Harish C. Mehta

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Harish Chandra Mehta is a university lecturer and historian of the Foreign Relations of the United States.


Born in Lucknow, India, Dr. Mehta was educated at La Martiniere College (he was in Hodson House), and the University of Lucknow at Canning College. He was an International Freedom Forum Fellow and graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His Ph.D. dissertation at McMaster University is on North Vietnam's diplomacy during the American war in Vietnam. He argues that the people of North Vietnam conducted remarkably successful diplomacy despite the meager economic and military strength of their country. He has conducted research in the Vietnamese archives, and speaks and writes in Vietnamese (Tieng Viet).

Journalistic career[edit]

He began his journalistic career in the late-1970s as a reporter on Bombay magazine of the India Today Group. In the early-1980s, he was National Affairs Editor/Associate Editor of Gentleman (magazine), a Bombay based features magazine that pursued serious investigative journalism under the helm of editor Minhaz Merchant, and ran stories and columns by the Indian poet Dom Moraes, and others. Later, Mehta worked as Associate Publisher and Managing Editor of the Bombay-based Imprint magazine when Moraes was editor, and R.V. Pandit was publisher.

In the late 1980s, he moved to Singapore as Indochina Correspondent for the Business Times, covering Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He was then posted as Indochina correspondent in Bangkok. After completing his assignment with the Business Times, he wrote country reports on Thailand for The Economist Intelligence Unit and articles for Outlook India.[1]

Harish is married to Julie B. Mehta, a scholar of Post-colonial studies, who teaches at the University of Toronto.


Mehta has written three books on Cambodia: Hun Sen: Strongman of Cambodia (co-author Julie Mehta) is based on several hours of interviews with Prime Minister Hun Sen, whom the authors have known personally for almost 25 years. Although this is an authorized biography published in 1999, book reviewers have written that the account is fairly balanced, and provides new perspectives on a leader whose life has been shrouded in secrecy. A new and updated edition of the book containing more than 100 new pages and based on several hours of new interviews with Hun Sen is being launched in 2012.

Mehta's 2001 book Warrior Prince: Norodom Ranariddh, Son of King Sihanouk of Cambodia is based on several hours of interviews with Prince Norodom Ranariddh, his wife Princess Marie Ranariddh (interviewed by Julie), his brother Prince Norodom Chakrapong, and Prince Chakrapong's son Prince Norodom Buddhapong, as well as several actors in Cambodian politics. King Norodom Sihanouk was critical of the book, and issued several press statements in order to correct the historical record.

As a New Left Historian, Mehta is supportive of the efforts by King Norodom Sihanouk to create a neutral and non-aligned Cambodia. Mehta praises King Sihanouk's influential role as a leading global voice for national liberation struggles in several decolonizing countries in Asia in his public statements and in signed editorials in Kambuja magazine. Mehta argues that historians will remember King Sihanouk as a nationalist who attempted to keep his country free from the hegemony of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Prime Minister Hun Sen, likewise, opposes American intervention in his country.

Mehta's 1997 book Cambodia Silenced: The Press Under Six Regimes is the first effort to document the troubled history of the Cambodian press. These three books have been widely cited in historical works and dissertations by scholars, and are on recommended reading lists in history, political science and journalism courses at some universities.

Mehta's articles have appeared in the journals Peace and Change, and Diplomatic History in early 2012. He is working on a new book on North Vietnam's people's diplomacy, and a second edition of his 1999 book, Hun Sen of Cambodia (co-author Julie Mehta) is being published in early 2013.


As a historian, Mehta has won several academic awards, among which is the Samuel Flagg Bemis Award in 2008 and 2007 given by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.[citation needed]

In 1989, he won the Journalist of the Year award from the Press Foundation of Asia, Manila and the Mitsubishi Public Affairs Committee, Japan.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Search results: Harish Mehta". Outlookindia.com. Retrieved 30 November 2010.