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

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

5 min read
How about some nice hot coffee and thought provoking reading?

By Dividing, We Fall

Commenting on the recent elections in the United States of America and the Indian state of Bihar, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram says that the driving force behind deepening divisions in both countries is ethno-nationalism.

In his column for The Indian Express, Chidambaram writes that while in the United States, Joe Biden won the Presidential elections with his message of “healing the divisions”, there is no party in India that can provide a counter-narrative to the politics of PM Modi.

“My conclusion is that the divisions will continue and may even deepen in the US as well as in India. The US will be hurt, definitely socially, but the economy may still flourish, attract investment, create jobs and provide a cushion for the poor. India will be badly hurt, the society will be divided, the economy will register indifferent and tepid growth, the poor will remain poor, and economic inequality will increase.”
P Chidambaram in The Indian Express.

From Bihar, a Message for Indian politics

Analysing margin of votes, political strategy and performance of political parties, Barkha Dutt breaks down the Bihar election results in her piece for the Hindustan Times.

Dutt says the biggest lesson from Bihar assembly elections serves to remind us of the possibility that there may not be an opposition at the national level.

“After a fantastic performance for the RJD in the first phase (31 seats to the BJP’s 12), the party tripped and fell by the third phase of voting. By contrast, the BJP fanned out and spread the word, door-to-door, on the return of what it calls “jungle raj’, creating an effective counter consolidation. Ironically, it was this phase that the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) expected to ace because of the high number of Muslim voters."
Barkha Dutt in the Hindustan Times.

Nitish 4.0, not Nitish 4ever: This Election Revealed Tejashwi Yadav as a Rising Star of Bihar Politics

Analysing the recently concluded Bihar election results, Ramesh Thakur writes about the appeal of Tejashwi Yadav versus a ‘tired’ Nitish Kumar in his column for The Times of India.

“Tejashwi’s energy and vibrancy were in sharp contrast to Nitish’s staleness, tiredness and uncharacteristic irritability. Most importantly, Tejashwi broadened the RJD’s electoral appeal beyond the Muslim-Yadav base by shifting from a caste based campaign for social justice to a class based call for economic justice: kamai, dawai, padhai, sichai aur mehengai. These demands resonated with those who’ve been buffeted the worst by deteriorating economic conditions and were angered by Nitish’s callous indifference to the plight of migrant labourers returning home to Bihar amidst the pandemic.”
Ramesh Thakur in The Times of India.

Covid-19: Preserving the Gains on Education

Writing about imparting education during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Namita Bhandare asserts the need to reimagine learning with ‘a big dose of empathy’.

In her column for the Hindustan Times, she stresses on the need for institutional aid as a measure to counter economic disparities.

“Some fledgling efforts have been launched. Alumni of colleges and schools have stepped up to raise funds for devices for students in need. St. Stephen’s alumni have raised ₹200,000 so far. That’s a tiny drop in Delhi University, where 42% of students say they lack devices, connectivity or finances for data packs. What about rural India where only 15% of households have internet?”
Namita Bhandare in Hindustan Times.

Milind Soman Case: Skin in The Game

After a complaint was registered against Milind Sonam by Goa Suraksha Manch, for running naked on a beach, Leher Kala looks at all sides to the argument in her piece on The Indian Express.

She analyses how the very real threat of political fringe elements affects freedom of expression and how nudity in India has historically only been accepted in artistic framework.

“The irony is that today, a creative that features adults minus clothes is unthinkable, no matter how original the storyboard. No advertiser will risk the wrath of political fringe elements like the Karni Sena. It explains why Tanishq, a Tata company, swiftly withdrew a heartwarming ad on interfaith marriage at the first threat of violence last month.”
Leher Kala in The Indian Express.

Trump’s Biggest Legacy: Singlehandedly, he Turned Around the Direction of America’s China policy

In his column for The Times of India, Nayan Chandan deconstructs how over the four years that Donald Trump was US President, his administration slowly tried to build defences against Beijing’s aggressive push to gain economic and technological supremacy over the US.

“Of course, the transactional Trump has been anything but consistent. From blaming China for “raping” the US with its mercantilist policy to offering his good friend Xi Jinping “beautiful cake” at Mar-a-Lago, to blaming China for unleashing the “Wuhan virus” Trump has been all over the place. But thanks to a group of committed China hands working behind the scenes, policies that had long benefited China’s export machine and its military have been chipped away. Their action has been backed by most of the Democratic leadership. They have tried to compensate for the Clinton administration’s naive trust in turning China towards democracy by the power of the market.”
Nayan Chandan in The Times of India.

We Have a Choice, to Deactivate That Profile

Speaking about the consequences social media has on our life, Suraj Yengde writes that it not an uncool thing to deactivate your profile.

In his column in The Indian Express, he says that while we have given birth ‘to this pessimistic fatality’, now it is up to every person to make important choices.

“The story of social media is brutal and very depressing. As you descend into an abyss of trauma and helplessness, do look up and around, you will find more darkness. We gave birth to this pessimistic fatality and now it is upon us to make choices. Like climate change, this is progressing very fast, and unless we reverse it, we may not be able to survive.”
Suraj Yengde in The Indian Express.

May Diwali Bring Hope This Vile Year

In her column for The Indian Express, Tavleen Singh says she wants to talk about things that ‘may help us all get into a festive mood’.

This, for her, includes celebrating the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the abrogation of Article 370 and the New Education Policy.

“On the political front, may I say, as I did once before recently, that the abrogation of Article 370 was a good step even if the aftermath was badly handled. At the risk of more brickbats from retired officials and Kashmiri politicians, I am going to repeat that Article 370 had to go. It had to go because it served mostly to encourage the average Kashmiri to think that it is only a matter of time before he gets ‘azadi’ from India. The leaders of this former state know well that this is never going to happen. The leaders of Pakistan know well that this is never going to happen but, because of the special status that Article 370 provided, continued to pretend that Kashmir would one day be absorbed into the Islamic Republic.”
Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express

For Joe Biden, From the Jawaharlal Nehru of 1945

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in his column in Hindustan Times, quotes India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru from his writing that would become ‘The Discovery of India’.

“Writing in his Ahmednagar cell Nehru said: “Unity is always better than disunity but an enforced unity is a sham and dangerous affair, full of explosive possibilities. Unity must be of the head and heart, a sense of belonging together…” Biden is speaking of that belonging together. He knows what he has inherited. On this anniversary, we may ask: “Do we know what we are inheriting?” Are Nehru and Patel gardening India today?”
Gopalkrishna Gandhi in Hindustan Times.
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