Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is vice-chancellor of Ashoka University. He was earlier 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.

Articles By Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The biggest casualty in the Alok Verma affair has been the SC’s authority

The Supreme Court has, in this entire Alok Verma episode, returned one of its most cringe-worthy performances in recent memory.

The reservation jumla

Quota for upper caste poor is cynical politics, and cynical policy. Since we cannot create enough jobs, the token signal that the poor from the upper castes can be symbolically represented in the state is all that we can now offer. This is in a context where public sector jobs are scarce.

The state in contention

As global circumstances change, the role of the state will have to come again into contention. The nature of this debate will be very different from 1991, even though our intellectual habits are still framed by that episode.

Which cat will catch mice?

Forty years after China’s economic transformation began, that’s the question. China has had its share of elite conflict, violence, even mass protest, but it has not quite rocked the structure of power in decisive ways.

Hope and Humility

The elections have tamed the hubris of political powers-that-be. But they raise many questions

Away from the spectacle

To face up to 26/11, we need to confront the murderous identity politics that led to Partition, still deforms Pakistan and weighs India down.

No check, little balance

The war within the CBI threatens to diminish the credibility of many institutions.

End of anti-corruption?

Its politics is confined to a slash and burn exercise, only useful for knocking down opponents

The Lies That Bind book review: The Crisis of Identity

That which defines is also that which reduces, writes Kwake Anthony Appiah in a deeply perceptive analysis of the problematics of selfhood

A darkening horizon

As the liberal order declines, a polarised world full of majoritarian, intellectually insecure angst looms.

The Sabarimala aftermath

Court authority is imperilled, parties have rallied behind orthodoxy, there is political fishing in troubled waters

The battle after Dussehra

Vijayadashmi is melancholic because the real and deep evil will surface only now, after the political triumph over Ravana has been achieved

It really was the economy, stupid!

A deep dive into the 2008 global financial crisis, this book brings into sharp focus the international interconnections that sank the world economy

Liberty without statism

Supreme Court upheld individual freedom, dignity, equality in Sabarimala case. But statism has its own dangers.

Verdict as first word

The Supreme Court judgment does not provide a consistent framework to ascertain future legitimate uses of Aadhaar.

The second coming

Global cooperation is a vital element in managing global economic interdependence. But global cooperation is exactly what has been domestically de-legitimised in almost all democracies.

On liberty

Tomorrow’s India needs a new Charter of Freedom. Does Congress have the courage to sign on to it?

Where’s the Remote?

Democracy was supposed to give power to the people. Instead, it has conferred sweeping powers on the executive

Sinister homo sapiens

All Indian parties have construed Maoism as a threat and all of them, from the Congress to the Trinamool Congress, have been draconian in their own way. But what is different this time in not just that there are operations or arrests.

A blasphemous law

Using state power to enforce the sacred, Punjab’s sacrilege law defiles the sacred, messes with the secular.