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.
The professions that defined middle class aspiration are now sites of a deepening discontent.
Judiciary or the executive — that’s the key question. Perhaps the NJAC’s compositon, rules need tweaking.
Reactions to Salman Khan’s conviction reveal an elite that would literally bulldoze everything in its path.
Modi government is caught in traps, some structural, some of its own making.
A survey of our attitude to violence, and the far-reaching changes in the way in which its legitimacy is understood.
CPM must overcome defeatism, refresh itself to dominate debate.
Facing up to him means confronting questions of our own complicity and guilt.
Even those who rush to indict terrorism at every turn seem to treat this incident with nonchalant indifference.
Cleverly, ruthlessly, Lee Kuan Yew ensured Singapore punched above its weight.
SC judgment points to new social justice frameworks struggling to take shape.
NDA’s casual amendments do not address core issue of consent in land acquisition.
With the budget, BJP-PDP alliance, Modi may be charting a new course.
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?