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Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just For You

We sifted through the weekend opinions section, so you wouldn't have to.

Updated
India
7 min read
The best opinion pieces from across newspapers this Sunday, curated just for you.   
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State of ‘the State of the Nation’

In his column for The Indian Express, P Chidambaram dissects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech or as he calls it ‘the state of the nation’ speech. Terming his speeches ‘unremarkable’ for their similarity to his elections speeches, Chidambaram takes this occasion to share the results of a fact-check done on ‘achievements’ of this government.

"The PM may have thought that none would remember that he had made the same announcement at the same place on August 15, 2019, and on August 15, 2020. He may do it again on August 15, 2022. We must be happy that the infrastructure investment plan is growing, invisibly, at the rate of Rs 100 lakh crore every year!"
P Chidambaram in The Indian Express

Chidambaram adds, "Facts are mundane and boring. Fake is exciting. Checking facts is dangerous, peddling fake is thrilling. You can choose what will make your country great and what will make your day bright."

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Kalyan Singh: Blending Mandal and Kamandal, He Rose Like a Meteor — To Fade Like One

Kalyan Singh, former UP chief minister, passed away on Saturday evening. Ravish Tiwari writes on Singh’s demise in The Indian Express, and says, “Much before the emergence of Narendra Modi on the national scene, it was Kalyan Singh who was seen in party ranks as the ‘Hindu-Hriday Samrat’. His rise in the party was meteoric — its peak marked by the demolition of the Babri Masjid under his watch as Chief Minister — and his fall and fadeout almost as rapid."

Tiwari adds that it was under Kalyan Singh’s watch on 6 December, 1992, that the hands of the police were tied, letting kar sevaks raze the Babri Masjid.

“Kalyan Singh remained unrepentant calling the act a spontaneous outburst. This became his calling card and captured the imagination of BJP workers and supporters across the country. So much so that although the BJP had adopted a resolution for the Ram Temple in 1989, L K Advani had galvanised popular opinion by his Rath Yatra in 1990, it was Kalyan who established himself as the architect of the demolition."
Ravish Tiwari in The Indian Express

Seeing Hinduism Upside Down

Refuting Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s comment that "Hinduism will be finished in another century", TJS George, in his column for The New Indian Express, argues that if there is one religion in the world that will never be ‘finished’, it is Hinduism, for it is a philosophy, a way of life that is even more strongly embedded in the cultural traditions of India than Confucianism is into China’s.

“In a country where Hindus constitute 80 per cent of the population, the prospect of their becoming a minority is a fantasy. The process leading to the end of Hinduism is merely a cerebral exercise that some people mistake for intellectual insight.”
TJS George in The New Indian Express

George further adds, “One reason for the power of the Indian tradition is that it is not sourced in one God or Scripture. Christian and Muslim invaders took pride in saying that they were people of The Book. Indians were people of a whole library.”

Life, and the Roll of the Dice

“It turns out, the single greatest stroke of luck is where you are born”, writes Leher Kala in The Indian Express, on the disproportionate suffering of the people of Afghanistan and points out the petrifying thought that success depends as much on escaping catastrophes as it does on sincerity and hard work.

"It is a sobering thought that while I, as a female journalist, type from the comfort of my air-conditioned room, TV news focuses on my (veiled) contemporaries three hours away in Kabul, marching down a destroyed landscape, demanding they be allowed to work. Imagine the risks of putting up a fiery show of bravery in a country sliding towards a medieval dystopia. This countermovement, women pushing back against a loss of autonomy, speaks a gutting truth to us watching from our private lockdowns: there are millions of people deserving of a great life everywhere. They’re just not as lucky."
Leher Kala in The Indian Express

The Taliban Are Terrorists

Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, explains how the Islamic State that was destroyed in Iraq has been brought back in Afghanistan via the Taliban. Singh argues that India cannot have diplomatic relations with the Taliban as their interpretation of Islam is the “antithesis of everything that India and India’s religions stand for.”

Singh also argues that the reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not yet seen as a statesmen in the eyes of the world is because of his silent sanction of hate crimes against Muslims.

"In the past seven years, jihadist Islam has found more adherents because too many senior BJP leaders have turned a blind eye to hate crimes against Muslims. When I asked an RSS leader, highly positioned in the Sangh Parivar, why he thought it was a sign of valour for mobs of fanatics to attack and kill unarmed Muslims, he said with a smile, ‘At least the Hindus have learned how to fight back.’ This is not just stupid but insane. There is neither valour nor courage in a mob attacking defenceless Muslim men. There is only cowardice."
Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express

Making a Point

Celebrating Neeraj Chopra’s memorable javelin throw, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in his column for The Telegraph, reflects on the skills and instincts inherited by the Olympian and on his instrument that has evolved from being a weapon to becoming a harmless instrument for sport. “It does not target a victim, does not impale or kill.”

"Here was a stranger to privilege, even to patronage, using his instinct alone with an instrument that could be called primitive to reach a level of competitive prowess before the narrow-eyed gaze of a grade-allotting world to show what that ancient art can still do and with such élan. Neeraj was, of course, following tradition — aiming targets for food, for survival, getting substituted by aiming targets for sport."
Gopalkrishna Gandhi in The Telegraph

Gandhi further explains that a greater consequence lies beyond the sport:

“India’s way ahead in the world, politically, economically, technologically, cannot be non-competitive. But it need not be imitative, certainly not mulishly so. And meant not for the gratification of the spectating world but for the quenching of our own inner thirsts. Being true to oneself is an old, almost tired, phrase. But I cannot think of a better one to say India must cease worrying about bettering China here, Japan there and others everywhere. It must be itself — as in Neeraj’s golden moment in Tokyo."

Opposition Oligopoly vs Modi Monopoly

In his column for The New Indian Express, Prabhu Chawla writes about how the opposition, despite the lack of a common leader in the past seven years, has once again, started to stand united against a common enemy, lest it fails undivided.

"The Opposition is emboldened by the BJP’s recent electoral reverses in Bengal where it couldn’t trounce Trinamool Congress despite the mass deployment of money and muscle power along with Modi Magic. According to Opposition watchers, Modi’s detractors have been tracking his plummeting popularity over the past six years. Though opinion poll agencies have proliferated like mushrooms in the monsoon, the survey conducted by the India Today magazine for the past 40 years is considered the best anemometer to test which way the wind blows. Modi’s popular ratings have been riding the hills less and the valleys more. India Today has been conducting credible opinion polls since 1980 and most of its findings have proved correct."
Prabhu Chawla in The New Indian Express

Chawla adds, “Now, a defiant past is resurrecting from the catacombs of history, asserting its once-powerful legacy on the chessboard of power to checkmate the Saffron King.”

“Whether this unity of minds will lead to the meeting of hearts on the battlefield only time will tell. But India is definitely on the threshold of change, with a better Opposition with a bitter past. Along the political Spice Route of national resistance, where saffron is a priceless currency, the caravans of the merchants of hope have begun to move against the monopoly of Modi.”
Prabhu Chawla in The New Indian Express

The Afghan War: Mr Biden, You Did Start the Fire, It Wasn’t Always Burning

Questioning US President Joe Biden’s statements on the fall of Afghanistan, Nazes Afroz, in his column for The Economic Times, urges the United States to take responsibility for their actions in the war-torn country.

When the Soviet Union physically got involved in the internal matters of Afghanistan by sending in ground troops in 1979, your country saw a chance to bleed it. Zbigniew Brzezinski, then US national security advisor, sent the famous memo to President Jimmy Carter: ‘We now have the excellent opportunity to give the USSR their own Vietnam War.’
Nazes Afroz in The Economic Times

Afroz adds, "The US mainstream media, too, legitimised and valourised your country’s involvement there, with films like Charlie Wilson’s War, and a host of absurd ‘based-on-real-events’ films like Rambo II, 12 Strong and Lone Survivor. These convinced the Americans and the world oblivious of the history of the US policies in the region that it was the ‘barbarian’ Afghans who were simply fighting a religious war."

Could BAMCEF Be the Needed Answer to RSS?

Writing on Backward and Minority Community Employees’ Federation (BAMCEF), which was formed for the purpose of ushering a democracy of the Bahujan, Suraj Yengde, in his column for The Indian Express, criticises the appeasers of identity politics and asks if the “liberal, progressive centrists, Leftists, unionists and LGBTIQ+ trust in a social organisation that can rival the RSS?”

"With 39 different offshoot organisations trying to dismantle the social structure through education and agitation, the BAMCEF has shown what it takes to humble the arrogance of casteist supremacists. Kanshi Ram was the most feared man in Indian politics and the BAMCEF was his surety, providing an arsenal of trained and devoted cadres, working to uproot Brahminism and Hindutva."
Suraj Yengde in The Indian Express

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