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.

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.

The coming storm
Sat, Dec 19, 2015

Political, economic and institutional dysfunction threatens to cloud India’s prospects

Book review – Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist
Fri, Dec 11, 2015

The first volume of Niall Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger would have served its subject better if he had submitted him to a Kissingerian analysis.

Kathmandu nights
Tue, Dec 08, 2015

Constitutional settlements require a measure of statesmanship and generosity missing in Nepal today.

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
Fri, Dec 25, 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.