBI governor and US Fed chairman are revealing