Sunday View: The Best Weekend Reads Curated For You
Sunday Reads: The Bollywood approach on Kashmir, can Trump change US & Coke Studio re-writing rules in Pakistan.
1. Can Donald Trump change what 9/11 couldn’t?
In a sparsely filled flight of less than 50 passengers, 15 years ago, journalist Chidananda Rajghatta met Mr Abusaleh Shariff an economist and researcher from India. It was the first flight to the US after 9/11 had disrupted air traffic. Mr Rajghatta wrote a piece soon after, noting how he waited in the baggage area to see if Mr Abusaleh would have any trouble, and how he breezed through even faster than Mr Rajghatta did.
Since then he checks on Mr Abusaleh Shariff almost every five years to know if things have changed in US. Nothing seems to have changed for Mr Shariff, except the fact that he has now applied for a Green Card to be with his son in US.
In his blog for Times of India Mr Rajghatta asks, can Donald Trump change what 9/11 couldn’t?
“In 1984, thousands of Sikhs were massacred on the streets of Delhi and across North India, a great, proud Indian community punished for the infractions of a few. Less than a decade later, a Sikh finance minister helped restore India’s economic health. In the US, only about seven years after 9/11, the American electorate propelled a man named Barack Hussein Obama to the White House...This is the stuff of great democracies. They are capacious and commodious, qualities that lesser nations lack.”Chidananda Rajghatta in TOI.
2. Fifth column: 9/11 and its aftermath
On the contrary Tavleen Singh in her regular column for the Indian Express opines that the world changed forever 15 years ago i.e. on 11th September. She writes:
Everywhere that there are Muslims we see the effects of this and everywhere there are Muslims we see excuses for why the allure is so strong. The excuses began immediately after 9/11, with millions of Muslims across the world refusing to accept that it was in the name of Islam that those airplanes were hijacked….The biggest threat to Islam today comes from Islamism, but most world leaders hesitate to say this.Tavleen Singh in Indian Express.
Highlighting how countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, ‘have become visibly more Islamist’ after 9/11 she concludes:
The only possibility of preventing jihadi Islam from putting roots deep into Indian soil is to defend aggressively the religious and secular values that have always defined India. European countries that failed to stand up for their own values today have serious problems with jihadi Islam. We must learn from their mistakes.
3. When security of separatist groups becomes statecraft
“Security is another name for surveillance,” writes Vinod Sharma for Hindustan Times. Arguing that, listening to and providing security to the separatist leaders in Kashmir, is a strategy India cannot afford to change he writes:
The Indian State will face the security fall-out from harm coming to any Hurriyat leader -one among whom, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is the head priest of Kashmir. If nothing else, the Hurriyat prevents a wholesale transfer of the insurgency’s levers to Pakistan: they’re pro-Pakistan but they aren’t in Pakistan.Vinod Sharma in Hindustan Times.
Quoting former R&AW chief RN Kao from veteran journalist Asoka Raina’s book- Inside RAW, he summarises:
We’ve to ensure that they aren’t bumped off...Feeble or strong, they can be our line of communication to the protesters.RN Kao in Asoka Raina’s book ‘Inside RAW’
4. Across the aisle: Near collapse of justice-delivery system
“The standoff between the Collegium and the government is accelerating the collapse of the justice-delivery system in India,” writes P Chidambaram in his column for the Indian Express. Vacancies in the High Courts and Supreme Court have reached alarming proportions. The data for pendency of cases is even more frightening. More than 62,657 cases are pending in Supreme Court and close to 38,70,373 cases are waiting to see justice in the High Court. Suggesting a way forward he writes:
The government may be aiming at a ‘perfect’ MoP (Memorandum of Procedure) in which elements of the NJAC could be incorporated. The government must give up the subterfuge. The only way to assert Parliament’s sovereign right — if Parliament wishes to do so — is to enact a new Constitution Amendment Act that will pass muster.P Chidambaram in Indian Express.
5. Out of my mind: Kashmir pattern repeats itself
With the cliched cast of separatists, Hurriyat, jihadists, military and diplomatic elements, the story of Kashmir will repeat it self. “There will be more shootings, more funerals, more pellet bullets till the next all-party parliamentary delegation,” writes Meghnad Desai for Indian Express.
Did any one suggest not sending elderly MPs but some young people from the rest of India to talk to their contemporaries? Does any serious study or polling exist of what the rioting young think or want? Why not a round table, a nationwide live teach-in to find out what the young of Kashmir and the rest of India think? Or do we just presume that they want jobs but they are seduced by the separatists? Don’t worry. Just shout: Kashmir is an integral part of India. Then shoot.Meghnad Desai in the Indian Express.
6. Pakistan on a song
Coke Studio Pakistan is loved across borders. In the times of crisis and an ever turbulent Pakistan it is, “becoming a respite from all things terrorism. From things with discordant undertones in Pakistan. It showcased a broad-minded, secular and slightly indulgent side of the nation, something people needed.”
Coke Studio Pakistan has brought some of the finest India and Pakistan singers, artists, musicians together. Suanshu Khurana in her column for the Indian Express writes how, ‘a musical equilibrium is taking shape amid the turbulence of politics.’
“It puts out a liberal and compassionate philosophy, which embraces folk music, artistes and lyrics of tolerance, bringing a sort of social revolution at a time when Pakistan is going through situations its people don’t deserve.”Suanshu Khurana in the Indian Express.
7. In this country of job-seekers, who’s going to make Bharat mahan?
“If we are to build a giant modern economy, who is going to do it?,” asks Aakar Patel in his regular column Aakarvani. Arguing that the Indian urban middle class is not entrepreneurial, uninterested in physical activity and thus invention, he questions their ‘ability’ and ‘confidence’ to try their hand at a business.
The fact is that in a nation unable to escape the culture of caste through individualism, our talent pool is limited…An example of this difference is to be found in the Indian media, today almost entirely owned by Banias. The few Khatris and Aroras left in it (surnames like Purie and Bahl come to mind) have had to seek investment from or be bailed out by Banias. And these are, as we know, a very small part of the population.Aakar Patel in TOI.
Presuming that India is really on a threshold of economic greatness. Aakar Patel asks:
Who is going to take us there? That is not being discussed. It should be because I cannot see who.
8. The new normal!
Do you find it tough to settle down to the New Normal?
Life frequently shakes its patterns, expecting you to get out of your comfort zone and gear up for new. This happens more frequently than we may want or can cope with. The technology and consumer goods revolution has further created a new normal which is to use and throw, and bring in some more!
Vinita Dwara Nangia in her column for TOI suggests ways to get normal to the ‘new normal’ every time.
How does one ensure a smooth transit from ‘normal’ to the ‘new normal’? The only way is to give yourself some time in stillness, getting used to new patterns. Understand that the only normal is change and each change challenges our potential...that the new normal too changes to give way to a yet newer normal.Vinita Dwara Nangia in TOI.
9. ‘Generics are a lifeline’
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors without Borders, the international humanitarian medical aid organisation primarily functional in conflict and crisis ridden countries, has relied heavily on generic drugs. Much of which has been sourced from India. Jerome Oberreit, Secretary General of MSF, in an interview to The Hindu’s A. Rangarajan talks about the murkiness of pharma industry and policy paralysis.
The current bio-medical innovation paradigm that seeks to reward R&D through monopolies and high drug prices. Cash-rich pharmaceutical companies have not taken up R&D in antibiotic development because they must be affordable and should be used sparingly. Instead they focus on drugs that are necessitated by life-long treatments like cancer cure and other conditions. They spend more on sales and marketing than R&D. Bio medical innovation should be responsive to needs.Jerome Oberreit, Secretary General of MSF
Highlighting the role of generic drugs in saving lives he believes ‘innovation and access’ to all is the only way forward.
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