Why Modi Won and Could Win Again
Senior journalist Tavleen Singh writes in The Indian Express about her visit to a "Southeast Asian that was as poor and disorderly as India when I first went there thirty years ago" and chances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi returning to office for a third term.
"The reason why we are decades behind most Southeast Asian countries is because of the criminally negligent governance that defined the Congress era. It would be more accurate to use the phrase the Prime Minister did to describe that time in his speech from the Red Fort on our 77th Independence Day, ‘rule of the family, by the family, for the family.’ This is exactly what it was, and ‘the family’ got away with it because in Lutyens’ Delhi they remained cocooned by courtiers and sycophants."
A Death Too Many
In the light of the death of a first year student at Kolkata's Jadavpur University, purportedly by suicide, after he was allegedly abused by his seniors, Supriya Chaudhuri writes in The Indian Express about how the University failed him in its duty of care.
"This horrific crime has aroused extraordinary public outrage, directed both at the administrative failure and at the sadistic cruelty masquerading under the obsolete euphemism, 'ragging'. It turns out that more or less everyone in the university community was aware of the bullying and abuse that routinely took place at the men’s hostel," writes Chaudhuri, Professor Emerita at the Kolkata-based University.
"Fostered by official apathy or patronage, ragging is condoned by the gangland honour code of the student body. Despite official campaigns against the practice, ragging has never been an issue in campus politics. Far less does it figure in the larger political arena, where ideological debates are similarly oblivious to gender discrimination, rape, domestic abuse, and hate crimes, all generated by the same psychopathology of violence linked to the exercise of power."
Love and Shimla
Upala Sen, in her piece for The Telegraph, writes about the 'tragedy' of the picturesque hill state of Himachal Pradesh — battered by torrential rains, flash floods, and landslides.
"The Himachal government has declared the devastations that have begun since June, “natural calamity". As if it is Nature's doing, the construction of highways and flyovers, widening of roads, cutting of mountains. As if someone sought the permission of the forces of nature before felling trees, building new houses, bigger houses, VIP and non-VIP. As if not flagging the loosening of the soil is Nature's fault. Yes, natural bounty might have attracted more tourists, but it is not Nature behind the unchecked littering, the choking lakes, the commercial frenzy, the mushrooming of cement factories, multiplying hydro electric power projects, changing land-use patterns, indiscriminate use of machines and brute force… That's classic homo sapien."
The Future: With Hope or Fear?
In his column for The Indian Express, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram analyses parts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech, and juxtaposes it with comments made by Parliamentarians Jayant Sinha (BJP) and Shashi Tharoor (Congress) during a television debate moderated by Rajdeep Sardesai.
"On August 15, the Hon’ble Prime Minister spoke about the end of a 1,000 years of slavery and the start of a 1,000 years of glory. Apparently, the two millennia met at the very spot on which he was standing and at the very moment that he was speaking. If it were true, the speech would be as epoch-making as few events before — the enlightenment of Siddhartha, the birth of Jesus and the revelations to Prophet Muhammad. Or, in material terms, as epoch-making as the falling of the apple, the discovery of electricity, the invention of the telephone, the flight of the Wright Flyer, the splitting of the atom or the landing on the moon. I was sorry that I was not a witness."
Data Law Raises Larger Question Over Role of Courts in Policymaking
"The Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act shows that while the legislature and the government want some data protection regulation, the government also wants significant freedom of action," argues Suyash Rai in an article for The Times of India.
"One could go to court, arguing that this law does excessive delegation or that it fails the 'proportionality' test laid down in the right to privacy judgment. But to what extent can the courts force the legislature and the government to build a specific kind of data protection framework?" Rai asks.
"Building an effective regulatory framework requires political intent and will. Perhaps future advocacy around this issue should focus less on convincing the courts and more on persuading the people and their representatives."
Decoding an Evil
In the aftermath of the communal violence in Haryana's Nuh, Asim Ali writes about the systematic mendacity which shrouds communal violence in India. In his article for The Telegraph, he writes:
"The systematic mendacity which shrouds communal violence in India, going back to the Indira Gandhi era, can be considered a classic case of ‘misrecognition’. Here, all sorts of dubious historical/sociological theories and frames of ‘action-reaction’ sequences have been freely slapped together to form the standard media template of covering riots. Hence, much of the media-produced information on any riot is either misleading, irrelevant or downright untrue."
Why So Many Nations Are Lining Up to Join BRICS
Ahead of the 15th BRICS summit scheduled to be held in Johannesburg from August 22-24, Zorawar Daulet Singh, in his piece for The Times of India, writes about how BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) emerged as a stabiliser as well as a potential challenger to the old US-designed regime after the 2008 financial crisis.
"The proof that things are not quite working in the West-led model is the fact that dozens of countries, including Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Egypt, are lining up to join BRICS. There is a palpable demand across the Global South for responsive governance institutions that are not handmaidens of a single major power or bloc. BRICS’ weakness — that it lacks the cohesiveness of the West and that its members are not part of a common security or civilisational community — is actually its main virtue over the long term."
Debate, Not Disruption, Must be Opposition Strategy
Writer and author Pavan K Varma, in his piece in the Deccan Chronicle, analyses the recently concluded Monsoon session of the Parliament.
"In retrospect, it would have been a better strategy, if the Opposition had agreed to a discussion on Manipur, with each of its speakers first expressing on record their anguish at the absence of the PM on such an important debate. This way the PM’s absence would have been highlighted, and the sorry spectacle of a failed no-confidence motion avoided. In fact, I am clearly of the view that disruption of House proceedings on a daily basis is a strategy of diminishing returns. It prevents a debate where the Opposition’s voice can be heard, and influence the views of people. The importance of this was apparent during the discussion on the Delhi Ordinance Bill on Services, where speakers like Abhishek Manu Singhvi and P Chidambaram gave eloquent and substantive speeches, heard with rapt attention in live telecasts."
A Brahminical Assault on Reason and Rationality
"The murder of leaders like Dr Narendra Dabhokkar, Prof M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, who guided an agenda of public good and promoted constitutional values says a lot about the direction the country is heading," writes Suraj Yengde, in his column for The Indian Express.
"The death of prominent people who are at the helm of the people’s movement casts doubts on the intelligence agencies. If these secret service agencies cannot nab and avert such unforeseen situations it opens doors for suspicion. The aversion towards a clean, rationalist thought is widely seen in both the House of Congress and the BJP. The Hindu in the Congress is more active than the other camps while the Muslim or Christian of the right-wing is devoted to subordinating their faith but maintaining their reign over the 'personal laws' and religious affairs."