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

Supreme crisis: CJI’s conduct has sent signal he is above all principles of natural justice

Whatever may be the background circumstances that led to the filing of the affidavit, a judge has to act as a judge. Alleging conspiracy theories for which they themselves have furnished no evidence does not befit a judge

Congress manifesto lays out a plan for resisting populism

In a context where the populist temptation would have been to act as if India is besieged by enemies round every corner, the manifesto gives a sense of a liberal democracy calmly going about its business confidently, without stigmatising its own citizens.

There’s a deep asymmetry of power in our society

Apparently, a marginal infusion of cash in the hands of the poor will destroy them. But the slightest tinkering with taxes in contexts where it is hard to even imagine what the marginal value of income is, will apparently cause economic catastrophe.

The mediation trap

Framing of the arbitration in Ayodhya dispute as an attempt at reconciliation raises questions.

The Seeker of Infinity

A nuanced reconstruction of Ramakrishna Paramhansa’s teachings

A means of re-invention

For anti-BJP coalition to succeed, the Opposition must see it as an idea, not just an adjustment

The road from the brink

For India and Pakistan, the bigger challenge is to re-imagine a win-win narrative

Who’s winning/losing?

The anger in India after Pulwama is self-destructively turning inward. Pakistan has won because our public culture has become corrosive. The Pakistani state’s silence in the face of violent proxies is being mirrored in our state’s silence in the face of vigilantism.

If political risk of using CBI, ED is so high, why would BJP do it?

Like the use of religion in politics, anti-corruption works more as a totem for the consolidation of political identity than a genuine desire to clean the system.

A Kamdhenu budget

Kamdhenu is the divine cow that fulfils all desires. This budget is, in the final analysis, an exercise in Kamdhenu miracle making: It seems to promise something for everyone. But the real secret of Kamdhenu is that there are no miracles.

A lover’s quarrel

Saving the Constitution is not about rescuing a text, it is about renewing a commitment to each other

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

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