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.

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
Tue, Sep 29, 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.

Mumbai meat ban: ‘Get off the ban-wagon’
Sun, Sep 13, 2015

Meat bans violate fundamental liberties, erode state’s secular character, harm the cause of vegetarianism.

The good word
Tue, Sep 01, 2015

Use of ‘development’ as a catch-all represents a shrinking of the imagination.

Death and the sovereign
Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Santhara judgment is court’s bid to colonise ways in which death can be interpreted and life given meaning.

PM Narendra Modi has gone from bully pulpit to counsel for defence
Sun, Aug 16, 2015

An Independence Day Speech is not a Report Card on Government; it is as, the Prime Minister put it, “a dawn of new dreams, and new resolve.” Nevertheless even dreams and resolve need to be credible.

Independence ennui
Sat, Aug 15, 2015

Instead of matching idea with idea, leadership with leadership, political adversaries match sin for sin.

Loud but silent: Modi’s actions are opposite to the mythology surrounding him
Fri, Aug 07, 2015

All indications are, India is fated to deal with another missing prime minister.

Yakub Memon’s ghost
Fri, Jul 31, 2015

Aftermath of his hanging puts at risk presumptive legitimacy of institutions that mediate social division.

Return of the pantomime
Sat, Jul 25, 2015

There is mutual accusation. And no hope of cleansing the system.

Nalanda is a syndrome
Tue, Jul 14, 2015

The rot in higher education set in long ago. Its politics transcends particular governments.

The drummer’s silence
Fri, Jul 03, 2015

Modi must heed the warning signs of his government’s diminishing credibility.

All of Indira’s Men and Women
Sat, Jun 27, 2015

A chilling account of how they ganged up to take democracy away from India.

Many little Emergencies
Mon, Jul 20, 2015

We now have a crackdown we don’t see. It’s less ominous, but equally insidious.

Lalit Modi row: PM Narendra Modi should speak up
Sat, Jun 20, 2015

A government is always one scandal away from losing political control. Narendra Modi should speak up.

At risk, in Delhi
Tue, Jun 16, 2015

AAP’s diminishing credibility undermines its promise to transform. BJP’s premature panic casts a shadow

Army’s Myanmar strike: Governments don’t sing about covert operations
Fri, Jun 12, 2015

Governments don’t sing about covert operations. Our strategic communication needs a lot more maturity.

Book Review: Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire
Sat, Jun 06, 2015

With the end of the Mughal Empire and the rise of British power, the 19th century Muslim intellectual had to reimagine his politics.

Higher abdication
Tue, Jun 02, 2015

IIT Madras episode shows up an academic leadership that signed the government’s dotted line.

K C Sivaramakrishnan: God’s own civil servant
Fri, May 29, 2015

KCS was the kind of bureaucrat, scholar who is indispensable to modern India’s foundations.

The elusive Modi
Tue, May 26, 2015

It is hard to take his measure. All the contradictions of India play out in his persona.

Work fatigue
Sat, May 23, 2015

The professions that defined middle class aspiration are now sites of a deepening discontent.

Whom do you trust?
Fri, Oct 16, 2015

Judiciary or the executive — that’s the key question. Perhaps the NJAC’s compositon, rules need tweaking.

Reactions to Salman Khan verdict: That ‘eat cake’ moment
Tue, May 12, 2015

Reactions to Salman Khan’s conviction reveal an elite that would literally bulldoze everything in its path.

On shakier ground
Sat, May 02, 2015

Modi government is caught in traps, some structural, some of its own making.

For Better or For Worse
Sat, Apr 25, 2015

A survey of our attitude to violence, and the far-reaching changes in the way in which its legitimacy is understood.

The new progressive
Wed, Apr 22, 2015

CPM must overcome defeatism, refresh itself to dominate debate.

How we failed Ambedkar
Wed, Apr 15, 2015

Facing up to him means confronting questions of our own complicity and guilt.