Criminality Or Politics?
“Rahul Gandhi may not be the most skillful politician, but it is hard to see him as a criminal who deserves to have his entire political career ended because he made a silly speech,” writes Tavleen Singh, in her weekly column for The Indian Express.
Singh, in her piece, points towards how thin-skinned our politicians have become and expresses concern over the budget being passed last week without debate, in the midst of the high decibel political hullabaloo.
“For the first time ever, Parliament was prevented from functioning not because of the opposition but because of the treasury benches. So, what is really going on? Could it be that the most popular leader in the world is seriously worried about a man who has led the Congress Party to two defeats in general elections? The more important question is why Narendra Modi appears to be going out of his way to prove Rahul Gandhi’s charge that he has crippled our democratic institutions by exerting upon them his immense power?”Tavleen Singh
Complications In Defamation Law Exposed
Writing for Deccan Chronicle, Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr brings out yet another debate surrounding the Rahul Gandhi debacle: how utterly archaic and confusing the defamation law is.
Rao simplifies legal speak, and in doing so, draws our attention to how the complex definition of defamation is prone to misuse. In Gandhi’s case, as his piece illustrates, proving the charges (that he had accused all Modis) was also a herculean task and not easily deducible.
“Imputation of truth which public good requires to be made or published – It is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person, if it be for the public good that the imputation should be or published. Whether or not it is for the public good is a question of fact. So, here is the law in all its complications.”
Meanwhile... India’s Silent Water Crisis
Taking our attention away from the discourse centered around Gandhi’s sentencing and disqualification, Mani Shankar Aiyyar, in an urgent appeal, implores us to pay attention to “India’s water crisis of untold magnitude.”
In his for The New Indian Express, he details how water security is crucial for national security and sheds light on Centre-state collaboration is key to India’s survival in this crisis.
“There is the rolling spectre of the El Nino effect – which haunts this year’s monsoon – and there is the long-term stress and scarcity scenario. This week saw the release of the World Water Development Report 2023. It states that the global urban population facing water scarcity will touch 2.4 billion – and “India will be the most severely affected country. There are global success stories aplenty. Israel is a pioneer in the use of drip irrigation and is able to even export water to Jordan. Countries are leveraging technologies to recycle water. Recycled water accounts for over 40 per cent of Singapore’s need for water. India can scarcely afford coexistence of scarcity and wasteful inefficiency. Water security is critical for national security.”
Opposing Each Other
Ahead of the 2024 general elections, Coomi Kapoor’s for The Indian Express, exposes the fault line that currently plagues Indian politics: the lack of a unified opposition against the BJP.
Citing the Congress-TMC example, she explains how Congress is furious at Mamata Banerjee’s concerted effort to ensure that Rahul Gandhi is not declared “the big boss’’ in the still-in-the-works opposition alliance.
The Congress’s recent win in the Muslim-dominated Sagardighi Assembly bypoll, a TMC stronghold, with the help of the CPM, has further antagonised Banerjee. Akhilesh Yadav has been persuaded to stay equidistant from both the Congress and the BJP.
Russian Ballet, Chinese Steps
Commenting on the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping that happened earlier this week, Mohan Kumar, for The Indian Express, highlights two implications of this (one for the West and one for India):
For the West, it should become clear that China will be loath to see Russia fail in Ukraine and that it will not stand by without taking sides in the Ukraine conflict
For India, the meeting diminishes the strategic space available to it because Russia’s dependence on China may well grow exponentially
“What we are seeing, therefore, is a pincer movement in the international strategic landscape. On the one hand, China has decided to throw its entire weight behind Russia and create an alliance of sorts. On the other hand, the US and Europe will henceforth need all the support they can muster from their allies and partners to counter the above.”Mohan Kumar
AI Philosopher – A future breed?
As the world goes gaga over AI and its many uses, Armaan Mathur, for Deccan Herald, explores yet another possibility: AI and philosophy. Responding to all the naysayers, Mathur argues that if it is now able to synthesize a person’s characteristics and predict individual behaviour, philosophical theorising may not be far off.
He, however, adds a word of caution:
“We have an illustrious Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Would a Political-Theory Bot Meta be a threat? Let us not get too carried away by this double PBM insinuation, though. No one is suggesting that academics must now run to save their jobs, or philosophers should consider wage labour. Naturally, the foremost question that will emerge in this context is that of ethics. Issues of normative conjecture consist of a component of ethical manoeuvre. How can a bot be trusted to be ethical? If a being is not social, how can it be ethical?”
Where’s the Sense of Balance and Proportion in the Frenzied Coverage of Amritpal?
The crackdown on Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, Ajai Sahni tells us in for MoneyControl, reflects the might of the state through internet shutdowns and a rampant misinformation campaign that the media fell for.
Amid the frenzied coverage of the case, which required a more cautious take, the trust in the state government declined rapidly. Why?
“However, trust in the Government is also being eroded, as the impression grows – rightly or otherwise – that the objective of the orchestrated and protracted spectacle around Amritpal is intended to divert attention from more urgent issues in the state, or to serve partisan political ends. The present situation raises many and troubling questions. Unfortunately, most of these will never be answered.”
Why Tipu Sultan Must Be Killed, Again
As the Karnataka wing of the BJP continues to villainise erstwhile Mysusru King Tipu Sultan and concoct stories about who killed him for political gains, historian Janaki Nair, in for The Hindu, laments the diminishing scope of historical scholarship in this landscape.
She traces the many myths and rumours around Tipu, while answering a rather urgent question: Was BJP always anti-Tipu?
“In the currently overheated State of Karnataka, the province of the historian has severely shrunk, yielding place to politicians and religious heads who now adjudicate historical truth. The promise of historical ‘evidence’ of the existence of such heroes, already substantiated in print, image and high decibel campaigns, further diminishes historical scholarship. Who knows that even archaeological or DNA proof will not be produced? But meanwhile, Tipu Sultan must die yet again at the hands of ever newer claimants to power.”Janaki Nair
Homecomings: Confecting a Sense of Belonging
What does it take to forge a sense of belonging to a place? “Interestingly, very little,” for The Telegraph. But, he adds that even that is lost when we live in a world that is in a constant state of flux.
“The other thing that’s changed is the library’s garden which used to be bordered by beds of the most enormous dahlias. The garden was a meadow the last time I visited, long grassed and untended. The children’s library, which used to be a small part of the main library, is long gone," he writes.
Kesavan revisits memories of cities he has intimately known over the years, and in this lyrical journey that we undertake with him, we slowly come to realise that:
“The moral of my story is both banal and true: you can go home but you can’t go back.”