Demonetisation: Three Dimensions
P Chidambaram, in his column for The Indian Express, dissects the recent Supreme Court judgment on demonetisation and explains the legal, political, and economic dimensions of the ruling. Here's an excerpt from his piece:
"The Court made some observations that will interest the reader: on the question whether the objectives of demonetization were achieved or not, the Court said that it did not have the expertise to go into the question. On the hardships faced by the people, the Court said that merely because some citizens have suffered hardships, that would not be a ground to hold the decision bad in law."P Chidambaram, for The Indian Express
Mukul Kesavan, in his blog for The Telegraph, opines that he "couldn't care less" about Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter and his "micromanagement of this microblogging platform," and makes a case for why social media – in spite of all its boons – is a space for narcissists.
"The pathos of social media is that it turns each one of us into a broadcasting station, trying to find a wavelength where sympathetic (or admiring) listeners will tune in. We're all AIR now, with the 'I' in the middle meaning just that. You could argue that all writing is egotistical. It is and it isn't. The difference between a tweet or a Facebook post on the one hand and an essay or a book on the other is that there is an impersonality about the second kind of writing that is absent from the first sort."Mukul Kesavan, for The Telegraph
A Shifting Political Narrative
In her column for The Indian Express, Tavleen Singh speculates that Congress leader Rahul Gandh and his Bharat Jodo Yatra are slowly making waves within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Her reasoning? A recent speech made by Home Minister Amit Shah in Tripura. Read on:
"When the second most powerful politician in India invokes Babur's name in the same breath as he attacks the Congress Party for not building the temple, it tells us a few things. It tells us that the Ram Temple will open just weeks before the next general election. And making the announcement now means that we can expect a campaign in which temples and Hindutva will be used to deepen the fault lines that exist between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus will be reminded that there are terrible wounds in this country’s past. And Muslims will be reminded that Muslim invaders caused those wounds."Tavleen Singh, for The Indian Express
Chicken Tikka Masala: For UK, the Murgis Come Home to Roost
Sandip Roy, in his column for The Times of India, addresses a mouthwatering subject – chicken tikka masala.
The piece, on the face of it, appears to be a tribute to Ali Ahmed Aslam, the Pakistani-Scottish chef credited with the invention of the world-famous savoury dish. It, however, quickly turns into a commentary on the layers of politics surrounding the South Asian diaspora in the United Kingdom.
"This is the immigrant dream story but also an example of the classic immigrant survival strategy – adopt and adapt. Of course, people often want the food of immigrants but not the people who cook it. The rise in popularity of chicken tikka masala did not neatly correlate to a decline in racism in Britain or block the Nationality and Borders bill, dubbed the anti-refugee bill, from passing in the British parliament in 2022."Sandip Roy, for The Times of India
Air India Incident: Why Do Indians Make Such Lousy Travellers?
In his piece for The Indian Express, Arjun Sengupta puts forth a sharp take on the recent Air India incident – wherein a male passenger urinated on a woman on the flight – and addresses a larger question: "Just why do Indians make such lousy co-passengers?" It's got a lot to do with the caste system, he argues.
"For civic sense to exist, every individual needs to feel equally responsible for the common good, not just in an abstract sense, but in real tangible terms (like not littering on the streets, for instance). Unfortunately, India is a society stratified along multiple lines, but majorly along the lines of caste. The institution of caste does not just divide society into sub-groups, by putting it on a hierarchy, it pits these groups against each other."Arjun Sengupta, for The Indian Express
Successors & Rising Stars: Cabinet Rejig To Reveal All
As talks of a Union Cabinet reshuffle begin, Pavan K Varma, in his column for Deccan Chronicle, discusses where the bigwigs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) currently stand and raises new questions about their futures. Here's an excerpt from his piece:
"Discussions also revolve around the current equation between the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The consensus is that the RSS needs Mr Modi; but does Mr Modi pay the customary respects to the RSS? Is the RSS concerned that the supreme personality cult of one man in the party, and the bigoted Hindutva agenda hijacked now by the likes of Bajrang Dal, are likely to be counter-productive for the BJP in the long run?"Pavan K Varma, for Deccan Chronicle
Budget, of the Government, by the Government, for the Government
As the Union government puts final touches to the budget this year, Yamini Aiyar, in her piece for Deccan Herald, reminds that to improve public spending in India, the budget must not ignore "people's realities."
"...every year, as I roll up my sleeves to prepare for 'budget season', I am reminded that scrutiny remains the privilege of the elite, policy wonk. The average citizen, whose everyday life depends on public expenditure, is consciously marginalised. In fact, it was my experience with planning and budgeting at the grassroots that nudged me to dive into the complicated (enough to turn your hair grey overnight) world of the Union budget."Yamini Aiyar, for Deccan Herald
Disinvestment: The Runaway Bride
Shankkar Aiyar, in his column for The New Indian Express, discusses India's revenue through disinvestment, opining that the gaps in the central government's promises and performance symbolise "the systemic inadequacies which haunt the disinvestment programme."
"Year after year after despite brave assertions the governments more often than not miss the disinvestment target. In the three decades since the entry of the phrase 'disinvestment' into the Indian political lexicon successive governments have flattered in the promise and faltered in performance. Since 1992 a sum of over Rs 11.6 lakh crore was targeted and less than half or Rs 5.6 lakh crore has been collected."Shankkar Aiyar, for The New Indian Express
The Problem-Solving Society
Ashwin Mahesh, in his piece for Deccan Herald, proposes the need for a society in which ordinary people "can be skillful without expertise," so they can become better problem-solvers. Here's an excerpt from his piece:
"Can we teach more and more people to join the ecosystem for problem-solving, so that such issues too begin to be addressed even if they do not know where to start? Can we teach them to join and strengthen the work of others who are already trying some things, and can we teach them to also invite and teach others to join them? Among non-profit groups working on various issues, these questions are becoming more common. We should bring these to the State and Market, too."Ashwin Mahesh, for Deccan Herald