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Thursday, April 02, 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.

Lockdown announcement has not been matched by national strategy — on containing fallout for poor
Sat, Mar 28, 2020

PB Mehta writes: India has never understood that health expenditure is not expenditure; it is investment. The success of the lockdown strategy is premised on an unprecedentedly vigorous building up of health infrastructure to fight the pandemic.

The Gogoi betrayal: Judges will not empower you, they are diminished men
Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Justice Gogoi’s actions are not simply a case of one bad apple. His actions will now cast doubt on the Court as a whole; every judgment will now be attributed to political motives.

Pandemic and politics: Coronavirus crisis calls for solidarity but it also begets deeper conflicts
Wed, Mar 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has confronted us with the contingency of so much of what we take for granted. It refocuses us on fighting something very elemental, in ways that will require a new politics. But two aspects of politics as usual continue.

Anti-CAA protests gave us poetry to resist, but hard plumbing of alternative politics yet to be worked out
Tue, Mar 10, 2020

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: There are reasons why the foisting of the communal narrative around the anti-CAA protests has gained the upper hand. Communal propaganda now so seamlessly works within democratic institutions, mass media and social media. It has become so second nature and ubiquitous...

Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s memoir of the reform years presents a complicated picture
Sun, Mar 01, 2020

It is too easy to dismiss reformers like Montek as elitist. They may make errors of judgment, but they often had more faith in Indians than many of those who yelped loudly in the name of the poor.

The Delhi darkness: Our rulers want an India that thrives on cruelty, fear, division, violence
Sat, Feb 29, 2020

India is descending into a night of dread and despair. The ongoing riots in Delhi are not a tactical aberration, some absent-minded lapse of attention. They have been in the making for a while, and represent the future that our ruling classes have imagined for us.

Contest in US and elsewhere is between democracy and capitalism, and where the balance should lie
Tue, Feb 18, 2020

In some ways, a potential contest between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump will turn out to be a more interesting contest because it is the one contest that makes these stakes totally clear.

Budget 2020 reads like a five-year plan with lots of targets but no road map
Mon, Feb 03, 2020

The things that it will take to fix the economy cannot be done in the Budget. The Budget can be criticised for its lack of boldness. But in a way, that is the most honest thing about it. It is an admission of defeat

Incitements by BJP leaders aim to polarise society, create violent identities — not just win elections
Sat, Feb 01, 2020

We had always assumed that politics is deeply decentralised in India: Caste, community, language, and region, provide natural breaks on any national agendas. These are still important. But they no longer provide the deep social bulwarks against the consolidation of national agendas. So violence can acquire a different logic.

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.

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