Hard Talk, Hard Times
Commenting on the bitter differences between the Supreme Court and the Executive on the appointments of judges, P Chidambaram writes in The Indian Express about how stalling appointments has become a regular practice under the Narendra Modi government.
The downside has been that several meritorious lawyers have declined to be considered for judgeship if the appointment had been stalled for months. He opined that the Executive cannot be totally excluded from the process of selecting potential judges.
If the standoff continues, the situation will only get worse. There will be more vacancies. More vacancies will mean more, not less, difficulty in filling them. There will be more ‘declines’ and ‘withdrawals’. The legal system, already under considerable strain, will collapse. None will be sadder than the Judges, none will be happier than the Executive. The losers will be the people of India, especially those knocking on the doors of the Courts seeking justice.P Chidambaram in The Indian Express
What Ails the Parliament?
Claiming that the efficacy of the Parliament has been steadily undermined due to the creative use of parliamentary rules, Manish Tewari writes about the Question Hour in an article in Deccan Chronicle. The increasing virulence with which this rule, and other such rules, are being manipulated, shows an eroding public trust in parliamentary proceedings. He opined that robust reforms involving a change in the timings of the Question Hour and increasing the number of oral questions could help improve parliamentary oversight.
Paradoxically, information provided under the Right to Information Act, 2005, is more comprehensive and detailed as compared to questions by representatives of the people asked in the national legislature. This flippancy is designed to escape parliamentary scrutiny. Unless public officials are held accountable in the hallowed portals of the legislature, democracy is rendered meaningless.Manish Tewari in Deccan Chronicle
The Curious Case of Counting Terrorists
Referring to a statement made by a senior police officer that there are 81 active terrorists in the Kashmir valley as of now, Karan Thapar questioned in his piece in Hindustan Times, how this data could be precise. He stated that he was dumbfounded by the acuity of such data presented by policemen in Jammu and Kashmir.
The bigger point the ADGP made was that, of the 64 that have been killed, 57 had joined terrorism only a month before their death. Again, how does he know? And if he knows when they joined, why weren't they stopped or, at least, caught? But those questions weren't asked.Karan Thapar in The Hindustan Times
In a Democracy, We Need All the Stories, All Voices...
In the light of the comment made by Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, jury head of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, about the film The Kashmir Files, Patralekha Chatterjee writes that in a democracy every filmmaker has the right to portray a movie the way he wants. And the viewers have every right to love, detest, or ignore the film and also point out inaccuracies. The right to embrace, reject, or be indifferent to any piece of art does not mean the right to instigate violence, she writes in Deccan Chronicle.
Can there be one way of telling a story? The answer, in my view, is a resolute “no,” be these stories in words, or celluloid, or those we tell each other. Tragedy plays out in searing ways. In the adult world, we suffer, we grieve, we rage, but not always in the same way or about the same things. No suffering should ever be delegitimised. But the way we tell it, the story, will always be different. We learn to co-exist. In a democracy, we need all the stories, all the voices. None should be snuffed out.Patralekha Chatterjee in Deccan Chronicle
So Kind of You, Mr Rawal
In a satirical piece, Upala Sen writes in The Telegraph about how Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Paresh Rawal during a rally clubbed Bengalis, Bangladeshis, and Rohingyas into one; though the first term refers to a linguistic identity, the second refers to the citizens of a country, and the third is the name for those following a certain faith in another country.
They had created solidarity memes hashtagged #manUnkind #hooklinethenstinker and sent them to the Bombay bhetki, hybrid magur, hybrid tilapia, Andhra rohu and catla, the amodi, bhola and shol. A miffed Padma ilish WhatsApped the ilish in Myanmar an eyeroll, a wink and these words --- Rawalatt Act 2.0.Upala Sen in The Telegraph
This Navy Day, Let’s Focus On Building a Strong Navy to Meet India’s Global Aspirations
In an article in The Indian Express, Arun Prakash writes that the 30-month-long Sino-Indian military impasse in the Himalayas and China’s strategic posturing in the South China Sea serve as pointers for India that maritime power will have a critical role to play as an instrument of state policy in future outcomes. He opined that the national security elite must conceive a comprehensive “maritime vision” and articulate it in a “National Strategy for Maritime Security.”
The navy’s bold vision saw its pinnacle in 2013 when Cochin Shipyard Ltd launched India’s largest indigenously designed and built warship – an aircraft carrier. Commissioned in September 2022 by the Prime Minister as (the reincarnated) INS Vikrant, the conception and successful completion of this complex project signified a major achievement for our naval staff, ship designers, and builders.Arun Prakash in Hindustan Times
Review of Reviews
As this week coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the release of Richard Attenborough’s epic film Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha pens a piece in The Telegraph collating varied reviews of the film. In his opinion, the movie was superficial, yet a good watch. He elaborated that Gandhi was sensitively and movingly portrayed while some of Gandhi’s most remarkable contemporaries and rivals, such as BR Ambedkar and Subhas Chandra Bose, mystifyingly did not feature in the film at all.
On December 2 1982, the prime minister wrote to her American friend, Dorothy Norman, saying: “The Gandhi film has opened with much fanfare. It is impressive. It is good for the world to know what Gandhiji stood for. Yet for those who lived through those times, the film is a spectacle, grand and powerful, yet lacking some essential quality in the spirit that is India. The tragedy is that no Indian film maker has been inspired by the greatness and the drama of that magnificent mass movement or the remarkable men and women (almost every district has its heroes and heroines) who led it. Gandhiji was the crest of the wave. The film makes him a dramatic ‘superstar’ type of messiah — not more than he was but rather less by diminishing the other factors.”Ramachandra Guha in The Telegraph
The Tiny Titans
A census by scientists at the University of Hong Kong has revealed that there are at least 2.5 million ants for every human. Farhad Manjoo writes in his piece in The Telegraph that even after millions of years of evolution, ants have figured out how to multiply without depleting the world around them; and in fact, providing important functions to their habitats that makes them “the little things that run the world.”
Wilson pointed out that if people were to disappear, little about the world would change for the worse; if ants and other invertebrates did, nearly everything would suffer. Ants aerate soil, transport seeds, and aid in decomposition; their mounds serve as dense nutrient oases that are a foundation for a wide range of life. Given their centrality to life on the planet, not to mention their teeming populations, shouldn’t we think more highly of ants? They are among the most sophisticated and successful life-forms ever to crawl the earth.Farhad Manjoo in The Telegraph
Miriam Rider: Librarian for Foreign Scribes – And for the Ages
Chidanand Rajghatta takes us back to a time, when Youtube, Zoom, and Google were not a part of our every day reality. Offering a tribute to Miriam Rider, the librarian at the Foreign Press Center (FPC) in Washington DC, he wrote in The Times of India about how Rider had helped the author and several correspondents with volumes of archival material, backgrounders, references, clips, articles, and transcripts that helped them pen journalistic work.
Today, almost every briefing and hearing and press conference is live-streamed, often on websites or on You Tube, and one can access it on a myriad devices. But back in the pre-streaming pre-youtube days, if you couldn’t dash between White House and State Department and Pentagon and the Hill for in person briefings, Miriam was always there at the Foreign Press Center with transcripts at the end of the day.Chidanand Rajghatta in The Times of India