Pratap Bhanu Mehta

political scientist, public intellectual

Pratap Bhanu Mehta (born 1967) is an Indian academician. He was the president of the Centre for Policy Research, a New Delhi-based think tank and was the Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University from July 2017 to July 2019.


  • Indians see the war as a moral triumph too, a victory for democracy and human rights. As the leading Indian scholar and analyst Pratap Bhanu Mehta wrote, “India’s 1971 armed intervention in East Pakistan—undertaken for a mixture of reasons—is widely and fairly regarded as one of the world’s most successful cases of humanitarian intervention against genocide. Indeed, India in effect applied what we would now call the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) principle, and applied it well.”
    • quoted from Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide. Epilogue
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill uses a legal instrument to send an insidious political message: Religious identity will play a dominant role in assessing claims to citizenship...
    But we should recognise that this direction is not going to be set through the nice formalisms of law, or the contrived conventions we can adhere to in normal times. The direction is going to be set by the mob, by brute power, by mobilisation... So while the legal and philosophical work is necessary, don’t count on them to do our work for us.

Quotes about Mehta

  • Trustees must “provide a full, public, accounting of whatever policies or pressures brought about the circumstances that forced Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s resignation … My Respect for Ashoka University Has Been Seriously Tested … I gave the first of the Ashoka ‘Crossover’ Series lecture unveiling the university to the public later that year; I offered the commencement address at the 2018 Ashoka convocation; I donated to its library my own and my late wife’s entire collections of books in 2019. And I have known Professor Mehta for almost 30 years and have learned from him for 30 years.” ... If this is not done, and done soon, he said, “the stain on the university will be indelible, and the support of its most fervent admirers permanently lost.”
    • About the controversy following Pratap Bhanu Mehta 's resignation . Sheldon Pollock of Columbia University. Sheldon Pollock: 'My Respect for Ashoka University Has Been Seriously Tested' The Wire, 19/Mar/2021. quoted from Malhotra, R. & Viswanathan V. (2022). Snakes in the Ganga : Breaking India 2.0. chapter 19
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