India’s Advocacy of DPI Marks a Global Triumph
In his piece for Hindustan Times, lawyer Rahul Matthan argues that the G20 Summit weekend will "forever be remembered as the start of a new phase of Indian diplomacy." He believes that member countries unanimously backing India's proposals on Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) is an underrated diplomatic win and has elevated the host nation from "a rule-taker to a rule-maker."
"As little as a year ago, digital public infrastructure was a term that was used by very few outside of a wonkish niche at the intersection of technology and public policy. It was regularly confused with digital public goods and the full extent of all that it encompassed was poorly understood. By the end of India’s G20 presidency, not only has the term cemented its place in the global policy lexicon, but many concepts that undergird its deployment have been endorsed by the most powerful nations of the world."Rahul Matthan, for Hindustan Times
Superpower: To Be One Is by Changing West and Not India Altering Itself
In his column for The Economic Times, stand-up comedian Anuvab Pal ponders over what it actually means to be a superpower in the context of the ongoing G20 Summit. He playfully suggests that India's goal of achieving superpower status hardly involves space power or economic might, emphasising that the Indian diaspora has a more pivotal role instead.
"I would argue, we are already a superpower, not by changing India, but by changing the West. We did it when we least realised, and by two methods as old as time: reproduction and migration. Go anywhere in the world, especially in Anglophonic countries like the US, Canada and Britain, people with Indian roots pretty much run everything. From legislatures, hospitals, courts, schools, and municipalities to MNCs."Anuvab Pal, for The Economic Times
Bharat vs India: Don’t Create New Fault Lines
Writing for The Asian Age, columnist Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr opines that the usage of Bharat in place of India is "a quixotic gesture at best." He contends that similar to Erdogan's adoption of Turkiye (for Turkey), the Modi government's Bharat push is "Hindu reassertion" and would ultimately have no bearing on "things like national identity."
"There is the immediate political provocation from the Opposition bloc calling itself “INDIA”, and Mr Modi, never the one to let pass a rapier thrust from his rivals, has resorted to the easily available constitutional alternative of “Bharat”. It is nothing more than that. That is why he has cautioned his Cabinet colleagues not to get drawn into the duel over Bharat/India, and instead forcefully counter the attack on Sanatan Dharma by DMK leader Udayanidhi Stalin."Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, for The Asian Age
One Nation, One Pole
In his piece for The Indian Express, Congress leader P Chidambaram asserts that the British model of conducting elections "is still the best way" for India. He criticises the BJP's diametrically opposite model as it "flies in the face of history and lived experience of the last 75 years."
"Under the Oneness project, we are moving to a decisive stage. It will be One Nation, One Poll...But the BJP's goal is not poll; the real goal is one pole – the BJP – around which the entire political system will be re-constructed. By combining national and state elections, the BJP hopes to win the Lok Sabha poll with a two-third majority and win enough states. That will pave the way for radical Constitutional changes which will sweep aside all obstacles to the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra."P Chidambaram, for The Indian Express
The Building Blocks of Resilience in Students
On World Suicide Prevention Day, author Aparna Piramal Raje and family therapist Megha Mawandia write for Hindustan Times about the recent spate of suicides in Kota and how it demonstrates the need to focus on resilience-building in students who are under extreme academic pressure.
"One student learnt resilience, while another struggled with it. This was not because of a difference in personality, but because the tangible building blocks of resilience were in place for one, and not for the other. “They couldn’t cope with the pressure” is a common sentiment in response to the students who take their lives. But the real issue is resilience – why are some students more resilient and others less so – and it’s not an innate personality issue."Aparna Piramal Raje and Megha Mawandia, for Hindustan Times
DNA Sample, Foetus in a Jar: Notes From Madhumita Case
In her piece for The Indian Express, journalist Ritu Sarin offers a chilling recollection of when she was sent to cover the tragic murder of poetess Madhumita Shukla in Uttar Pradesh over 20 years ago. Highlighting the efforts of the CBI team in collecting corroborative evidence, Sarin also narrates her own experience of trying to get close to the "story".
"I recall landing in Lucknow in the scorching heat. The car that arrived at the airport did not have air conditioning, so I covered my face with a dupatta and went directly to Lakhimpur Kheri. The victim's family home was located about 130 km from the Uttar Pradesh capital. The house was full of mourning relatives."Ritu Sarin, for The Indian Express
First They Came for the…
Journalist Upala Sen, for The Telegraph, outlines past instances of China cracking down on one's attire in light of its latest ban on "Islamic style clothing." She underscores these stringent restrictions with Martin Niemöller's famous quote about the consequences of silence in the face of oppression.
"In China, they went for Kate Perry. The American singer was supposed to perform at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show but her visa was cancelled --- indefinitely. Reason: apparently, it is normal for celebrities invited to China to have their social media accounts scrutinised and Chinese officials discovered that Perry had worn a sunflower dress at a concert in Taipei some years ago. Sunflower is supposed to be the emblem of anti-China protestors in Taiwan. Oh, and at the same concert, Perry had worn a Republic of China flag as a cape."Upala Sen, for The Telegraph
In her column for The Indian Express, political commentator Coomi Kapoor chews on what might unfold during the special session of Parliament that is scheduled to take place this month. Ruling out online conjectures such as a bill on unified polls or the Uniform Civil Code, she opines that the actual reason "may be less dramatic."
"It is believed that the government hopes to clear pending business in September which would normally be taken up in Parliament's Winter Session which traditionally begins in the first week of December. The Winter Session could be cancelled or drastically curtailed. The September Session is expected to begin with a resolution congratulating the PM on successfully hosting the G20 Summit."Coomi Kapoor, for The Indian Express
G20: Over the Moon and Behind the Marigolds
In her column for The Times of India, actress and author Twinkle Khanna offers a tongue-in-cheek commentary about the "Sharmaji manual" adopted by the G20 Summit prep team. She also touches on other issues making headlines such as the post-Chandrayaan-3 victory lap and the nomenclature that featured on the controversial G20 dinner invite.
"Now I am the last one to take umbrage at any name, which would be obvious by the fact that I have been lugging ‘Twinkle’ around for almost five decades. However, for members of my generation, the definitive image that the word ‘Bharat’ brings to mind is the iconic Manoj Kumar with a pained expression and a hand covering half of his face."Twinkle Khanna, for The Times of India