Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just For You

We sifted through the papers to find the best opinion reads, so you won't have to.

5 min read

The Speech That I Might Have Made

P Chidambaram, in his column in The Indian Express, shares a draft of the speech he would have made in the Parliament to protest rising prices, which, he says, have badly hurt the poor and the middle class.

He asks the government to moderate the taxes on petrol and diesel, reduce the price of LPG, and reverse the hike in taxes on essential goods.

"Let the three of us – you Mr Chairman, the Hon’ble FM and I – drive in an unmarked car, without any security, to a middle-class neighborhood or a slum in Delhi. Mr Chairman, please ask the people if they are affected by the fuel prices, the price of LPG and the GST rates. I am willing to abide by their verdict. I hope the Hon’ble FM will also abide by the verdict of the aam aadmi."
P Chidambaram

Lessons for India From the Taiwan Standoff

New Delhi must note that Taiwan’s close economic ties with China have not stopped it from asserting its rights, Happymon Jacob writes in his opinion piece for The Hindu. According to him, India should be unambiguous in its messaging and avoid appeasement when dealing with a belligerent China.

"Taiwan could have avoided the ongoing confrontation and the economic blockade during Chinese retaliatory military exercises around its territory by avoiding Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, or perhaps even keeping it low key. Instead, it chose to go ahead with the visit, with high-profile meetings and statements in full public view, thereby making it clear to China that it is unwilling to back down from its declared aims, no matter what the consequences were."
Happymon Jacob

The Yogi Model

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai should be ashamed that he has become a proponent of the Yogi Model, Tavleen Singh writes in her column for The Indian Express. According to her, this model – which employs bulldozers instead of the rule of law – is a direct threat to democracy.

"Many, many things in the justice system need urgent fixing. But the ‘Yogi model’ cannot be the alternative. Political leaders must not be allowed to become judge, jury and executioner. This is the ‘Yogi model’. The scariest thing is that if the State itself is seen to disrespect the law of the land, it loses the right to expect ordinary citizens to respect the law. The result is that slowly but surely faith in democracy begins to die."
Tavleen Singh

Turning Hawkish

Rishi Sunak, who is competing with Liz Truss to become the leader of the Conservative Party and the prime minister of the UK, is trailing behind in the party polls, writes Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph. To close the gap, he has recast himself as a culture warrior and is pandering to the basest instincts of a narrow electorate, according to Kesavan.

"Apart from creating a new kind of undefinable thought crime, he has promised to “refocus” Prevent, a controversial anti-extremism programme, to make it pay more attention to Islamic extremism. Prevent requires public sector workers like teachers to report on incipient signs of extremism of all sorts, including right-wing terrorism. By promising to redouble “our efforts to tackle Islamic extremism”, Sunak is making it clear that he wants Prevent to focus on one sort of terrorism."
Mukul Kesavan

Why Delhi Must Invest in Blue-green Infrastructure

Charu Bhanot and Sonia Grover, in their opinion piece for Hindustan Times note that Delhi needs to adapt to the climate crisis which causes extreme events such as abnormally high temperatures and erratic monsoon rainfall. The government, according to them, should invest judiciously in a infrastructure strategy focused on both water bodies and green spaces.

"Delhi needs to opt for smart water use and conservation. Green infrastructure is gaining traction in the city, but the government must also make blue infrastructure an integral part of its sustainability plans. In addition, adaptation and resistance to the climate crisis necessitate protecting and preserving the urban landscape’s hydrological and biological features."
Charu Bhanot and Sonia Grover

The Power in the Purse Strings

A viral video of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra shoving her LV bag out of sight recently invited heavy criticism on social media, especially since TMC leaders have been outspoken against rising prices.

In light of the controversy, Leher Kala, in her column for The Indian Express, explores the motivations behind women's apparent obsession with "obscenely priced handbags".

"Undoubtedly, the women who go on waiting lists for the It-bag of the season are rarely discerning aesthetes motivated by cutting edge design – mostly, they’re conforming to the ideals of success laid down by society. Is that wrong? It is, perhaps, all too human that we need signs of respect from the world to feel good about ourselves. High status, as experienced by elite athletes or Nobel laureates, is a rarity; for the majority of us, our social position rests precariously on what we achieve, which is then slyly revealed by what we possess."
Leher Kala

Addressing the Challenges in New-age Digital Commerce

As more merchants and consumers adopt e-commerce in India, there's an increasing need for a modern-day, cost-effective, and high-speed dispute resolution system, write Bhaven Shah and Sidharth Kapoor in their piece for The Hindu. According to them, Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), which uses technology to resolve issues between parties, is the way forward.

"ODR will help mitigate litigation risk and provide valuable insights into problems faced by consumers. The courts and consumer forums can do away with matters which do not warrant their intervention, thus easing the judicial logjam. Consumers are provided with another choice for effective redress of their grievances, thereby building trust, confidence and brand loyalty."

A Year On, Why Afghanistan Remains a Critical Global Issue

According to Avinash Paliwal, al-Qaeda’s deputy chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s killing in Kabul is a reminder that Afghanistan’s conflicts aren’t over, especially with Taliban at the helm.

Along with Right-wing extremists, global Islamists have also strengthened over the last year and remain a serious disruptive force in global geopolitics, he writes in his piece for Hindustan Times.

"For the so-called global war on terror that was fought on the premise of advancing liberal democracies, and the democracy versus authoritarianism binary of the current great power rivalries, al-Qaeda’s unceasing links with the Taliban raise a question: Can Afghanistan credibly be bracketed as a regional problem in the face of Russian and Chinese revanchism? It is tempting to think yes, it can be. But this is unlikely to be the case given Afghanistan’s acute economic and political distress and the structures of global insecurities."
Avinash Paliwal

Time To Remove Pakistan as an Idea From Kashmiri Minds

Insurgency in Kashmir is at its lowest ebb for the first time after 2016 and things are in control, writes Rahul Pandita in The Times of India. However, he notes, the central government now needs to focus on governance to build on the work of last three years and erase Pakistan as an idea from the Kashmiri mind.

"It would also be time to revisit the counter-insurgency (CI) doctrine. While terrorists need to be killed, the game of “numbers” must be de-incentivised now. There is radicalism of extreme order in pockets where militancy is hot. But the fresher terrorist with hardly any training must be given a chance to reform. Sometimes, experienced officers told me, a militant family gets sucked into a vicious cycle where finding no other escape route or outlet, other family members also join the militant fold."
Rahul Pandita
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