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

We sifted through the papers and found the best opinion reads, so you won’t have to.

6 min read
Keep the chai, forget the paper. Read the best opinion and editorial articles from across the print media on Sunday View.

December 6: A clash of Ideologies

Widely observed as Mahaparinirvan Diwas to mark the death anniversary of India’s Constitutional architect, BR Ambedkar, 6 December now presents itself as a clash between two competing ideologies, writes CPI General Secretary D Raja in The Indian Express.

Raja believes that the clash is between those who believe in the constitutional values of “equality, freedom, democracy and social justice” and those who simply don’t.

The left leader maintains that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which was unable to ‘digest’ Ambedkar’s ideas on caste, had chosen the constitutional ideologue’s very date anniversary to demolish the Babri Masjid, leading to widespread chaos and damage to India’s social fabric.

“The demolition of Babri Masjid was not just an attack on an old mosque or an attempt to disrupt communal harmony in India. It was an explicit attack on the teachings, message and work of Ambedkar, who stood for equality and liberty and fought for the eradication of the caste system all through his life. It is no surprise, therefore, as to why the RSS and the Hindu right wanted to temper with the memory of the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.”
D Raja in The Indian Express.

Apex Court Needs to Strike Down ‘love jihad’ Laws

Writing on the raging controversy around love jihad, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, in his column for the Times of India, argues that individual rights are ignored in a democracy by politicians who, guided by the idea of vote banks, often pander to the interests and demands made by religious and caste groups.

Calling the new anti-conversion laws nothing but a ‘viscous ploy’ to falsely present love marriges between a Muslim and and non-Muslim couple as a “holy war,” Aiyar calls upon the Supreme Court to strike down these very laws that he says are based on a vague definition of inducement.

“The Supreme Court must come to the rescue. First, it must emphasise that consenting adults can marry anybody regardless of family, caste or religious objections. Second, the onus of proof must be placed on the prosecution. Third, such offences must not be cognisable (that is, police cannot arrest anybody without a formal complaint and an arrest warrant). Fourth, the broad definition of “inducement” is a veritable scandal, so the court should specifically prohibit the definition from covering gifts, divine promises, or college entry.”
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar in the Times of India.

Modi’s Dangerous Isolation

Expressing her thoughts on the issue of the farmer’s protest, veteran journalist Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, says that while successive electoral victories made by the Bharatiya Janata Party built an “aura of invincibility” around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the nation now seems to have forgotten that it’s not just the ballot box where the people’s voice can be heard.

Maintaining that the Prime Minister no longer has his ears to the ground, Singh says that the treatment being meted out to protesting farmers was a consequence of the fact that no one – from large sections of the media to even some of the PM’s cabinet colleagues – can dare oppose him.

“He is now so isolated from ‘the people’ that he can no longer feel their pain, their anger or their disgust with those of his policies that they think cause them harm...He gets no feedback from the media because only those who fall into the ‘godi’ category have access to him. There is not one person in his Cabinet who would dare oppose anything he says or does.”
Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express.

Hinduism’s Talibani Distortion: Fir Against Netflix Film Betrays Not Just Intolerance but Also Ignorance About a Great Religion

Penning his thoughts on the controversy around the kiss between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy within a temple in Netflix’s Suitable Boy, author and former diplomat Pavan K Varma, in his piece for the Times of India suggests that those opposing kissing should immediately read up ancient Hindu texts on the power of Kamdeva.

“If the objection is to kissing with a temple in the background, the so-called custodians of morality must visit Konarak or Khajuraho, and understand the philosophy about why the temple itself is adorned with beautiful erotic sculpture. It was not Hindus but our British rulers who were appalled at Hinduism’s frank but sensible acceptance of the sensual.”
Pavan K Varma in the Times of India.

A fraud on the Constitution

Writing for The Indian Express, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram writes that forgetting one’s own history and showing no regard for fundamental principles of the constitution are the telling signs of primitive instincts that have gained legitimacy following the growth of the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS.

Asserting that these primitive instincts have long led to the imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states, the implementation of a discriminatory citizenship law and an absolutely illegitimate form of control on one’s diet, Chidambaram says that this regressive thought process has now taken on one’s personal liberties by enacting several marriage laws.

“The law is an onslaught on choice; on freedom; on privacy; on dignity; on the equality of man and woman; and on the right to love or live together or marry. The Constitutional courts, which have re-affirmed their foremost duty to protect liberty, will undoubtedly strike down the law.”
P Chidambaram in The Indian Express

The Great Indian COVID Vaccine Challenge Is Ahead. Let’s Start Planning for It

In his piece for the Times of India, author Chetan Bhagat says that attempting to vaccinate about 1.3 billion Indians will be a ‘mammoth exercise’ for which everyone must put their act together, else it could very well turn into chaos.

Comparing the vaccination drive to a World Cup Final, Bhagat says that the daunting enterprise must undertaken with a sense of unity where every Indian gets the vaccine without any form of discrimination.

“We do not want visuals of serpentine queues of people unable to get the vaccine, or of hospitals who run out of supplies, or news reports of doses going bad during transportation. We don’t want a black market for the vaccine. We don’t want politics (arguments like state ruled by party X did a better job than state ruled by party Y). We don’t want Twitter fights and blame games.. This is a chance for us to show that we can do this well.”
Chetan Bhagat in the Times of India.

China Is Using Tibet’s Waters Against India

In his piece for the Hindustan Times, Dechen Palmo, a research fellow at Tibet Policy Institute, warns that China’s plans to build a super dam on the lower reaches of a river in close proximity to Line of Actual Control in Tibet, should be a worry for New Delhi as the same river flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam where it is called Siang and Brahmaputra respectively.

To be constructed in Metok, the last country of TAR, the super dam will be just 30 kilometers away from the Indian border will comprise 6 large hydropower stations with an installed capacity of 10 million kilowatts.

“The Brahmaputra is an important river for the country. In the past, many incidents over the river inside the Indian boundary have been attributed to China’s designs against India. These include the increase in turbidity and blackening of waters in Siang, temporary stoppage of data sharing by China over the high season flows as per the China-India memorandum of understanding during the Doklam standoff (2017), and news of a series of check dams being constructed along the Tibetan boundary.”
Dechen Palmo in Hindustan Times.

Kohli’s Paternity Leave Shows us Why Parenting is a Joint Venture

Commenting on a recent column in which ‘Little Master’ Sunil Gavaskar asked if Cricketer Virat Kohli is being ‘unpatriotic’ by choosing paternity leave and spending time with his wife over test matches in India, Shobhaa De, in her piece for the Times of India, writes that practices adopted by previous generations are not set in stone and that each new league plays their game differently.

“Point is each new generation of sports stars plays games pretty differently. Records are there to be broken. Today’s athletes follow a punishing regimen that is qualitatively different from their predecessors’ — not just in cricket but across sports. They also create new codes and rules in their personal choices, which resonate with their contemporaries and fans across continents.”
Shobhaa De in the Times of India.

Thirty-two winters ago, the hookah, the hukumat

In his piece for The Indian Express, Rakesh Sinha harps back to October 1988, during which over five lakh farmers had taken over Boat Club, a stone’s throw from the Parliament, in order to make their long-standing demands heard.

Sinha recount’s the role of Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, who mobilised farmers from western Uttar Pradesh, while also shedding light on the many tactics adopted by the then Congress government to disperse the protesters.

“At Boat Club, as the farmers sat out nights, policemen kept watch. There were attempts to wear them out. Every trick in the book was employed — loud music, at times western, was played at night, hoping this would unsettle the farmers and their cattle, and make them leave; water supply in and around the area was stopped, so was delivery of food packets to feed the vast gathering. But that only steeled their resolve.”
Rakesh Sinha In The Indian Express.
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