The Thirteenth Edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest
Wednesday, November 9th to Sunday, November 13th 2022

Literature Unmasked

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The Tyranny Of Merit: What’s Become Of The Common Good

  • Saturday, 21st Nov
  • 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm IST

The ingrained notions of merit and meritocracy, the constant messaging  from all quarters that you can be anything you want if only you try, disregard the reality that the odds are actually heavily in favour of the elite, blocking  upward social mobility. The lack of recognition of the role of luck and status in achieving success, means that the less fortunate who buy into the meritocratic dream and don’t make it, are often contemptuously disregarded; end up feeling frustrated and betrayed, leading in turn to potential social unrest. World-renowned philosopher Michael Sandel argues that we should re-assess attitudes towards success and failure, acknowledge the role of luck and entrenched social positions,  and try to move toward a more empathetic and equitable construct of the common good. He will be in conversation with one of India’s leading thinkers, Pratap Bhanu Mehta.


Private: Michael Sandel

Described as ‘the world’s most relevant living philosopher’ (Newsweek), Michael J Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University.

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Private: Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is a distinguished political scientist who has taught at Harvard University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the New York University School of Law. He is a columnist for leading Indian and international publications. He has served on several committees of the Government of India. He holds a BA (first class) in Philosophy Politics and Economics from Oxford and a PhD in politics from Princeton.

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Books In The Session

The Tyranny of Merit: What s Become of the Common Good

  • Michael J. Sandel
  • Allen Lane


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  • 12:45 pm - 1:30 pm IST

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