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.

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

After Pathankot What?

Jihadi terrorism is the biggest threat to civilization as we know it, but what we saw in Pathankot last week cannot be dismissed as just another act of jihadi terrorism, writes Tavleen Singh in the ‘Fifth Column’ for The Indian Express.

Too many men have laid down their lives trying to keep us safe from an aggressor that is too cowardly to fight a real war. So the question is not whether our foreign secretaries should meet next week or the week after. The question is when should our military secretaries meet to have a more meaningful conversation about military matters.

A new kind of engagement with Pakistan is long, long overdue as is a new strategy on India’s part to deal more robustly with this ugly, undeclared war that has gone on too long.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Our Security Setup Is Stuck in Mountbatten-Ismay Era

The NSG is not Rambo. If Pathankot proved anything, it was this. Unlike chest-thumping, Rambo-type films or what passes for fighting terror in Hindi films like Holiday, defence operations are extremely complex and, when they go wrong, highly emotive, writes Nalin Mehta in his column, ‘Academic Interest’ for The Times of India.

By now, everything that needed to be said about the Pathankot attack has been said –– why the Army was not in charge, the absence of single command-and-control, the need for NSG when crack Army Special Forces were nearby, the failure of Punjab Police, NSA Ajit Doval’s crisis management and the embarrassing ministerial free-for-all in the government’s communications policy. We are now habituated to this drill of despair. Each big terror attack brings an avalanche of such tactical questions. They wring our collective consciousness till the news cycle moves on, only to return again with the next attack.

Deeper questions on India’s security management never really get debated.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Yes, Pak Is Schizoid but Does India Know What It Wants?

The jihadis know why they are conducting suicide missions. Does India know what it wants from Pakistan? Asks Swapan Dasgupta in his column, ‘Right & Wrong‘ for The Times of India.

The options before India would have been simpler had there been a consensus that relations with Pakistan should be kept to a bare minimum and aimed merely at preventing a full-scale war.

Mere ‘friendship’ is too feeble a goal. A meaningful Pakistan policy must be prefaced on objectives that are noble enough to lose lives for.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Oil Windfall: Gone with the Wind

There is nothing extraordinary about the actual receipts or expenditure of government so far. No department is expected to spend more than the budgeted amount, writes P Chidambaram in column, ‘Across the Aisle’ for The Indian Express.

Why is the government shy to admit that it has reaped an oil windfall? In May 2014, Brent crude oil was selling at USD 109.5 per barrel. In September 2014, it was selling at USD 97.5 per barrel, and then the crash began.

We got a windfall. And it has gone with the wind.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Stand up for Free Speech, in Memory of Charlie Hebdo

Free speech can be curtailed if it calls for violence or criminality. With that caveat, all have the right to freely express opinions (no matter how zany), or crack jokes (no matter how poor), or draw cartoons (no matter how offensive), writes SA Aiyar in his column, ‘Swaminomics’ for The Times of India.

All Indian intellectuals condemned the killing of the French cartoonists, but some also condemned the supposed insult to Islam. Some seemed as critical of the cartoonists as the killers. This reminds me of the hypocrisy of the Hindutva crowd that condemned Hindu mob killing of a supposed beefeater in Dadri, but added that beef-eating would naturally inflame offended Hindus and have unfortunate consequences.

Offence is inherent in the very structure of different faiths. Tolerance lies in appreciating that one’s own beliefs are insulting to others, and hence not taking offence at others, and always avoiding violence.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Free Basics May Not Be Totally on the Mark but Don’t Trash It

A lack of understanding of what is a complex issue has led to Free Basics opponents painting Mark as a control freak and Facebook as the evil MNC empire. Its PR blitz (somewhat over the top with expensive ads featuring poor farmers) alone has created detractors, writes Chetan Bhagat in his column, ‘The Underage Optimist’ for The Times of India.

Our government is not able to provide services to the extent desired. Involving the private sector is thus necessary and inevitable. From public transport apps to free internet providers, we should welcome such initiatives and not paint them as villains.

Free Basics is welcome, Mark, but only with a bit of free, basic common sense.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Any Better Choice than Amita Paul for High Commissioner to Canada?

Unfortunately, I doubt if Ms Paul has got the recognition she deserves. In fact, I’d be very surprised if she hasn’t been made to suffer for what she did, writes Karan Thapar in his column forHindustan Times.

Late one night Ms Paul summoned Dipankar for urgent advice. She had stumbled upon something unsettling and wanted to consult someone. That’s when the story started to emerge.

Earlier that day, in her ‘kacheri’, Amita Paul had come across a Sikh who, as Dipankar put it, was “all trussed-up”. Actually, that’s a euphemism but I don’t want the gory and disturbing details to distract you. This story leads in a different direction.

In India such good deeds are more likely to arouse suspicion than bring forth praise.

Read the full opinion piece here.

The Famous 1,009: An Innings or an Indulgence?

Is there a parallel to Pranav Dhanawade’s feat in that particular under-16 inter-school match? Asks Dilip D’Souza in his column, ‘Play-by-Play’ for Mint on Sunday.

A thousand runs is an exceptional feat by any standard in any grade of cricket. Dhanawade had to have tremendous focus and energy over the six hours and more he batted. There is no doubting any of that. Congratulations to him and I truly wish he goes far in cricket.

Mayhem, accolades... but let’s have the dilemma too. The scorecard of the match makes for peculiar, somewhat pathetic reading. After all, his highest score of the season so far had been just 80.

Read the full opinion piece here.

The Uplifting Film Trailer You’ll Never Get to See

8.30pm: Chomping on aloo parathas, I tell the man of the house, ‘It is good to be back home to all this — hot parathas, drinking masala chai, reading the newspapers. Hey, that reminds me, did you see Adnan Sami draped around the Indian flag on the front page today? Writes Twinkle Khanna’s in her column, ‘Mrs Funnybones’ for The Times of India.

At first glance, I thought it was a poster of your movie Airlift, with the tiranga jhanda and all, till I realized it was the lift kara de guy, Adnan. God must have airlifted him straight from Pakistan to India.

So, I visualize a promo for Airlift — footage of exploding jeeps and machine guns firing in the background and suddenly up pops Adnan Sami, holding the Indian flag as he sings his famous song again, “Mujhko bhi to lift kara de, mujhko aeroplane dila de, ek nahin, do char dila de.” Won’t that be amazing?’

The man of the house pretends to choke on his paratha and starts making gagging sounds.

Argh! Next time I won’t lift a finger to help him.

Read the full story here.

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