Sunday View: The Best Opinion Reads Curated Just for You
We sifted through the papers and found the best opinion reads, so that you wouldn’t have to.
Do You See Green Shoots?
P Chidambaram predicts a recession in 2020-21 which could be up to -5 per cent due to fear of COVID-19 and the cost of hospitalisation. In a column in The Indian Express, he writes that while agriculture will do well, travel, tourism, airlines, bus transport, hospitality, hotel industry, consumer durables, construction, exports, are languishing.
Almost alone, the MoF predicts a V-shaped recovery. Down 5 per cent in 2020-21 and up 5 per cent in 2021-22 may appear to be a recovery, but it is not. Only when total output (GDP) exceeds the total output of 2019-20 will that be considered a recovery, and that may not happen until 2022-23. If the MoF is so sanguine, why does it not predict positive GDP growth in 2020-21? The MoF dare not!
Tavleen Singh asks why the National Security Advisor and the first Chief of Defence Staff are not doing their job of briefing the country about the hostilities with China, and instead BJP spokespersons are speaking for the government. In a column in The Indian Express she urges people to demand answers and believes we did not ask enough questions after 26/11, Pulwama attack, abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and so we still are unaware of crucial details.
It is my considered opinion that a powerful economy is our greatest weapon against both our main enemies. China is ruled by a totalitarian dictator who knows this well. So he got the Dynasty to submit and then lulled Modi into a false sense of security by agreeing to all those picturesque but futile summits. At that first one, even as he shared a Gujarati swing with Modi, Chinese troops entered Ladakh for what then seemed like a picnic. They now come with much more ugly intentions. It is unfortunate that our response has so far been surprise and not strategy.
Lords and the Ladies
Upala Sen writes about how for the first time in the history of England's 233-year-old Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), a woman --Former England captain Clare Connor -- has been named president. She recounts in The Telegraph about how for the past many decades women have been denied even membership, by players who have called the grounds a men's only space.
A member said post the vote, “I think it's a good thing that there is still somewhere where males can be without females. Women can be a little irritating...” But this time, the MCC earned a rap from the then PM Tony Blair and the sports minister and bad press too. So what did it do? It distributed a questionnaire to members to try to establish the exact reasons why many of them objected to female membership. Some of the stated objections were --- rattling of teacups, the clicking of knitting needles, the possibility of breastfeeding in the pavilion. Later that year, after yet another members’ meeting, Heyhoe-Flint and nine other women were granted honorary life membership of the MCC. And in 1999, five women cricketers were invited to apply to the club to become full playing members.
BJP: The Governance-Politics Dichotomy
The country is going through a health emergency, an economic crisis and a national security crisis, and the BJP-led government may have complicated matters by not adequately ramping up testing and health infrastructure, failing to anticipate the migrant workers crisis, announcing an economic package which had a limited fiscal component and by being less-than-transparent about Chinese aggression. While many are wondering if this is the beginning of the end of the BJP’s political dominance, Chanakya explains in a column in Hindustan Times why despite its possible governance deficits, the BJP has the political edge.
The first is Narendra Modi himself. The fact is that a large number of voters are willing to give the prime minister (PM) the benefit of doubt on a range of issues. In the first term, when demonetisation began causing economic inconvenience or the Goods and Services Tax regime became a major impediment for businesses, citizens hailed the ideas — since it was associated with Modi — but blamed bureaucrats for flawed implementation. During the campaign run in 2019, it was common to meet young unemployed men willing to blame their own inadequacies but not Modi for the lack of job prospects.
The Weight of Words, Spoken and Unspoken, Writes Karan Thapar
Karan Thapar lists in Hindustan Times three counts on which the Indian political system 'buffed' with respect to the India - China border dispute. One, the PM's statement -- “neither has anyone intruded into our border nor is anyone intruding” -- which was intended to calm anxiety and anger, but was just wrong and pushed Chinese agencies to reiterate how it was Indian troops who had provoked the deadly clash. Two, the lack of clarity by the foreign ministry in stating Galwan was India's. Three, Rahul Gandhi's 'childish' tweet, “Narendra Modi is actually Surender Modi.”
Odd, isn’t it, that at a time of crisis not just the PM and the man who considers himself the leader of the Opposition but also the foreign ministry’s official spokesperson should have been unable to find the right words when, perhaps, they most needed them? It makes you realise the mot juste is not easily achieved. Even those with a flair for words can fail. Modi was too confident of his communication skills; Gandhi too clever by half; Srivastava simply didn’t know what to say.
Oh That Line, It Has Been Crossed!
'You see that line? That’s the critical thing, to keep your eye on the line:' Sankarsan Thakur pens a satirical piece on the India-China border dispute in The Telegraph. He writes how there are certain lines of control but when another country crosses this, we are left to figure out how to counter this and how to secure our border lines, thus pointing at the recent tussle between the two countries blaming the other of crossing the LOC and triggering the brutal attack.
But what line? Where? Who told you? I don’t see a line. They don’t see a line. Nobody sees a line. But they crossed the line. Ab kya hoga, Mataji? They crossed the line, oh no, what have they done! How do they say it? Hum kisi ko kya munh dikhaayenge, hum kisi ko munh dikhaaney ke kaabil hi nahin rahey! Isn’t that how they say it? In the movies? And they are talking about the whole kalooney, you know neighbourhood, I mean? They crossed the line. It’s all over, let us go. But there is nowhere to go. The moment you begin to go, the moment you step out, they will mark you out, they will say, look, look, there, they are the folks whose, you know, line was crossed. And they no longer have lines any more.
Alone With COVID-19
Mukul Kesavan talks in a column in The Telegraph about his experience of contracting coronavirus, how he battled it in self-isolation and was constantly in the fear of being sent to an institutional quarantine. Being grateful for the fact that the illness didn't go beyond a bad fever for a 60-year-old, he writes how he felt like a student, the day he was stamped by South Delhi Municipal Corporation stating he had completed his days in isolation.
I was lucky. My encounter with the novel coronavirus felt like a low-temperature flu that went on for a bit. Three days after I tested positive and on the eleventh day after the fever began, it broke. I spent another fortnight in the study counting off the days to the 23rd. Four days short of that date there was another alarm: Delhi’s lieutenant governor overruled Arvind Kejriwal’s government and ordered that all home isolating patients be quarantined in public facilities. The order was duly notified and for a day I relived a re-heated nightmare: the prospect of serving out the rest of my sentence as a guest of the State. I shouldn’t have worried; this was history repeating itself as farce. The Lt. Governor backed off and I settled into my study again.
Immigration Bans Will Lead to Dumbing Down of the World
Immigration fuels enterprise, and it has been America’s secret sauce of success, writes Chidanand Rajghatta in The Times of India. With coronavirus pandemic hitting the US economy, 80% of Trump's base has expressed fears of “cultural displacement,” and so he has decided to secure the borders by regulating the flow of immigrants. But if this American shutdown becomes a permanent move, it could set an awful precedent and would affect several countries, with India being top on that list, he writes.
For good or bad, India has been particularly fecund with its contributions. Indians have been spectacularly successful, as evidenced in the oft-cited statistic: the median family income for Indians in America is higher than any other ethnic group, including native-born white Americans. Donald Trump has put a bullet through the head of this growing American and Indian success story with his ban on immigration — and a ban it is, don’t kid yourself that it is a temporary suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. Freezing green cards and visas for six months is hardly going to make a dent in the massive post-pandemic unemployment numbers. So, expect the ban to be permanent if Trump ekes out a second term.
Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
Pooja Bedi in her column Heartchakra in The Times of India urges people to have a positive attitude, especially during this lockdown, and how like moths to a flame, the incredible energy can draw more positivity towards one. Adopting a negative bent of mind is not self-serving and it’s self-defeating.
To change from negative lethargy to proactive positivity, it starts with a simple decision to take the first step. Simply ban every thought and automated response that is cynical, sad, negative or dull. If someone emits a negative thought about anything, say , “ok! So what can we do to change that?”. Maybe you won’t find all the answers right away, but the very fact that you start thinking differently will effect changes that will start you on the path to positivity. Be mindful of every response you are conditioned to give, and work at making it a more positive one. With some time and some effort, you will notice not just your emotions, but your reality resetting into a life that’s meaningful and dynamic. More so, you will find that your vibe attracts your tribe, and if it means changing those around you or attracting new people who match your positive energy shift you’ve only helped other lives be better as well.
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