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

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

5 min read
Hindi Female

How to Diminish Parliamentary Democracy

In his piece for The Indian Express, P chidambaram lists out possible reasons why the U.S.-based Freedom House downgraded India to a “partially free democracy”, the V-Dem Institute of Sweden described India as an “electoral autocracy”, and India slipped in rank in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index. He writes, “In this decline, both Houses of Parliament and their members have played their part.” 

The Prime Minister, if he is a member of the Lok Sabha, is the Leader of the House. Prime Minister Modi is the leader of the 17th Lok Sabha. He is rarely present in either House. He replies to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address every year. I cannot recall any other major intervention by him. PM Modi does not answer questions in Parliament; usually a minister speaks on his behalf. 

A New Deal to Protect India’s Gig Workers? 

In his piece for Hindustan Times, Gautam Bhatia writes about the significance of Rajasthan’s announcement that the state will enact a law for the protection of gig workers. He succinctly points out that India’s gig workers exist in a "legal vacuum".

While attempts have been made to ensure welfare measures for gig workers through public interest litigation, it is obvious that welfare cannot be judicially enforced; and furthermore, the question of whether gig workers are employees instead of independent contractors — and, therefore, come within the ambit of labour law — is still undecided.   

Rahul Gandhi Wins This Round 

In her weekly column for The Indian Express, Tavleen Singh questions why the Prime Minister was "personally instigated" by Rahul Gandhi’s comments in England. She deliberates on how the Parliament’s Budget Session was stalled all week because of the hysteria whipped up by Modi’s ministers and MPs in their determination to make Rahul apologize the same.

It is true that Rahul chose his words incautiously when he said that democracy had died in India and that it was for democratic countries to sit up and take notice because ‘Indian democracy is a public good.’ But he did not ask Western democratic leaders to intervene in India’s internal affairs and he did not say anything that can be considered an insult to India. 

Tech Layoffs | It’s Not Just Spring Cleaning, It’s Future-proofing as Well

In the Deccan Herald, Srinath Sridharan talks about the tens of thousands of lay-offs by tech giants like Meta this week at a time when they have also announced billions of dollars of investments into newer technologies, especially AI.

He asks, "It is obvious to wonder if these tech giants, despite their vast resources of finances and talented people, do not understand the basics of talent-hiring or business management? Or is it a hire-use-throw-fire model?" 

"Layoffs in the tech industry will a regular feature, as these entities must remain competitive and continuously profitable in a sector that is routinely being disrupted with emerging technologies. Thus, the entities would rather disrupt their organisational structures quicker than they can get disrupted. As for the war for talent, it never goes away in the tech area. This is not just right-sizing, but right-stocking of talent." 

Demolitions of Homeless Shelters in Delhi Show a Lack of Compassion, and a Disrespect for the Court 

In his piece for The Indian Express, Harsh Mander writes about the recent shelter home demolitions in Delhi and how it disregards a Supreme Court order passed 12 years ago. He delves into the background of the court order, referring to it as a "lighthouse for organisations working with homeless people in many countries around the world”.  

What appears more than likely is that the homeless shelters were demolished to implement a grandiose plan to “beautify” the national capital for heads of G20 countries who will assemble in Delhi later this year. Slums are eyesores and destitute homeless settlements are even more so, ugly embarrassing protuberances that the vishwa guru — a country destined to lead the world by its shining example – must erase. 

Discovering a Film Within a Film 

In her piece for The New Indian Express, Namrata Joshi opines that Naatu Naatu’s Best Original Song win at the Oscars is "seminal" for Indian cinema music history in "fresh and unforeseen ways".

The recognition of this song will push composers to embrace the local. It will push choreographers to not compromise on physical performances. It will push filmmakers to create an unforgettable visual experience—which, in turn, will accentuate the appeal of the song (as it has happened with Naatu Naatu). Naatu Naatu is a wholesome salute to the performative roots of Indian film music—the Natya Shastra, and theatre and folk traditions like jatra, lavni, pandvani and more. 

All’s Not Fair in Love and War 

Leher Kala starts her piece in The Indian Express with the recent Calcutta High court verdict in a divorce case that allowed a 13-year-old boy to choose which parent he wanted to stay with. She discusses divorces in India, and how the culture paints a "rose-tinted view of marriage".

Officially, India has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world; less than 2% marriages end, a suspiciously low number that just doesn’t add up with the reality around us. It isn’t always big issues like abuse or alcoholism that cause a split; sometimes, there’s simply nothing going on and both people are better off apart. A previous generation didn’t see a lack of compatibility as a good enough reason to end things. 

It’s America That Can End War in Ukraine 

In his piece in Deccan Chronicle, Pavan K Varma looks back at the discussions that took place at the book launch of ‘In Hard Times: Security in a Time of Insecurity’, which contains essays by prominent people such as Lieutenant-General D.S. Hooda and Sanjaya Baru. Shashi Tharoor was the other panelist along with Varma at the launch.

Shashi and I disagreed on our response to the Russian-Ukraine war. He felt that India, in accordance with the principles it has always stood for, should have been more categorical in condemning the Russian invasion. My view was that the US and Nato’s outrage is somewhat hypocritical considering their own arbitrary invasions of other countries without any international sanction, such as Iraq, Libya, Serbia and Afghanistan, among others.   

BJP’s Actions Amplify Rahul’s Prominence

In his piece for The New Indian Express, Prabhu Chawla points out how Rahul Gandhi has become the talk of the town owing to the BJP’s "scorched earth politics". He refers to Rajnath Singh’s recent comment on how Rahul Gandhi "insulted India in London".

Why does it suddenly look as if the BJP needs Rahul more than Rahul needs the BJP as Enemy No 1? Modi’s usual style is to soar with vindication than be sour with vindictiveness in spite of the Gandhi Parivar and its lickspittles spewing scabrously spiteful swill on him like ‘maut ka saudagar’, ‘Ravan’ and ’chai-wala.’  

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