Inauguration of the New Parliament Building – BJP’s Cultural and Political Push
Economist Dr Prashant Prabhakar Deshpande, for The Times of India, declares that the new Parliament building will serve as "an indelible mark on Indian democracy," left by the Prime Minister Modi-led government. He points out that the ceremony allows the BJP to hit two birds with one stone, specifically by "re-establishing the credentials of the Hindu traditions & the legacy" and "having a foothold in the Southern States of India."
"The attempt of the BJP government, it is alleged, is to claim the lost Chola era glory & legacy of the Hindu rulers. Sengol, the historic sceptre considered a symbol of power & justice will therefore be showcased in the new Parliament building near the speaker’s seat, clearly indicating that the government is attempting to reclaim the legacy of the Chola rulers, the Hindu dynasty that commanded a powerful Navy during their reign & had an empire expanding up to the present-day South-East Asia."Dr Prashant Prabhakar Deshpande, for The Times of India
Spin Doctors at Work
Congress leader P Chidambaram, in his column for The Indian Express, opines that the BJP government and its institutions have taken a leaf out of the IPL 2023 by putting spin doctors to work. Tearing into the justifications put forth for the withdrawal of Rs 2,000 notes, he says that the denomination had failed the "three declared objectives of demonetisation: to eliminate fake currency notes, to unearth black money, and to stop the funding of drug trafficking and terrorism through fake notes."
"It is now absolutely certain that like 99.3 percent of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes had been returned in 2016, nearly every Rs 2000 note in circulation will be returned to the RBI. The tribe of spin doctors will spin the story that after 7 years of Herculean efforts, the almighty Government of India has successfully unearthed all the black money in the country, put an end to corruption, and vanquished the drug traffickers and terrorists and their financiers!"P Chidambaram, for The Indian Express
'Who Said I Was Dancing?'
In her piece for The Telegraph, journalist Upala Sen writes in the voice of the mascot of the International Museum Expo in New Delhi – the dancing girl or at least its "contemporised version." The bronze figurine from the old city of Mohenjo-daro disapproves of the new likeness that has been created of her because they've "slapped some pink colour, touched up my Negroid features, slapped on some flesh, and strategically, thrown on some clothes."
"Some years before they discovered me, a Frenchman named Rodin made a bronze impression of a nude wrestler and it was christened first The Poet and then The Thinker, but when they saw me all they could think was – dancing girl. But why? I could have been thinking as well."Upala Sen, for The Telegraph
Lessons for Both Sides
Writing for The Indian Express, columnist Tavleen Singh offers a mixed-bag assessment of the Modi government that hit the nine-year mark earlier this week. First, she lists the progress on infrastructure, digitisation, and welfare schemes as the high points under the current prime minister, and makes special mention of the abrogation of Article 370 as "one of the bravest and best things Modi has done."
"Now for the damage done in the past nine years. I believe it is time for Modi to acknowledge that the belligerent Hindutva that has spread on his watch has damaged the tenets of the Sanatan Dharma and not just the status of Indian Muslims."Tavleen Singh, for The Indian Express
Writing for The Telegraph, student activist Dipsita Dhar examines the ongoing wrestlers' protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar through the lens of caste dynamics. She says that while gender justice remains the main focus of the protest, its scope also extends to the wrestlers' "embedded social identity."
"The protest by women wrestlers, therefore, must be seen in this broader context. Women’s bodies have always been symbolic sites of control and domination; during conflicts, their bodies become the site of violence. At a time when middle castes such as the Jats are negotiating modernity to attain social and economic mobility, what could be the possible response from the ruling castes? Should the impunity that has been granted to and the support that the accused is getting not be examined in terms of his caste privileges as well as the ideological inclination of the Hindutva brigade?"Dipsita Dhar, for The Telegraph
Through G20, Focus on Women’s Nutrition
Lalita Panicker of Hindustan Times believes that India's G20 presidency makes for the perfect opportunity to focus on the critical link between malnutrition and women's health. She explains why it is "crucial to invest in women’s nutrition," and backs it up with important insights from the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21).
"Malnutrition in women and girls creates a vicious cycle. They are more likely to experience poor health outcomes, which will hinder their ability to participate in social and economic activities. While there are existing policies and frameworks designed to address maternal health and nutrition-related issues, those often lack focus on the specific needs of non-pregnant, and adolescent girls."Lalita Panicker, for Hindustan Times
Report Card of, by, and for Kerala Government
C P Surendran, in his column for The New Indian Express, takes stock of the Kerala government's self-evaluation that's in the shape of a 308-page report card. The document fails to impress the novelist, who strongly criticises it as "vanity publishing at its best."
"That a state like Kerala has come to a stage where a PR spectacle is seen as the basis for political discourse is fascinating in itself. Because, as I said, if the same exercise had been undertaken by say, the Yogi Adityanath government, the progressive Kerala would have had a field day in thumping its chest and trolling. It could be that governance has come to be a bit of a joke in the state and that the people know it."C P Surendran, for The New Indian Express
City City, Bang Bang
Writing for Economic Times, author Soumya Bhattacharya says that the stage is set for football club Manchester City to clinch the treble – Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. Pointing out that "City have not merely raised the bar" but "changed the game," he delves into the many decisions that got them here.
"The project was executed with immaculate planning and ruthless perfection. City recruited Txiki Begiristain, an old Barcelona hand, as football director. Begiristain has a great rapport with Pep Guardiola, who duly joined the club once his sabbatical in New York – after his stint with Bayern Munich – was over."Soumya Bhattacharya, for Economic Times
We Can Agree to Disagree
Director Leher Kala takes a closer look at the ideas of right and wrong in popular culture, in her piece for The Indian Express. She comes to the defence of Sima Aunty from Netflix's reality show Indian Matchmaking, specifically the latter's approach to matrimony "via that dreaded word – "compromise""
"The influence of social justice warriors admonishing Sima Aunty's down-to-earth practicality is dangerous because they're mostly hapless victims of the scourge of political correctness, the prevailing terror of making any comment that could be construed as racist-elitist-sexist-casteist. (And therefore risking outing oneself as an unsophisticated old-timer.)"Leher Kala, for The Indian Express