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.

Articles By Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The tactical Sangh

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

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?

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.

The long disarm of the law

Even by its own spotty standards, abdication of the legal profession in leading the charge for liberty is striking.

The story of Indian democracy written in blood and betrayal

BJP thinks it is going to Indianise Kashmir. Instead, we will see, potentially, the Kashmirisation of India.

Reading 1919 in 2019

What does it mean to be in politics? Weber asked this question — its answer lies in questions that find an echo today

Staggering dominance: The only authentic analysis of this election is two words – Narendra Modi

To give Narendra Modi credit: He won because India identifies with him. What that says about India is something we will figure out over the next five years.

Dear school leavers, don’t believe all the stories that will be told to you about the world you face

It is hard to imagine education as a free and equal space, unless broader society lifts the threat of oblivion from the heads of those who do not achieve by its lights.

We might enter an ‘RSS meets Jio’ ideological world

What is of interest is that in the new techno-nationalist imagination, the issue is not protecting small producers or indigenous technology etc. The focus is on creating what people believe to be the carriers of national power in the form of large companies.

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