Protest is Not Terrorism
Lauding the Delhi High Court for granting bail to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) accused student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, wonders why it is hard for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers to notice how “dangerously blurred” the lines between genuine protest and terrorism have become.
Referring to the prime minister's speech in favour of democratic values at the G7 Summit, Singh notes that the former must insist on separating protests from terrorism.
“If these words mean anything to Narendra Modi, he must order his ministers and chief ministers to learn the difference between protest and terrorism. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) should not be used to put students in jail. Journalists should not be charged with sedition for trying to report the rape and murder of a Dalit teenager in Hathras or for trying to list the mistakes made in the handling of our second COVID wave. When these things happen, it is not those who go to prison who are the real victims. The real victim is Indian democracy.”Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express.
Uniform Civil Code: Make it a Secular Exercise
Batting in favour of a ‘secular’ Uniform Civil Code, Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar, in his piece for The Times of India, opines that the nation cannot be truly secular as long as different religious groups are allowed to have personal laws on marriage, divorce, inheritance and gender treatment.
“Modi should come forward with a framework for working out the contents of a UCC, identifying all the stakeholders that should be consulted, and laying down ways of reaching decisions in areas of disagreement. Any attempt to make a UCC just a naked communal electoral ploy should be struck down by the courts.”Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar in The Times of India.
Noting that the Prime Minister has maintained silence on the issue of UCC, despite it being in his party’s manifesto, Aiyar says that theories claiming the government will impose the policy ahead of the next general elections “sound implausible.”
Will We Write an Elegy for GST?
Writing for The Indian Express, P Chidambaram, accuses the Centre of having ‘weaponized’ the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to ‘browbeat’ states by bringing in an implementation committee.
The committee, he says, has sidelined the GST Council, as recommendations offered by the former are turned into rules without taking the council into consideration.
“Every key feature of the GST Council has broken down. No Vice Chairperson has been chosen since its inception in 2016. The GST Council did not meet for six months between October 2020 and April 2021. It has been stealthily (and effectively) sidelined by constituting a GST Implementation Committee of officers who make “recommendations” that are made into Rules by the Central government, by-passing the GST Council and the state Legislatures!”P Chidambaram in The Indian Express.
Change Is Unsettling, but Don’t Oppose Central Vista Without Looking at its Pluses
Maintaining that those opposing the Central Vista Project are ‘English-speaking elites’ mourning the loss of landmarks from an era in which one family was in power, Chetan Bhagat, in his column for The Times of India, asks if people should protest the project even if it provides a plan for making government offices more efficient.
“The Central Vista Project challenges that. It’s scary, unsettling and creates anxiety. Is Modi really so powerful that he can even change Rajpath? Well, yes, he can. He’s in fact a lot more powerful than merely having the ability to modify a few government offices. And it’s the people who have given him this power. Frankly, if there’s a plan to renovate, consolidate and make creaky government offices more efficient and modern, must we oppose it tooth and nail?”Chetan Bhagat in The Times of India.
Bhagat then goes on to list the many benefits of the project, which, he says, would help reduce congestion on roads and make room for better coordination between government departments.
His only opposition, however, remains the pink shade of the new parliament design and an excessive focus on building museums inside old buildings.
When Ronaldo Swiped Left on Coke
While football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s swift removal of two Coca-Cola bottles from a press conference dias created a stir of its own among his fans, and, on the web, football bosses would do well by being mindful of the beverages that the sporting legends do not prefer, writes Shivani Naik in The Indian Express.
Sporting rebellion, Naik says, has become the new trend in Europe with Naomi Osaka and other players in the world of football refusing to play by the script.
“But Ronaldo would know that when he declares war on Cola by merely taking it off camera while the camera rolls, he is hitting at the munching and guzzling couch-sprawled habits of his core constituency: the fans. There will be consequences; expect an army of lawyers to wave contracts at sports bodies. Only, that football’s biggest names might finally have woken up to the fact that they wield super-human powers of anti-advertising that might be difficult to argue against on the health compass.”Shivani Naik in The Indian Express.
While the second wave of the pandemic has brought along with it, a barrage of advice on how one should not leave their will unscripted, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in his column for The Telegraph, wonders if there’s also space in such a document for the debt one owes and the acknowledgements one should make.
“Our hearts have arrears, our souls have debts. Are we to leave those sentiments undisclosed, unrepaid, unattended? These are not tax dues that will have to be paid post-mortem or stashes that will have to be apportioned to heirs and successors. These are what each of us, rich or poor, owe to those who have made us what we are, helped us, healed us, made us whole.”Gopalkrishna Gandhi in The Telegraph.
Why Enid Blyton Endures in India
While the recent commotion over racist and xenophobic undertones in Enid Blyton’s many books reveal a ‘Blyton blindspot’ that many of her young readers may have had, the revelation shouldn’t mean that one’s childhood is lost, writes Sandip Roy in The Times of India.
“Pixies, elves and brownies lived under the dew-laden flowers at the bottom of the garden. Our garden did not have primroses and buttercups and foxgloves but I had no trouble re-imagining her stories using hibiscus and jasmine and rajnigandha. As an adult I worried how the whiteness of her characters affected young minds. But we underestimate young readers. Her characters may have been all white but I ignored their skin colour as I daydreamed my way into their adventures.”Sandip Roy in The Times of India.
Ancient Texts Didn’t Bar Anyone From Temple Rites
While the DMK government’s decision to allow women priests across temples in Tamil Nadu is a bold and welcome move, it is important to understand how this form of discrimination originated, when neither the manual for worship at temples nor ancient Tamil culture had barred neither women nor any caste from performing rituals, writes Kalaiarasi Natarajan in The Indian Express.
“Tamils historically believed that there was nothing dirtier than segregating and identifying people based on caste. Even as we debate the appointment of women priests in our prominent temples, there are plenty of women priests in Tamil Nadu, especially wherever we have sub-cultural deities. Up to 25 percent of our local temples have women priests.”Kalaiarasi Natarajan in The Indian Express.
Get Back Your Mojo and Dump Nojo
In her piece for The Times of India, Pooja Bedi urges readers to push their positive spirit, while ditching the negative force – what she calls Nojo – that often starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.
“The pandemic has definitely impacted people’s mojo. People have lost their sense of inspiration, their dynamic “get up and go” energy, suddenly feel unmotivated, and in general, experience a lost zest for life. Laziness, procrastination, being stuck within a fixed mindset, feeling overwhelmed, perhaps paralysed and utterly emotionally dull are all symptoms of Nojo overriding your Mojo. Well, if this sounds familiar, it’s time to work on getting back your Mojo. Yes! That means to regain your confidence, your enthusiasm, your dynamism and energy, and inch your way back to personal and professional success in an inspired and energetic manner.”Pooja Bedi in The Times of India.
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