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

We sifted through the papers to find the best opinion reads so that you won’t have to.

6 min read
Nothing like your morning cuppa and a newspaper on a Sunday. 

Hathras is a Mirror

There is a Supreme Court judgment that if a woman says she was raped then this testimony is enough. But, Yogi Adityanath seems to have his own interpretation of the law, writes Talveen Singh in her column for The Indian Express, pointing out that his police force went to extraordinary lengths to prove that the survivor was not raped. She argues what happened in Hathras has come as a grotesque reminder of how important it is for the system to change.

The reason why the Hathras story has shaken us so deeply is because it has become a mirror in which we see the flaws of Indian democracy, and the sight is frightening. We see that the men in charge of enforcing the law have not discovered yet that their fundamental duty is to protect the people and not the government. They do not understand this because neither the training of the police nor that of the administrative service has changed since the British left. The British set up a system that was founded on the colonial idea that the duty of administrators and law enforcement officials was to protect the government. This is exactly what our officials still do.
Talveen Singh in The Indian Express

The Political Aftermath of 6 December 1992

From undermining the secular credentials of India to decades of violence, the demolition of Babari Masjid has changed India. Since then, there have been multiple landmark judgements on the issue and the key political actors who were at the forefront in 1992 in different capacities have either died or become marginalised. Does this mean closure? Chanakya in the column for The Hindustan Times says no.

The Babri Masjid demolition seriously eroded rule of law in India, with long-lasting consequences. There is often a tension between popular politics and law. Mass politics does not always comply by strict legal boundaries, and may even seek to change the legal architecture. But laws are in place to ensure that all forces play by the rules of the game. This did not happen that day in Ayodhya — and it has enabled greater impunity for hate crimes and communal violence, especially under political cover, ever since.
Chanakya in The Hindustan Times

Who am I? An Oppressed Dalit, A Suppressed Woman?

Cases of rape against Dalit or tribal women are portrayed as unexceptional by the media. More often, narratives of such events tend to emphasise on the ‘gender’ aspect by disregarding the ‘caste’ identity of the victim and the pattern of impunity in the attacks on Dalit women, writes Pranali Yengde in The Indian Express.

Psychologist Noam Shpancer detailed evolutionary psychological reasons for rape. Men rape women because they tend to be physically stronger by genetic design; therefore, they rape because they can with impunity. He further outlined five types of rapists, in which opportunistic rapists are the kinds who rape because they can, with low risk of punishment. There is a pattern of impunity in the attacks on Dalit women. On the one hand, Dalit women are regarded as impure, while at the same time, their bodies are used as a medium of rage/punishment against the community.
Pranali Yengde in The Indian Express

The Fault Dear Brutus is in our Cars

Upala Sen in her column for The Telegraph guides us towards a serious problem in Uttar Pradesh - rouge cars. The car ferrying wanted gangster Vikas Dubey overturned leading to a shootout, Dubey’s aide was killed in a shootout after the car he was travelling in had a flat tyre and months earlier, the car carrying the Unnao girl who had accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar and his driver of raping her met with a road accident. The fault dear Brutus is in our cars, she says.

In August this year, the UP government released figures to show that crime in the state was on a tight leash — 2,032 murders in January-July from 2,204 last year; rapes down to 1,216. In the last three years there have been 6,000-plus “encounters”. Of course, at last check, road accidents in UP resulted in 23,000 deaths in a year. Bad vehicles. In the Hathras tragedy there is no car to pass the buck onto, only an overturned law and order system and reports about a severed tongue.
Upala Sen in The Telegraph

What I Admired About Jaswant Singh, Writes Karan Thapar

Jaswant Singh was an enigma, writes Karan Thapar in his column for The Hindustan Times. He describes the late leader as a nationalist and a great Indian, who believed Jawaharlal Nehru and Mountbatten were as much to blame for Partition as Jinnah. He adds that Singh’s words hold up mirror to today’s BJP.

The point he made needs to be underlined in today’s India. He didn’t care what his party thought of his scholarship. It was the “truth” as he saw it. Such courage and conviction is rare. In Indian politics, it’s probably unique.
Karan Thapar in The Hindustan Times

Farm Laws - not Choice, Just Noise

In his column for The Indian Express, P Chidambaram writes about the controversial agriculture bill. He takes on the government’s argument that farmers in India are tied to the APMC. The former finance minister writes that 94 per cent of farmers are selling outside of the APMC and the new farm laws actually reinforce the status quo with all its imperfections.

The Modi government’s new laws do not create these thousands of alternative farmers’ markets. On the contrary, by allowing private traders including corporates to conclude private agreements, and installing a convoluted and bureaucratic dispute resolution mechanism (to the exclusion of civil courts), the government has tilted the scales even more against the farmers. Besides, once private unregulated trade outside the APMC is legalised, there will be a powerful incentive for traders to de-register themselves from the APMC.
P Chidambaram in The Indian Express 

India’s Huge Current Account Surplus is a Bane, not Boon

While most countries worry about a current account deficit, India had a record current account surplus of $19.8 billion (3.9% of GDP) in the April-June quarter. Is this good news? No, says Swaminathan S Aiyar in his column for The Times of India. According to him, this trend reflects economic mismanagement.

In this quarter, India’s GDP contracted by a whopping 24%, among the highest rates globally. This was because India imposed the strictest lockdown on movement and economic activity in the world. Most recessions are caused by a sudden fall in demand despite government efforts to boost it. But this time the recession was caused by the government itself, forcing a lockdown of the economy to control Covid.
Swaminathan S Aiyar in The Times of India

We Need Women in the Manufacturing Sector

While there are efforts being made to facilitate the growth of women entrepreneurs, encourage more women to enter the health care sector and even IT sector, perhaps an area which has been neglected and sorely needs attention is manufacturing and heavy industries, writes Lalita Panicker in her column for The Hindustan Times.

This is where the fillip that the New Education Policy plans to give to vocational training could help. In countries such as Germany, vocational education is seen as attractive and a route to employment, whereas, in India, it is looked down upon, something that a person who could not get into a conventional degree course would opt for.
Lalita Panicker in The Hindustan Times. 

Facebook Controversy has Shown That Free Speech Just an Excuse to Polarise

Facebook has now become an uncontrollable Frankenstein, a gargantuan monster that is capable of slaying democracies, upending social behaviour and destroying fragile minds, writes Sanjay Jha in this column for The Times of India. In the context of Indian politics, he says that with Facebook’s ‘compromised ethical commitments’, instead of staying neutral it would cosy up to the Congress party, as it has with the BJP, if former wins the 2024 elections.

The right-wing strategy also works on Facebook because it has no compunctions in twisting facts to suit its political narrative that is mostly impregnated with negative emotions: fear, insecurity, anger, threat, danger, enemy, hate, etc. It appeals to our basic instincts, our core susceptibilities. Secular, liberal fundamentalists are comparatively boring; their playbook is anodyne. Facebook has created a Zuckerbergfication of political communication; anything works, the more outrageous the better. Free speech is the excuse to create social polarisation.
Sanjay Jha in The Times of India
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