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.

Do we have justiciable evidence against CJI Dipak Misra?
Mon, Jan 15, 2018

The charge against Chief Justice Dipak Misra is serious. But do we have justiciable evidence?

A return to reality
Mon, Jan 01, 2018

Let’s reclaim a realism about nature and self that our frenzied pursuit of enmities and ends is obscuring.

Intellectual Order in a Chaotic World
Sat, Dec 30, 2017

Reading philosophy, history and violence in 2017

Institutions after 2G: The many losers after the judgment
Sat, Dec 23, 2017

Verdict is a reminder that state incapacity may be a bigger issue than active political malfeasance

Why the Indian democracy is poised at a moment fraught with danger
Tue, Dec 19, 2017

If democracy is more secure with an effective opposition, BJP victory sends sobering signals

Power and insecurity
Wed, Dec 13, 2017

PM’s Gujarat campaign shows the politics of hope has been replaced entirely by the politics of fear

That fateful day
Thu, Dec 07, 2017

Events of December 6, 1992 assaulted both secularism and Hinduism. Consequences are still to play out fully

Pakistan’s original sin
Fri, Dec 01, 2017

It is its treatment of Ahmadis. It needs to overcome that anxiety to liberate itself on several fronts

The republic of cowardice
Thu, Nov 23, 2017

Fragility of community identities spawns politics of intolerance. No one stands up for freedom

Poet of luminous silences
Sat, Nov 18, 2017

Kunwar Narain’s passing is also the loss of a whole literary world. He was of a generation of Hindi writers that confidently understood that in genuine culture and thinking there cannot be any boundaries.

Supreme Court, diminished
Tue, Nov 14, 2017

The judiciary has created a crisis of institutional credibility for itself

Revolution that wasn’t
Wed, Nov 08, 2017

Demonetisation was part of a political imagination that is closer to a technocratic authoritarianism.

From Lenin to Xi Jinping
Thu, Nov 02, 2017

How the Chinese Communist Party has buried the revolutionary spirit of 1917

A Tryst with Fury
Sat, Oct 28, 2017

In the shadow of the modern myth of non-violence lies an ancient and ruthless tradition

Bowing to necessity
Thu, Oct 26, 2017

The bank recapitalisation scheme reflects government’s failure to transform state-capital relations

The new Asian game
Sat, Oct 21, 2017

An authoritarian, assertive China is a challenge for India. But it is premature to conclude that US will be its saviour

Lingayat leap of faith
Tue, Oct 03, 2017

Their demand for minority status is also a move to construct identities more constricted and rigid

Like the Surface of the Sea
Sat, Sep 23, 2017

When borders become moral rights and the accident of citizenship eats into claims of humanity

A few sacks of rice
Sat, Sep 23, 2017

That’s what the government’s policy towards the Rohingya boils down to — imprudent, myopic, untenable

Inglorious uncertainty
Thu, Sep 14, 2017

Government is getting a free pass on the economy, which remains vulnerable to voodoo interventions

Skimming the shallows
Tue, Aug 29, 2017

Jaggi Vasudev’s ‘consciousness talk’ shows little understanding of the function of morality

Small step, no giant leap
Wed, Aug 23, 2017

SC invalidated triple talaq, but majority did not uphold constitutional values over religious belief and practice

The too late nation
Tue, Aug 15, 2017

Question after Gorakhpur: Is India at 70 too late to recover its own humanity?

Reading Freedom
Sun, Aug 13, 2017

Tryst with who? What sort of destiny? Seventy years after Independence, the peculiar dignity and anxiety that freedom bestows on us allows us to make or unmake ourselves.

Beyond Jamia
Tue, Aug 08, 2017

Let’s ask: Under what conditions, which educational institutions need special protection, for what purposes?

Old ways die hard
Fri, Jul 28, 2017

Nitish Kumar’s shifting sides holds a lesson for the Opposition — politics as usual will not help counter BJP. The larger message for national politics is the opposition to the BJP cannot be built with the rotten materials of the old order.

Dancing on the edge
Wed, Jul 26, 2017

India’s internal situation, from Gorkhaland to Kashmir, has become more fragile than it has been in a decade. The Chinese might think it is easier to put an Indian government on the back foot, and in part that seems to be the intention. India has to find that sweet spot where it can signal that it cannot be pushed around easily.

The untimely dissident
Sat, Jul 15, 2017

Liu Xiaobo showed that a politics that rises above resentment, that is without enemies, is possible

The fires of Bengal
Sat, Jul 08, 2017

But it will take an act of imaginative statesmanship to make sure that the fires of Baduria and Basirhat do not become the inferno of Bengal.

May the silent be damned
Tue, Jun 27, 2017

A big riot would concentrate the mind, make a damning headline. A protracted riot in slow motion, individual victims across different states, simply makes this appear another daily routine. This makes opposing it harder; it makes holding onto the outrage nearly impossible.

Enlarge the frame
Fri, Jun 23, 2017

India needs to be more liberal and internationalist, and worry less about what the US president thinks of it

The power paradox
Wed, Jun 14, 2017

In trying to establish its political dominance, the BJP is unable to manage multiple expectations

Presstitute chronicles
Wed, Jun 07, 2017

CBI raids on NDTV are a bigger, more worrying story than just one media house coming under fire

The march to spectacle
Mon, May 29, 2017

Army faces a tough mob in front of it. But it has more to fear from the mob behind it, egging it on

The Mind of the Saints: Speculations around Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Ramana Maharishi
Sat, May 27, 2017

Arun Shourie’s remarkable book on the neurological and the mystical is subversive — and an act of tough love.

On triple talaq, court must say: Religious practice cannot trump modern constitutional morality
Thu, May 18, 2017

Underlying the “triple talaq” questions are deeper issues about the nature of constitutional law in India.