The Battle Lines Are Drawn
In his column for The Indian Express, Congress leader P Chidambaram, takes on a number of issues ranging from the 'Jumla Parade' — the Women's Reservation Bill,' One Nation One Election to the Uniform Civil Code. Moreover, he zeroes in on the allegations of forced conversions and 'love jihad' routinely levelled by RSS, stating that he was "shocked by these unsubstantiated charges.
"Please ask thousands of children who attend Christian-run schools, how many of them have faced attempts to convert them to Christianity? How many inter-faith marriages have taken place in the last year in your town or village?" asks the senior Congress leader.
Then, Chidambaram moves on to speak about the "visible signs of distress apparent in India's economy that are being mismanaged."
The Modi government has miserably failed in the top three people-centered tests — unemployment, prices and inflation and household finances. Not since 1977 have the battle lines been so sharply drawn.P Chidambaram in The Indian Express
Satyam Shivam Sundaram
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in his piece for The Indian Express, delves into what it essentially means to be a Hindu. He figuratively refers to the Hindu as a woman and opines on the trials and tribulations of the woman through the currents and waters in this "ocean of life."
To call Hinduism a set of cultural norms is to misunderstand it. To bind it to a geography is to limit it. Hinduism is how we understand our relationship with our fears. It is a path towards the realisation of truth and though it belongs to no one, it is open to anyone who choose to walk on it.Rahul Gandhi in The Indian Express
Wet Dhotis, Satin Shirts and Pujor Bhog
Abhijeet Banerjee, an Indian-American economist dives into the "heart of the economics of gift-giving" in this piece in The Times of India.
Community sharing, monetary and perceived value of gifts are what he focuses on stating that occasions like Durga puja (or Christmas or Eid) are special because "we are allowed to break the everyday rules of gifting and offer something potentially exciting for the receiver (and therefore offering the giver a chance to express himself)."
Economists recognise that sending the right signal is important, say when you want a job or have something to sell. But when we think of how we build and maintain our social connections, our instinct is to think about personal likes and dislikes, rather than as a central strategic element of our economic lives, as it would be for an anthropologist.Abhijeet Banerjee in The Times of India
New Architecture Not Likely To Change Character of Parlimanet
Pavan K Varma, an author and a former Rajya Sabha MP observes in Deccan Chronicle the juxtaposition of the new Parliament building to the precedent of decorum set with BJP MP's Ramesh Bidhuri's hate speech. He observes: "The truth, alas, is that just as new clothes don’t change the character of a person, the new building is unlikely to change the character of our Parliament."
Ramesh Bidhuri, a BJP MP in the Lok Sabha (LS), used language against Kunwar Danish Ali, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP, that left the nation shocked. Full of invectives, and unmentionable abuse about him and Muslims in general, it was a disgraceful reminder that however beautiful the new Parliament may be physically, its spirit is even uglier than that of the old. Nothing has changed, but things could only perhaps worsen.Pavan K Varma in Deccan Chronicle
Addressing the academic paper by an assistant professor, Sabyasachi Das, pointing to patterns of irregularity in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and BJP's victory, Saikat Majumdar, a professor at Ashoka University pens down in The Telegraph, the various political and institutional threats to higher education in India.
Successive events at Ashoka, he writes, "have proved that even private institutions financially independent of governments are scarcely free to carry out research critical of ruling ideologies." He further writes:
Universities in the West, particularly in the Anglo-American world, are facing a crisis due to larger shifts in history and demography. In India, where precisely those demographic and financial conditions are currently in our favour, a great wealth of opportunity is being squandered away by violations and corrupt actions by individuals and politicians invested in the miseducation of the nation. History should have been on the side of higher education in India now; we’re taking a lot of trouble to squander that away.Saikat Majumdar in The Telegraph
The Emperor's New Clothes
Gurucharan Gollerkeri in this piece for the Deccan Herald, takes on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, highlighting that there is not a "shred of evidence" that he has made public yet, referring to the Nijjar-killing and allegations by Canada against India.
He lays forth the ways in which the West largely deals with fugitives, stating that Canada should bring in a national law when it comes to terrorists and their safe havens.
It does not get any more disgraceful than when the hypocrisy of the countries of the Global North becomes self-evident when the 'credible evidence' and 'potential links' referred to by Trudeau is debunked by no less than the premier of British Columbia, to be open source, essentially, something akin to a Google search.Gurucharan Gollerkeri in Deccan Herald
The Concerns of Using Aadhar in Welfare
Rajendran Narayanan, a professor at Aziz Prem Ji University in this piece for The Hindu, zeroes in on the many discrepancies and cause of concerns with using Aadhar in our public welfare system. He points out that Aadhar also does not have any role in detecting quantity fraud, adding that many people in rural areas have to make multiple trips to authenticate, fading fingerprints, lack of phone connectivity also impact the access to rations.
In Aadhaar-based payments, error in any step results in payment failures. Different spellings in the job card and in the Aadhaar database can result in authentication failures. Most workers are unaware which account their Aadhaar was last linked to as financial institutions in rural areas tend to coerce workers to link their Aadhaar with bank accounts without consent. This leads to wages getting diverted to some account without the worker’s knowledge.Rajendran Narayanan in The Hindu
Of Cabbages and Kings
In this piece in The Indian Express, Tavleen Singh, a noted journalist highlights the adulation of leaders in India, adding that they must "stop behaving like potentates and kings." Talking about the government passing laws using "its brute majority," she states that it is because the media and our legislators have failed to raise real issues that the "government has got away with setting precedents that are truly dangerous for democracy."
Singh adds on:
A weird mixture of belligerent nationalism and cringing sycophancy have reduced good journalists to cheerleaders. Manipur has been burning for nearly six months now, and you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of journalists who have gone there to report what is really happening.Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express
Heading To The Oscars, A Kerala Story of Survival
Anna MM Vetticad in Hindustan Times elaborates on the journey of Malayalam film '2018-Everyone is a Hero,' India's official entry for the Oscars. While stating that '2018' is far from being the bravest or best film to come from Kerala in the recent years, she points out distinctions between such Malayalam films and other south Indian films which have gone to become pan-India blockbusters.
"2018 falls at a midpoint between this loud commercial fare and the low-key cinema that Kerala identified with," she observes.
Even the box-office gains made by some Malayalam films in the past decade have not convinced theatre owners that the risk in picking up a big film is no less than the risk in picking up a small film since an audience is not guaranteed for either, whereas incessantly showcasing small films could serve to gradually further expand their theatrical viewership. 2018’s box-office collections and Oscar selection have thus come at a crucial juncture for the Malayalam industry as it determines its path in the post-pandemic era.Anna MM Vetticad in Hindustan Times