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

Ditch the papers on a Sunday morning; get all your weekend OpEd pieces on The Sunday View instead.

6 min read
Nothing like a cup of coffee and your Sunday morning reads. (Photo: iStock)

National Herald Case: Sonia’s Threat

After returning from another mysterious medical break in a mysterious foreign country, Sonia got the news that the Delhi High Court had accepted that there was merit in the National Herald case, writes Tavleen Singh in the ‘Fifth Column’ for The Indian Express.

“There is still a Mrs Gandhi in charge and she appears to believe that there will be much political mileage to be had from the National Herald case. Her son and heir has already announced that he sees ‘political vendetta’ in the judge’s order and knows that this vendetta is being ordered from the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Instead of slinging mud at the Prime Minister’s Office, would it not be more dignified to respect the chaiwallah if only because he did win a full mandate from the people of India? But this is probably at the root of the problem that the Gandhis have with the Modi government. As Venkaiah Naidu said in the Lok Sabha last week, they simply have not been able yet to accustom themselves to being out of power.

Read the full opinion piece here.


Why the Delhi Government’s Odd-Even Scheme Is Rather Odd

It isn’t that pollution in Delhi is not a problem. It is, and terribly so. However, sometimes the proposed solution is not the one that works. We do need to look at things logically, scientifically and practically before rushing to make announcements, writes ‘The Underage Optimist’, Chetan Bhagat, for The Times of India.

“The sources of pollution in the capital aren’t clear: factories, crop burning in neighbouring states, power plants, cooking on coal or wood stoves, old autos and aged commercial vehicles are also significant polluters. Incidentally, none of those in the last category will be covered in the odd-even plan. Without a clear calculation of how much private vehicles contribute to Delhi’s pollution, making half of them sit idle at all times seems like a draconian and ill-conceived idea.”

AAP deserves credit for trying to do something about Delhi’s pollution. Delhi deserves better air but it also deserves more sensible solutions to achieve the same.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Power Failures

Urban governments in India are abject failures. The elected representatives jostle to control access to land as a surefire way of looting the gullible, writes Meghnad Desai in his column ‘Out of My Mind’ for The Indian Express.

“Having visited Delhi regularly over the last 11 years, I have been appalled by the deterioration in the quality of life as much as by the gross neglect shown by all levels of political authorities. The best one can say is that change happens with a 10-year delay at the very least. The Metro was needed already by the 1990s. Some control on car ownership and use was overdue for even longer. Illegal parking should have been curbed ages ago. But the reasons for inaction are always more politically palatable than initiating change.”

A good leader uses power for the public good even when the public may not approve. Kejriwal failed in his first term. He better succeed in his second term or there won’t be a third. If he wins, the alternative leader slot can be filled.

Read the full opinion piece here.


Non-State Actors Have Upstaged the Superpowers

The era of superpower hegemony is over, and that of non-state actors has arrived. Fourteen years after 9/11, the US has — let’s be blunt — been repeatedly defeated by radical Islam, writes S A Aiyar in his column ‘Swaminomics’ for The Times of India.

“Earlier, the state was all-powerful and individuals and groups were mostly powerless. But in the 21st century, the internet and social media have empowered non-state actors so much that superpowers can no longer install stable regimes at will. So, intervention now brings anarchy, not stability. This is a totally new development.”

Today, diabolical viruses, placed by both state and non-state actors, sit on every smartphone and computer, monitoring everyone. Radical ideas are buzzing in the airwaves all around us. We face new dangers, and an unprecedented loss of security and privacy. There are no easy answers.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Sputter, Stop. Then, Suddenly, Start

P Chidambaram in his column ‘Across the Aisle’ for The Indian Express writes that on the very day India and Pakistan became independent, they inherited a clutch of problems that was the inevitable result of Partition.

“Despite a 25 per cent increase in infiltrations this year over last year, reported by the BSF, India and Pakistan have decided to talk to each other. Secret talks are no longer taboo. Back channels are no longer suspect.”

There will be challenges and the ride will be bumpy but there is no substitute to staying the course. No one expects miraculous solutions to all the issues, but no one wants conflict or war.

Read the full opinion piece here.


A Welcome Change in Mr Modi, but Will It Last?

Friends, Readers and Countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to praise Modi not to bury him.
Though the evil men do lives after them
and the good is interred with their bones,
today let it be different with our Caesar.

If meaningful talks are to be held with Pakistan you can’t start by undermining its Prime Minister. If he is diminished in the eyes of his countrymen and, more importantly, his army the talks would be futile. In its own interest, India had to find a way of making a concession to Nawaz Sharif so that, in turn, talks with his government could hope to be productive, writes Karan Thapar for The Hindustan Times.

Read the full opinion piece here.

India vs Pakistan: Games People Play Over Faux Patriotism

The desire to prevent cricket with Pakistan has nothing to do with Pakistan itself—or it would extend to blind cricket too. No, it has everything to do with holding tight to empty prejudice and with staying in the public eye by whatever means possible writes Dilip D’Souza for Mint on Sunday.

“Indian and Pakistani diplomats and other officials are finally talking again. Our prime ministers have met in the past and will soon meet again. If those things can happen, why should our cricket teams not play each other? This seems so straightforward that I’m amazed it is even an issue.”

Read the full opinion piece here.


Age Is Not Just a Figure, It Really Counts

The problem that we need to tackle on a national level is how to channelise the expertise and resources of those who have moved out of the job market. The world of consultancy has opened up vistas for many who retire from the corporate sector and government jobs. But, for many there is neither job security nor indeed emotional security, writes Chanakya for The Hindustan Times.

“The government ought to form a data bank of those who have retired and create some sort of employment agency where they can try to find jobs which fit their qualifications. We have often seen, more so in recent times, the problems faced by juveniles. In fact, the rate of crime among them is rapidly increasing.”

Groucho Marx once said, “Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.” For the great comedian, who lived to a ripe old age by the way, it may not have been. But in today’s India, age really is not just a figure anymore, it really counts.

Read the full opinion piece here.

This Is the Grassroots Revolt Against Condescension

Trump believes in showering all those who disagree with him or whose priorities are different with abuse. In that sense he is no different from the profane trolls who have brought social media into disrepute, writes Swapan Dasgupta in his column ‘Right & Wrong’ for The Times of India.

“A Trump presidency is extremely unlikely but what is far more noteworthy is the fact that the protest he articulates so crudely is resonating in many other societies. Last week, the Front National led by the persuasive Marine Le Pen won major victories in the French provincial elections and outshone the traditional centre-right party. Le Pen, with her robust but more soberly articulated antiimmigration and anti-European Union message was the direct beneficiary of the public disquiet over the November 13 Paris massacre. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel who is seen as the personification of a new, cosmopolitan, (some would say) post-Christian Enlightenment has suddenly found that a significant section of ordinary Germans is not reacting too kindly to the sudden influx of a wave of refugees from Syria. A similar mood is discernible even in Sweden, hitherto regarded as the citadel of uber-liberalism.”

Trump and Le Pen are refusing to go away because they have raised issues that conventional politicians and even the media fear to take seriously. What we are witnessing is also a grassroots revolt against condescension. What are debunked as prejudices also matter.

Read the full opinion piece here.

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