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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.

7 min read
Hindi Female

Economy Still in the Woods

India's gross domestic product may grow at 8.7 percent, but it carries little meaning in an economy marked by inflation, unemployment and decline in learning outcomes, writes P Chidambaram for The Indian Express.

"There is no place for the boast that, at 8.7 percent, India is the fastest growing large economy. That boast has no meaning given the state of inflation, unemployment, number of people below the poverty line, prevalence of hunger, decline in health indicators and decline in learning outcomes. The growth rate of 8.7 percent, impressive as it may appear, has to be seen in perspective. Firstly, it is on the back of negative growth of (-) 6.6 percent in the previous year. Secondly, when China grew at 8.1 percent in 2021, it added USD 2,600 billion to its GDP in twelve months (at current prices) while India growing at 8.7 percent in 2021-22 added only USD 500 billion to its GDP in twelve months (at current prices)."
P Chidambaram in The Indian Express.

Why Kashmiri Pandits Should Be Investing in Life Beyond Kashmir

Writing for The Times of India, Rahul Pandita maintains that Kashmiri Pandits in the valley must reassess their lives and accept that "they have no future whatsoever in Kashmir".

He urges the Kashmiri Pandit youth to stop dreaming of earmarked government jobs in the valley and asks them to focus on civil services and foreign varsities instead.

"What does reassessing their lives and future mean for Kashmiri Pandits? It begins by accepting that they have no future whatsoever in Kashmir. Not tomorrow, or day after. Not in five years, not in ten. This has to be understood separately from the security scenario. It looks unlikely, but it is possible that the situation may become better. Let us assume for a moment that it becomes so good that there will be a garba night in Pulwama. Let us assume that there will be massive development; that there will be jobs and industrialists will invest there; that there will be nightlife along the Dal Lake. But it will still not become a place for a Pandit to invest her life in. Like it has happened earlier, the Kashmiri Pandit will find a place anywhere in India or outside it."
Rahul Pandita in The Times of India.

Another Exodus in Kashmir?

The Modi government's decision to revoke Article 370 may have been presented as a bold step, but reports of Kashmiri Pandits fleeing the valley in the wake of targeted killings have increasingly proven how the controversial piece of legislation was withdrawn without planning the road ahead, writes Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express.

The government, writes Singh, must take a leaf out of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat's recent speech and "speak out against the campaign of hate and hostility that currently defines the Hindu mood".

"Most Modi bhakts believe that there should be no attempt to find a political solution because all Kashmiri politicians are jihadists who want the Valley to be turned into a little Islamic republic. This is not true. There are plenty of Kashmiri politicians who have spent their lives fighting Islamism and some have paid heavily for this. It is time that they were made part of the renewal of a political process and this process should begin immediately. A first step must be the restoration of statehood and the second step should be elections."
Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express.

Points to Ponder

In his column for The Telegraph, Mukul Kesavan writes that the Supreme Court's decision to not apply the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 in its ruling on the Gyanvapi mosque row – combined with its directions to keep the wuzu area sealed – have raised important questions in defining the religious character of a place.

"One, the court could have ruled that Muslim worship would resume in all of the mosque, given that the PoW explicitly ruled out the conversion of the religious character of a place of worship. The cordoning off of the wuzu area is, de facto, a change in the religious character of the mosque. Two, there had been several previous attempts to do an end run around the PoW, and these had all been struck down by the civil court and the Allahabad High Court on the basis of the PoW Act. As recently as September 2021, a lower court’s ruling that the Archaeological Survey of India ought to investigate whether the Gyanvapi mosque was built over an earlier Hindu temple was stayed by the Allahabad High Court. The high court even censured the Varanasi city court for its decision. The obvious objection to the Supreme Court’s decision to partly suspend worship in an allegedly disputed area is this: even if, for the sake of argument, it is allowed that the wuzu fountain is a shivling, it still doesn’t change the fact that the PoW forbids the conversion of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947."
Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph.

In Women’s Cricket, Let’s Count the Victories

The future of women's cricket in India lies not in the introduction of a women's Indian Premier League but in consistent efforts made to ensure that women do well at the world cricketing stage, writes Anjum Chopra in The Indian Express.

Playing a tournament like Women’s IPL will propel the chances a lot more, and it’s just one of the steps towards developing the women’s game at the highest level. If you add another international tournament that allows international players to come into our country and exchange ideas with the Indian domestic and international players, they will learn quickly from each other. And because they are all playing in a competitive environment, you will know a lot about the game. You learn to absorb the pressure and know how to perform under pressure, and there are various other things to grasp. All this will go into the development of women’s cricket. But if one suggests that Women’s IPL will change the course of women’s cricket, then no, it won’t. Women’s IPL will not be the deciding factor. If the team consistently does well at the world level, things will automatically improve."
Anjum Chopra in The Indian Express.

India-Pakistan ties and the mirror of 2019

The Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have had close ties with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party, but the prevailing situation in the neighbouring country may not yield any solution on the Sir Creek dispute or lead to the revival of bilateral trade, writes Sushant Singh in The Hindu.

"The environment in Pakistan is, however, not conducive for any such move. Imran Khan is garnering big crowds in his support and has put the Shehbaz Sharif government and Pakistan Army under pressure. With the economy in doldrums, there is little room for manoeuvre with the new government. Even an announcement of talks with India, without New Delhi conceding anything on Kashmir, will provide further ammunition to Imran Khan. The current moment, where New Delhi and Islamabad seem willing to move forward but are restrained by Pakistan’s domestic politics, somewhat mirrors the lawyers’ protest against General Musharraf in 2008 which derailed the Manmohan-Musharraf talks after they had nearly agreed on a road map."
Sushant Singh in The Hindu.

Smirch Engine

Following much uproar over Google's decision to cancel a talk that was supposed to be delivered by Dalit rights activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Upala Sen, in her column for The Telegraph, wonders if developed countries in the world could invent "X-rays to catch the bug in the mindset and rotten value system in baggage!"

"In 2020, the tech company was sued for caste discrimination by California regulators. Two Cisco employees, Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella were accused of harassing a third employee, a Dalit, by “internally enforcing caste hierarchy”. Soon after this, 30 Dalit women technologists put out a statement about caste dynamics in Silicon Valley. They wrote, “… working with Indian managers is a living hell… we do know that for those of us whose last names, and caste and religious identities were apparent, we faced some sort of casteist comment (used as an excuse to classify our programming as shoddy). The worst cases resulted in sexual harassment'."
Upala Sen in The Telegraph.

Time to reimagine architecture for our overheated cities

In his pensive column for The Times of India, Gautam Bhatia writes how the thick-walled bungalows of his childhood have been replaced by modern architecture whose construction and maintenance alone takes up 40 percent of all energy costs in the country.

"To build houses according to standard unchanging formulas has so far only yielded lifeless and unresponsive buildings. Architecture can be a far more innovative act when it encourages new forms of living, backed by advanced technologies and mixes. Some things of course are slowly changing. Architects are growing grass on the sides of their buildings, wheat farms on the roof. Some are looking at underground houses, others experimenting with thermal cooling through wind tunnels and hollow walls. However far-fetched it may sound now, the potential for such applications in a desperately hot and unliveable future cannot be dismissed. When cities are already overbuilt with the wrong type of buildings, new architecture must be used as an informed corrective to make bold ecological statements that not only eradicate the impact of the heat wave but make urban life better."
Gautam Bhatia in The Times of India.

Should We Let Negative People Wallow

Writing for The Times of India, Pooja Bedi maintains that while sadness is one aspect of life, it is upto the individual to decide how long they should let that particular emotion prevail.

"And it’s rightly said that your attitude determines your altitude. Negativity isn’t constructive. It robs you of energy, focus, growth, health and happiness. You don’t need to be a beacon of positivity or to be in a false la la land, but to dwell in negativity isn’t an option you should ever consider. You don’t need to replace negativity with positivity, but you can at least allow yourself to exit what is disempowering."
Pooja Bedi in The Times of India.
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