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Saturday, July 31, 2021

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.

What the Pegasus surveillance scandal means for Indian democracy
Wed, Jul 21, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: It has great implications for our institutions. Government cannot sidestep questions by alleging conspiracy

How India and China are shaped by the idea of national humiliation
Tue, Jul 06, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: While China uses it to legitimise authoritarian rule, India’s lack of egalitarianism makes it harder for national humiliation to be owned equally.

The religious life of Indians, according to a recent survey
Fri, Jul 02, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Indians are committed to religious diversity, but exclusionary and segmented in toleration, and tempted by authoritarianism.

Women as temple priests: An idea whose time has come
Tue, Jun 22, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Not just social engineering, there are good religious grounds for opening all ritual functions to women. The rest of India must follow Tamil Nadu’s example

Has the blackbox of UAPA finally been opened?
Fri, Jun 18, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Bail order for Asif Tanha, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita is a welcome effort to prevent our civil liberties from being swallowed up by the black hole of state power.

Can the G-7’s ‘Cornwall Consensus’ give new direction to globalisation?
Sat, Jun 12, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: If the G-7 wants to truly exercise more leadership, it will have to convince the world that all its new principles are not simply ruses to serve only the interests of the developed world.

How ‘The Dharma Forest’, a retelling of the Mahabharata, deep dives into the question of meaning and futility
Sun, Jun 06, 2021

Keerthik Sasidharan’s incandescent masterpiece points at, among many things, the fact that the very thing that gives your life meaning also raises questions of accountability

Why isn’t the prospect of long-term economic stagnation giving us nightmares?
Wed, Jun 02, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Even as we battle Covid, we have to think about what will truly reverse the diminishing of our economic fortunes.

For the sake of Indian democracy, the UP governance model needs to be challenged
Fri, May 21, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: A moral psychology legitimising an unprecedented ruthlessness is now becoming the default of civil society in the state.

Israel’s actions are destroying the moral legitimacy of its own claims
Fri, May 14, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: The world cannot ignore the Palestinian question, which is not an object of geo-political opportunism, but one of basic dignity and justice.

We need temporary reconciliation, a national action plan. PM must take lead
Fri, May 07, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: If our politics continues as usual over the next few months, the devastation to our lives will be immeasurable.

The ruthless politics of the Centre’s vaccine strategy
Wed, Apr 28, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Our vaccine policy reflects an ad hoc social Darwinism, where the strong do what they can and the weak suffer because they must

Weaponising faith: The Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath dispute
Tue, Apr 13, 2021

The Gyanvapi order combined with the Supreme Court’s willingness to entertain a plea challenging the Places of Worship Act could open another communal front.

On Myanmar, India has to decide whether it is on the side of the future
Wed, Mar 31, 2021

By sidelining even the most basic humanitarian impulses in its response to Myanmar crisis, India will neither realise its ideals nor its strategic objectives.

This election is a reality check for Bengal
Fri, Mar 12, 2021

How West Bengal's revolutionary and progressive self-images hid the '4 Cs' of its politics — caste, communalism, corruption and coercion.

The Haryana bill is constitutionally indefensible, politically cynical
Fri, Mar 05, 2021

Domicile-based preferential policies indict the economy as a whole, suggesting a pessimism about both education and job creation

India, Pak, China must build on de-escalation, resist hubris that exults in unilateral triumphalism
Tue, Mar 02, 2021

If all three powers, China, Pakistan and India, can draw the appropriate lessons in humility, there is hope for regional politics to turn over a new leaf

Big tech regulation can solve real problems, or only increase state control
Sat, Feb 20, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: A few years ago, India would not have thought this way because of its desire to court the United States. But the context has now changed. There is a genuine ideological push to Atmanirbhar Bharat.

A letter to the misunderstood men and women who are creating New India through Unity in Purity
Sat, Feb 06, 2021

P B Mehta writes: The overwhelming political power you have will not be seriously challenged in the near future, notwithstanding a few social movements.

The real darkness on horizon is the turn Indian democracy is taking
Sat, Jan 30, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: The scenes at the Red Fort may have been disturbing. But the real darkness on the horizon is not the protest, or the turn it might have taken. It is the turn Indian democracy is taking, almost as if it is on the road to perdition.

A new conversation takes place on the Constitution. Rumbling of tractors announces a new spectacle
Tue, Jan 26, 2021

Bhimrao: "I thought we would keep God and Identity out of the Constitution. Didn’t we, Jawahar? So what are we celebrating on Republic Day? Ethnic Majoritarianism and Authoritarianism?”

Supreme Court’s order putting on hold the farm bills is terrible constitutional precedent, bereft of judgment
Mon, Jan 18, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: The issues in the farm bills are complex. But no matter which side you are on, you should now worry about how the Supreme Court is interpreting its function. The court is, perhaps unintentionally but damagingly, seeking to break the momentum of a social movement.

US might recoil from Capitol siege. But its democracy will remain riven by internal conflicts
Fri, Jan 08, 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: It is hard to shake off the feeling that liberal democracy in America will continue to come under more stress, riven by its own internal conflicts and confusion of values.

We need a new language to speak of the people, avoid the old impasse
Fri, Jan 01, 2021

PB Mehta writes: Outside of political contexts there is enough vitality, creativity and reciprocity, where the people are expressing themselves in all their concreteness, individuality and complexity, more than enough to sustain faith in the face of political disillusionment.

SC verdict exposes fallacy of using general category as reservation for upper castes
Sat, Dec 26, 2020

PB Mehta writes: What the Court is trying to do, in an interesting way, is to argue that for its purposes, the opposition between merit and reservation needs to be deconstructed — not because there is no such thing as merit (as defenders of reservation claim), or because there should not be reservation (as critics of reservation claim).