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 reconfiguration of Hinduism is now complete

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

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

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

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

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

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

The episode featuring sedition charges against eminent writers and directors — now belatedly withdrawn — is a reminder of the peculiar nature of the crisis of liberal institutionalism in India.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

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

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

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.