Midway through the Lok Sabha elections, in the din and debate over issues ranging from Hindutva and secularism to the politics of populism and social welfare, from nationalism and national security to the integrity and autonomy of institutions, the Express Adda in Mumbai Thursday will host one of India's foremost public intellectuals and political commentators.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vice Chancellor of Ashoka University and a contributing editor with The Indian Express, has been speaking truth to power on all important issues, nudging people to think deeper, leading them to fundamental questions.
His weekly column on the editorial pages of The Indian Express encompass party politics, political economy, the matrix of institutions, checks and balances, constitutional law, international relations and intellectual history.
Mehta has played a role in policy-making as member-convenor of the Prime Minister's National Knowledge Commission, and as member of the National Security Advisory Board. He has been member of the Lyngdoh Committee on elections in universities and on the executive committee of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. He resigned from the NKC to protest against the UPA government's higher education policies, and from the NMML against the marginalisation of academic credentials in the selection process of its director.
He has studied at the University of Oxford and has a PhD in politics from Princeton. He has taught at Harvard, NYU Law School and JNU. He was president of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, and is currently vice chancellor at Ashoka University.
On Thursday, Mehta will be in conversation with Vandita Mishra, National Opinion Editor of The Indian Express. The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change.
Past guests at the event include the Dalai Lama, economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, filmmaker Karan Johar, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, writer Amitav Ghosh, and oncologist and author Siddhartha Mukherjee.