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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is Contributing Editor at the Indian Express. He has been vice-chancellor of Ashoka University and 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.

JNU violence reflects an apocalyptic politics driven by a constant need to find new enemies
Tue, Jan 07, 2020

It is apocalyptic in a triple sense. At the level of discourse, the normalisation of the phrase “tukde tukde gang” abetted by the home minister, with the help of a pliant media, laid the background conditions for this kind of violence.

Hope, Fear, Anger: Will this be the decade we finally come to terms with our reality?
Wed, Jan 01, 2020

In 2019, it was not just people versus government, but one definition of people jostling against another.

The charter of liberation
Sun, Dec 29, 2019

On the brink of the 70th year of the Republic, a reaffirmation of the radical message of the Constitution

Discrimination, not justice: Hope this generation does a better job of navigating the struggle than the one that came before
Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Violence will not help any cause. But when the state discriminates and calls it justice, when it stokes fear and calls it citizenship, and when it exercises control and calls its freedom, when it confuses prejudice with policy, it sets the seeds for disorder.

The morning after CAB: It will be a mistake to rely just on Supreme Court
Thu, Dec 12, 2019

The political challenge is to make sure that one party’s diabolical version of what is reasonable is not mistaken to be common sense. It will require using the BJP’s tactics.

The Burden of Meritocracy
Mon, Dec 09, 2019

A stunning catalogue of the ways in which merit takes on the form of an inheritance.

What state needs is resetting of priorities and restoring of credibility
Thu, Dec 05, 2019

The real problem is not the absence of big bang reform. It is the misdiagnosis over what our priorities should be and where scarce governance resources need to be deployed.

There was another India, reveals a new database of periodicals published between 1857-1947
Sat, Nov 30, 2019

The database is a reminder that the big contentious debates of Indian spiritual, political, economic and social life are not often accurately reflected in the big, and conventional figures we all study or distilled in books. They surface as powerful undercurrents in a variety of genres and forms.

The reconfiguration of Hinduism is now complete
Sun, Nov 10, 2019

Is it just possible that instead of a triumphal monument to Ram’s political glory — for this is all that the temple will be under present circumstances — can we build something genuinely congruent with Ram’s greatness?

By not joining RCEP, India sends signal of shrinking possibilities — at home and abroad
Fri, Nov 08, 2019

Don’t convert India’s global weakness into an ideological virtue. The truth is that India’s domestic agenda of reform will, in most respects, need to be the same, RCEP or no RCEP

Part of the problem with the Indian economy is that no one knows what to believe
Thu, Oct 31, 2019

On the Indian economy, no one knows what to believe. This makes the uncertainty of our moment more endemic.

To See, or Not to See
Sun, Oct 27, 2019

An inside job on panoptic state surveillance in the name of national security, and its chilling effect on citizens.

Cracks in the edifice: Results give a small but important reprieve from BJP’s arrogance
Fri, Oct 25, 2019

The opposition can take some heart from the fact there is political space for them to exploit. But this political space can have a multiplier if there is more smart and credible coordination amongst all opposition groups that converts a protest vote into an alternative narrative.

Congress ambivalence has allowed BJP to walk away with liberal agendas
Sat, Oct 19, 2019

Fighting for secularism against the BJP is hard enough; being tarred with the legacy of Congress makes it even harder.

Serial authoritarianism picks out targets one by one, and tires out challenges
Thu, Oct 10, 2019

The episode featuring sedition charges against eminent writers and directors — now belatedly withdrawn — is a reminder of the peculiar nature of the crisis of liberal institutionalism in India.

South Asia needs a culture of commitment to human rights
Tue, Oct 01, 2019

The challenges of both India and Pakistan can be solved only if we re-imagine ourselves, internally, as a zone of freedom, not warring identities.

Modi-Trump event is a window to the politics of our times
Tue, Sep 24, 2019

Modi-Trump event is a window to the politics of our times: They have sold the thrill of power and prejudice

The tactical Sangh
Sat, Sep 14, 2019

An exhaustive account, also a timely reminder, of the history of RSS and its equation with democracy

A hundred days on, Modi 2.0: Its purpose is the show of power, nationalist fervour, social control
Tue, Sep 10, 2019

The hundred days is not a catalogue of specific actions, some good some bad. They are certainly marked by Modi’s energy, drive, imperiousness and unerring instinct to dominate the political discourse. They, rather, reveal the consolidation of a regime type.

Whose faith will be privileged in the public sphere?
Fri, Aug 23, 2019

To attribute the Ravidas movement merely to a jostling for space in Dalit politics would be a mistake. The depth and reach of the movement across large swathes of north India has always been impressive and deeply felt.