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.

Playing the Baloch card
Thu, Aug 18, 2016

The truth in India’s new position is this: We have acknowledged that India, Pakistan are deeply hyphenated.

GST: A constitutional adventure
Sat, Aug 06, 2016

Institutionalisation of the GST regime has more than a touch of romance; it is also practically wise

The limits of vengeance
Sat, Jul 30, 2016

Anti-corruption movement produced political churning, but left institutional issues unaddressed.

Paradox of change
Sat, Jul 23, 2016

Gujarat unrest and misogyny against Mayawati show while Dalit lives have improved, conflict has increased

Terror and powerlessness
Sat, Jul 16, 2016

Will attacks, like the one in Nice, ultimately bridge serious differences between great powers?

After Burhan Wani’s killing, an illusion is shattered in Kashmir
Thu, Jul 21, 2016

How does one address words to Kashmir? What do you say in a political context where all texts are sub texts, all ends dead ends?

PM Narendra Modi’s new team shows his capacity to think politically, keep an eye on the future
Thu, Jul 07, 2016

An attribute of this cabinet reshuffle is the recognition that politics is, first and foremost, about social mediation

The great delusion
Wed, Jun 29, 2016

India’s claim is not in doubt, but its NSG bid shows machismo more than maturity.

Brexit is a revolt of a significant section of England against itself
Sat, Jun 25, 2016

With Britain voting to leave the European Union, we are now entering a brave new world

The dead ends of Uttar Pradesh
Thu, Jun 23, 2016

One way of skirting them in the next polls is to bring trifurcation of the state on to the political agenda.

Intolerant liberals?
Tue, Jun 14, 2016

Liberalism needs to recover the noble lie that ideas are not politics by other means.

Pretext, Text, Context
Sat, Jun 11, 2016

Islam is best explained by investigating its contradictions, instead of wishing them away

A Rajan a day
Tue, May 31, 2016

When government creates a credibility crisis for itself, premium on anyone who looks half-credible goes up.

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.