Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, is the President and Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.


Governance, Political Theory, Constitutional Law and Political Economy


B.A.(Philosophy, Politics and Economics) from Oxford University and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University.


He was previously Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard University and Associate Professor of Government and of Social Studies at Harvard. He was also Professor of Philosophy and Law and Governance, JNU. He has published widely in reputed national and international journals in a variety of fields including, political philosophy, intellectual history, constitutional law, international politics, society and politics in India. His most recent book are "The Burdens of Democracy" and "Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design". He has been a prolific contributor to public debates and his columns have regularly appeared in The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Hindu, Indian Express, Telegraph, Yale Global, and numerous other papers. He has served as Editorial Consultant to the Indian Express. He is co-editor of The Oxford Companion to Politics in India (forthcoming), and serves on the editorial board of numerous journals. He has lectured widely in universities in the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Europe and Japan.

Current Research:

Mehta's current research projects center around four themes. The first is understanding India's Great Transformation, the profound social, political and economic changes of the last two decades, and the trajectory they are likely to take in the future. This will result in a book. The second project looks at the role of law in Indian society. It will specifically focus on the justiciability of social and economic rights, and whether judicial intervention is a good means of achieving those objectives. This project will result in a series of papers. The third project - a collaborative project-related to the first two is on Globalization and the Indian State, that looks at the legitimacy challenges facing the Indian State in an era of globalization. The fourth project continues Mehta's long standing interest in philosophical ethics and explores what it means to lead an examined life. In addition Mehta will continue to perform the role of loyal opposition and engage the public and government through columns on topical issues.

Select Publications:

The Burden of Democracy (Penguin)

(editor, with Devesh Kapur)India's Public Institutions (Oxford)

(editor) Hindu Nationalism and Indian Politics (Oxford)

India's Parliament as an Institution of Accountability (Inter Parliamentary Union, Geneva)


The Consolations of Modernity

Religion, Law and Constitutionalism in Modern India

Co editor (with Niraja Jayal) The Oxford Companion to Politics in India

Select Articles:

Self Interests and Other Interests in K. Haakonsen (edited) The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

From State Sovereignty to Human Security (via Institutions) in Terry Nardin and Melissa Williams (edited) Humanitarian Intervention (New York University Press, 2005)

India's Judiciary: The Promise of Uncertainty in P. Mehta and Devesh Kapur (edited) India's Public Institutions (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Indian Higher Education Reform: From Half Baked Socialism to Half Baked Capitalism, CID Working Paper, Harvard University (co-author Devesh Kapur)

Cosmopolitanism and the Circle of Reason, Political Theory, Vol.28, No.5, 2000, pp. 619-639

The Ethical Irrationality of the World: Max Weber and Hindu Ethics, Critical Horizons, Vol.2, No.2, 2001, pp 203-227

Empire and Moral Identity, Ethics and International Affairs, Volume 17. No 2, 2003

The Inner Conflict of Constitutionalism in Sreedharan, Hasan, Sudarshan (edited) India's Living Constitution (Permanent Black)

Democracy, Accountability and Governance, UNRISD, Geneva, 1999

Hinduism and Self Rule, Journal of Democracy, Volume 15, No 3. 2004 reprinted in Larry Diamond (ed) World Religions and Democracy (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Secularism and the Identity Trap in Mushirul Hasan (edited) Will Secular India Survive? (Imprint One)

Hinduism and Modernity in Lawrence Harrison (edited) Developing Cultures: Essays on Cultural Change (Routledge, 2005)

Language Rights and Language Policy: The Case of Urdu in S.Khurshid (edited) The Future of Urdu (Oxford)

Affirmation Without Reservation, Economic and Political Weekly, 24 (7)

The Constraints on Electoral Mobilization, Economic and Political Weekly, Dec 2004

Rousseau, Education and the Quest for Dignity, Contemporary Education Dialogue, Vol 2. No 1.

The Trajectory of Indian Nationalism, in Sumit Ganguly and Neil De Votta (edited) Understanding Contemporary India (Westview)

A Democratic Conception of Toleration in Russell Hardin and Ingrid Crepell (ed.) Toleration: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (New York: Russell Sage)

Naipaul and the Burdens of History in P. Pawar (ed.) V. S. Naipaul: Critical Perspcectives

The Nuclear Politics of Self Esteem, Current History, Dec, 1998

India 1998: Asian Survey, Vol.39. No.1 1999, pp. 163-177

The Dilemmas of Muslim Politics in Chaitanya (edited) Fascism in India (Konark)

Ethnicity and Violence in South Asia, Pacific Affairs, Vol.71. No.3, 1998, pp.377-397

Fragmentation Amongst Consensus, Journal of Democracy, Vol.8, No.1, 1997, pp.56-70

Pluralism After Liberalism, Critical Review, Vol. 11, No.4, 1997, pp. 503-519

Ideology in India After the Cold War (with Atul Kohli) in Melzer and Zinman (ed.) The Future of Ideology, Kansas University Press)

India's Disordered Democracy, Pacific Affaris, Vol 64. No 4., 1992

Democracy and the Idea of Social Cooperation in A Common Cause (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002)

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