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.
P Chidambaram Writes: The Tukde-Tukde Gangs Win
P Chidambaram explains how the government is projecting the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang, that is, people who are protesting against the controversial CAA and NRC, as Naxalites, Maoists, Islamist terrorists, Urban Naxals etc. In a column in The Indian Express, he writes that the fight today, is led by women and children across the country, youth who are disappointed with successive governments and students who have become cynical about politics and want to stop the politicisation of religion.
“There is nothing unusual or inherently wrong about a right-wing ideology. It is also not uncommon that right-wing leaders are staunch believers. It is only when right-wing leaders politicise their religion and attempt to divide people on the ground of religion (‘my religion vs your religion’) that the Constitution is violated and social harmony is disrupted. The BJP has done just that, and in the last six years has placed in the government and in other state institutions persons who are not just religious but persons who will weaponise their religious beliefs to spread fear and uncertainty among large sections of the people.”
Why Kejriwal Win Is a Game Changer
Meghnad Desai says that to be embarrassed or to not speak up openly about one’s religious identity is to abandon secularism, not assert it. In a column in The Indian Express, he asks, if BJP can return to its old agenda of economic prosperity and welfare, and stop the aggressive assertion of Hindu nationalism and marginalisation of Muslim identity.
“Uddhav Thackeray has already challenged the BJP’s monopoly of Hindutva since he became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. This is a lesson other regional leaders will soon pick up. Indians are intensely religious in their daily lives. It was perhaps only a small westernised, anglophone elite who was confused about secularism being anti-religion. Nehru had no religious beliefs that he ever displayed. But that was never meant to be for everyone. For Nehru, secularism was a message to orthodox Hindus in the Congress to respect the Muslims who had chosen India.”
Living With Hate
Home Minister Amit Shah has acknowledged what failed for the BJP at the Delhi elections, but he needs to address the hate campaign raised by his team against the people, writes Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express. She calls on the minister to take cognisance of the fact that it is not okay to demonise Muslims, using the lens of Hindutva and impose the religious ideology of the majority upon the minorities.
“The wounds that we see now are new. They began to form after Mohd Akhlaq was lynched in a village near Delhi in which his was the only Muslim family. Then came regular killings by vigilante gangs who roamed the highways in search of Muslim cattle traders. Whenever these lynchings happened in states ruled by the BJP, justice was never done. Those in charge of law enforcement seemed to take an indulgent view of these horrific killings. So the wounds deepened. It is into these wounds that hate and venom have been poured in the past six months.”
Delhi Poll Verdict: How the Cultural Hindu Defeated the Political Hindu
Sagarika Ghose commends Kejriwal for devising an effective model to neutralise Hindutva as a political weapon – by not hiding or politicising his religious identity. Secular parties are often cast as ‘Muslim appeasers,’ and many even called the battle between BJP vs AAP as a battle of India vs Pakistan. However, it is this quiet style that is in stark contrast with Modi’s Hindutva domination and Rahul Gandhi’s mistake of trying to project his religious leanings, she writes in The Times of India.
“Hanuman’s not a prince, instead he’s Rama’s selfless companion who earns his divinity through lifelong devotion, an embodiment of how ordinary folk can rise to become extraordinary. Car stickers of an angry Hanuman do injustice to the love Hanuman embodies. By asserting his credentials as a Hanuman-bhakt, by holding up his Hanuman vs BJP’s Ram, Kejriwal showed that the cultural Hindu is best placed to defeat the political Hindu. ‘Ram bhakts’ can easily attack a ‘jihadist-biryani-eating-Muslim sympathiser’ but can they attack a Hanuman bhakt? When competing with a dominant influential force like Hindutva, it’s smart to be strategic rather than ideological.”
Message for Netas: Listen to People or Else Thappad Awaits
The 2020 Delhi elections served as a reminder to all political leaders that people will vote for a party that builds bridges and not statues and temples and stands with them, when they raise a voice of dissent. Else the people will serve only a slap on the face, Shobhaa De writes in The Times of India.
“Kejriwal’s wife Sunita called the AAP Delhi win the ‘best birthday gift ever.’ Perhaps, his wife will remind him that the people of Delhi are looking for a few quick fixes, now that they have voted for him to continue. Tough ex-cop IPS officer Ajoy Kumar will be focusing on women’s safety as an AAP leader. This could herald a season of thappads, with Kumar slapping offenders before slamming them in jails. Please note: Kejriwal shrewdly and disappointingly steered clear of tricky issues like the anti-CAA/NRC protest, but his Okhla candidate Amanatullah Khan thrashed his BJP rival by 80,000 votes. The Okhla constituency includes Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Nagar. Says something, doesn’t it?”
Break the Deadlock on the Meaning of Secularism, Writes Mark Tully
Why is there a deadlock between the BJP and the Congress view of secularism, asks Mark Tully in a column in Hindustan Times. He suggests that it is because secularism and communalism have been locked in binary, and the BJP’s election campaign in Delhi, centring on the issue of nationalism, should be perceived as a threat to the unity of India.
“It seems to me that a vision of nationalism which involves arousing the fear that tukde tukdewallahs are threatening the unity of India is, in fact, anti-national. It denigrates India by suggesting that the bonds which bind the nation together are so weak there is a danger that they will be broken. A secularism which does not find a place for the role Sarojini Naidu said Hinduism had played in India’s history is failing to recognise the unique contribution Hinduism has made in the past, and can play both in the present as well as the future.”
How Bangladesh Is Outperforming India
Karan Thapar has a response to a minister who said that half of Bangladesh will be empty if India offers citizenship to them. He writes in a column in Hindustan Times that Bangladesh is growing at a tremendous rate, has great business links with various countries, better life expectancy, infant mortality, ratio of high school enrolment and education and jobs for women. So, the country is actually more lucrative that India for economic reasons and for a better quality of life.
“So when AK Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, says, ‘Some Indian nationals are entering Bangladesh illegally for economic reasons’, he may well be right. People migrate to improve their lives, and life in Bangladesh seems decidedly better. If you’re an Indian Muslim in danger of lynching because you trade in meat, accused of love-jihad because you’ve fallen in love with a Hindu, or in fear of losing your citizenship, you could easily be tempted to cross over to the other side. At the moment, there can’t be too many inclined to journey in the opposite direction. The statistics I have quoted suggest that it’s more attractive to be a termite in Bangladesh than a legal citizen in India.”
Arvind Kejriwal: From Disruptor to Delhi’s Leader
Chanakya applauds Arvind Kejriwal for evolving from being seen as a disruptor to a leader committed to governance. As Kejriwal takes oath today for the third time, he just needs to live up to the expectations he has set to win votes, and that is to just translate his campaign into governance, he writes in Hindustan Times.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried hard to reshape the campaign around the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and AAP’s alleged support for the protest against it at Shaheen Bagh — Kejriwal deftly stayed away from it. Left and liberal activists of civil society condemned him for not visiting Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia — he did not get ruffled. It was this focus, this ability to keep his eyes firmly on the target, the stubborn refusal to get distracted and swayed by either the Left or the Right, and, instead, fight the election on his own, positive, platform that explains Kejriwal’s victory.”
Inside Track: Prashant Kishor Thinks Big
Coomi Kapoor writes in The Indian Express about how, after successfully handling campaigns of half a dozen chief ministers, pollster Prashant Kishor is keen to create a viable Opposition political alliance for the Assembly polls to be held later this year. He is aware of the lacuna in the Bihar Opposition and wants to spearhead a national alternative alliance to the BJP by encouraging his many clients - Arvind Kejriwal, Amarinder Singh, Uddhav Thackeray, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mamata Banerjee and MK Stalin to join him.
“Prashant Kishor’s first public statement after the Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular win in the Capital was to thank Delhites for ‘protecting the soul of India’. A bit of doublespeak since Kishor had advised his client, Arvind Kejriwal, not to make the mistake of taking up cudgels on behalf of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act campaign. He realised shrewdly that this was not an issue which resonated with the Delhi electorate and there was a danger that Amit Shah would use any AAP statement against the CAA to his advantage. Kejriwal was invited several times to address the Shaheen Bagh protests, but Kishor warned him to stay away.”
More From The Quint:
- Kejriwal Strikes The Balance Between Art and Science in Politics
- After Delhi Results, Will Modi-Shah Pause and Dial Down Hate?
- Trump in India: Inside Story on What’s ‘Cooking’ on Both Sides
- Indian Military’s Overhaul Needs a Lot More Than Defence Expos
- Delhi Poll Debacle is Almost Personal for Amit Shah And it Shows
- Delhi Election 2020: Rahul-Sonia Tussle Harmed Delhi Congress?
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