The Politician Who Does Not Know How To Say Sorry
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in a recent press conference, said, "My name is Gandhi and Gandhis never apologise to anyone." But Karan Thapar, in his column for Hindustan Times, writes that Gandhi owes not one, but two apologies to two people in particular.
"...the apology would enhance Gandhi's stature and our respect for him. But he's already foolishly boasted 'Gandhis never apologise to anyone.' If that remains his stand, even when an apology is necessary and due, his braggadocio will become an indictment. He'll become the politician who doesn't know how to say sorry."Karan Thapar, in his column for Hindustan Times
The Khalistan Myth
Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, contends that irrespective of the Punjab Police launching a massive manhunt for Amritpal Singh and cracking down on 'Khalistani supporters', there has never really been any real support for Khalistan in Punjab.
"...we need to examine who Amritpal Singh is and why he has suddenly become a household name. It is my considered opinion that the media has made him bigger than he is without asking loudly enough if, as with Bhindranwale, he is not the creation of powerful political forces. A question that also needs to be asked is if he has emerged as a leader of the 'panth' because every mainstream political party in Punjab is currently discredited. And because the Chief Minister of Punjab is seen to be controlled from Delhi by Arvind Kejriwal."Tavleen Singh, for The Indian Express
Mukul Kesavan, in his column for The Telegraph, writes about the United Kingdom's pluralism – in appointing people from various religions and ethnicities to positions of power – and how dissimilar its approach is to a Hindu majoritarian India. What makes Britain so different? What can India learn from it?
"India used to have powerful, elected Muslim, Christian, and Sikh politicians who exercised executive power – prime ministers, chief ministers, cabinet ministers et al – but under the leadership of Narendra Modi and his Hindu majoritarian party, the political space for members of religious minorities, especially Muslims, has shrunk drastically."Mukul Kesavan, for The Telegraph
The Right To Marry Is Essential for the Full Experience of Citizenship
As the debate surrounding same-sex marriage grows louder, Bhavya Gupta, a gender researcher, writes for The Indian Express that members of the LGBTQIA+ community can experience 'citizenship' and 'belonging' in their own country only if they are granted the right to marry.
"In the conversation around same-sex marriage in India... the real question is whether the legal right to marry would also confer social and political acceptance. This may not be so simple. Take the case of the NALSA v Union of India judgment, 2014 which gave queer and trans people the right to self-identification. Social and political acceptance has not automatically followed. This acceptance is supposed to come through validation from other institutions, such as marriage."Bhavya Gupta writes for The Indian Express
Liberty Key Element in Alchemy of Democracy
Pavan K Varma, in his column for Deccan Chronicle, makes a compelling case for democracy – as opposed to a totalitarian system – citing examples of the Indira Gandhi government in India and Mikhail Gorbachev's rule in the Soviet Union in the latter part of the 20th century. He opines that India's strength lies in its democracy, despite the system's various shortcomings.
"President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was President of the USSR from 1985 to 1991, was – not wrongly – reform-minded. He tried to introduce glasnost (openness and greater transparency) and perestroika (reconstruction) within the tightly controlled undemocratic stranglehold of the Soviet Communist Party. Tinkering with an inelastic system, unused to the suppleness of democracy, led to developments that careened out of control. The great Soviet empire fragmented, unable to absorb and deal with changes that were so contrary to the rigid systemic framework it had hitherto adopted."Pavan K Varma, for Deccan Chronicle
Law May Stumble, Justice Will Triumph
P Chidambaram, in his column for The Indian Express, raises questions and concerns over the 2019 defamation case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his subsequent disqualification from the Lok Sabha a week ago.
"The obvious question has been asked (by among others Mr P.D.T. Achary, former secretary general of the Lok Sabha), who has the authority to disqualify? Article 103 may contain the answer: it says, "if any question arises… the question shall be referred for the decision of the President" who "shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion." In Mr Gandhi's case, the question was not referred to the President; nor did the Election Commission offer any opinion. So, who took the decision? Was it the Hon'ble Speaker or a body known as the Lok Sabha Secretariat? No one knows."P Chidambaram, for The Indian Express
Yes, We Can
Journalist Upala Sen, in her column for The Telegraph, points out the irony in the United States government rallying to ban TikTok in the country – fearing Chinese involvement – while leaving Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook untouched, though it was accused of multiple data breaches in the past.
"There have been reports of Facebook data breaches in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018… Mark Zuckerberg continued to deny it till he couldn’t, and went so far as to apologise for what he called a 'major breach of trust'. Not long ago, there was a report claiming that there was a major Twitter data leak compromising over 200 million users. Whatever the extent of outrage over these incidents, one does not recall baying for a ban on these apps within the US. Not even when it was reported that Russia used major social media platforms in the US to influence the 2016 US presidential elections."Upala Sen writes for The Telegraph
Sunny Days Ahead for Cloud Computing?
Computer scientist Roger Marshall talks about all things 'up in the air' in his piece for Deccan Herald. While pointing out the importance of erasing digital footprints from 'clouds', he says that it is equally imperative to address the environmental impacts of cloud computing.
"Data centres generate significant amounts of heat, which is dissipated by elaborate cooling systems. If the buildings housing the storage devices do catch fire, an enormous amount of water is needed to put out the flames – water supplied by an interconnected system of fire sprinkler systems and fire hydrants, all of which require electricity to operate."Roger Marshall for Deccan Herald
2b or Not To 2b? Exclusive 'Muslim' Quota Needs To Be Re-Evaluated
With Karnataka triggering a political debate by removing Category 2B – which exclusively included Muslims – from the state's Backward Classes (BC) list, Khalid Anis Ansari, in his piece for The Times of India, elaborates on this change. While the BJP government's move may be politically motivated, he points out that there are other factors at play – namely caste, history, and enumeration.
"While opposition parties like the Congress and JDS have termed the move communal, unscientific, and an election gimmick, the BJP has retorted by emphasising the illegitimacy of a religion-based quota. The moralist and procedural charge of the debate must not blind us to the fact that both the insertion of 2B in 1994 by the Janata Dal government and the more recent scrapping by the BJP are politically motivated: in the former, the Ashraf sections were being appeased, in the latter, the Lingayats and Vokkaligas are."Khalid Anis Ansari, for The Times of India