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.
Whose Law, Whose Order?
In his column for The Indian Express, P Chidambaram reminds us of "The People's Commands" that are prescribed in the Constitution of India while bemoaning the tragic events of Lakhimpur Kheri.
Accusing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of running Uttar Pradesh with his own law, and not Indian law, Chidambaram lashes out at UP Police for maintaining "Mr Adityanath’s law and Mr Adityanath’s orders."
"The only explanation can be that either the UP Police does not know the Constitution or the laws (meaning, ignorance) or the UP Police does not care a damn about the Constitution and the laws (meaning, impunity). Either explanation casts a dark shadow on the UP Police that has several officers of DGP rank. From high-ranking police officers to humble constables, they deserve a better reputation. More than anything, the 23.5 crore population of UP deserves a better police force."P Chidambaram, The Indian Express
Mr PM, A Critic Speaks
While expressing her shock at Prime Minister Modi's silence on the ghastly events of not just Lakhimpur Kheri but also of Kashmir in the past week where a chemist and two teachers were murdered by terrorists, Tavleen Singh argues in The Indian Express that his sycophants have done him the harm they always do to everyone.
"Prime Minister, it is my considered and ever humble opinion that you have surrounded yourself with such a large collection of sycophants and timeservers that you have begun to treat your critics as enemies. This is easy to do when the delusion that India, because of you, has become a land of endless good times (achche din) is backed up by an army of aggressive trolls who see all criticism as ‘anti-national’ and who charge anyone who dares say anything against you with high treason. In such an atmosphere, it is easy to mistake genuine critics for foes, easy to get fooled into believing that sycophants are your only real friends. They are not."Tavleen Singh, The Indian Express
Why States Should Replicate Bengal's Burst of 'Pujo'-Related Wealth Creation
Writing for The Economic Times, Debanjan Chakrabarti opines that because the celebrations surrounding Durga pujo in West Bengal were worth ₹32,377 crore in 2019, other states with their festivals across India should aim to boost their tourist experiences during the festive season in ways similar to that of Durga pujo in West Bengal in order to rejuvenate their economies.
"A creative economy approach to festivals is important. The creative industries fuse creativity, culture, economics and technology, creating more jobs, distributing surpluses more widely and boost export earnings. At the same time, they contribute to social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development, whether during Durga pujo, Diwali or Christmas."Debanjan Chakrabarti, The Economic Times
Kashmir: When Domestic Politics Hurts National Security
Penning his thoughts on the recent targeted attacks on minorities in Kashmir, Avinash Paliwal argues in the Hindustan Times that the Indian state cannot fulfil its responsibility of protecting local minorities and non-local migrants in Kashmir by isolating Kashmiri Muslims.
The state must avoid the creation and perpetuation of a communal atmosphere in which cooperating with Kashmiri Muslims is branded as being unpatriotic or sympathising with Islamists, because it will only increase the risk of successful terrorist activities.
"Such risks have increased due to the reduction in human intelligence since August 2019, wherein most senior police officers are non-Kashmiris (though with previous experience in the Valley) and enjoy limited, if not negligible, trust among informants. There is no doubt that the J&K police had a serious corruption problem and often compromised operations. But the marginalisation of Kashmiri officers sidestepped that issue at most."Avinash Paliwal
Reflections on the ‘Quasi-Federal’ Democracy
In his article for The Hindu, Aswini Ray contemplates about how the Constitution of India, despite its ability "to keep its wide-ranging diversity within one sovereign state, with a formal democratic framework", has not always been successful in protecting India's liberal institutions.
"With ‘nation-building” as priority, the constitutional division of power and resources remains heavily skewed in favour of the Centre; along with “Residual”, “Concurrent” and “Implied” powers, it compromises on the elementary federal principle of equality among them, operationally reinforced by extra-constitutional accretion. While the judiciary is empowered to adjudicate on their conflicts, with higher judicial appointments (an estimated 41% lying vacant), promotion and transfers becoming a central prerogative, their operations are becoming increasingly controversial."Aswini Ray, The Hindu
The Question, the Grief, the Excuses, and the Return of 1990
In her anguished column for the Hindustan Times, Smriti Kak Ramachandran observes the similarities between the targeted killings of minorities last week in Kashmir and the 1990 exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.
She argues how not much has changed in three decades, ranging from the killings to Pandits fleeing the Valley.
"What has also not changed is the response to these targeted killings. Sure, there have been statements of condemnation from political leaders; people bringing up the fabled Kashmiriyat to denounce the murders; but there still exists a vestibule where conspiracy theories are churned out. If it was a Jagmohan then (the governor at the time), it is a sinister demographic change now."Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Hindustan Times
The Baadshah and I; the Father and Us All
Expressing her appreciation for the "King of Bollywood" and his majestic career, Shalini Langer, in her piece for the The Indian Express, notes how being a parent can reduce even a superstar to an ordinary human being.
In the context of his son Aryan Khan's arrest, Langer sympathises with Shah Rukh Khan as a parent, and lament's the system whose very purpose is to make us fall.
"The star who has always spoken of his children as his world is just a parent right now. And, as parents ourselves, trying to steer a new generation in a world that is again changing, we know as well as SRK that there are no easy answers, no fingers to point, no stones to be cast. We are all as fallible as the next person in a system rigged to trip you, to hit you at your lowest, to catch you at your littlest. Any one of ours can be the next Aryan, without the searing spotlight."Shalini Langer
Bharat Ratna Sachin’s Money in Tax Haven
In a scathing piece for The Tribune, Rohit Mahajan calls out cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar's hypocrisy in suggesting the common people to invest their savings in mutual funds while stashing away his own in foreign tax havens, a claim that Tendulkar along with many Indian and non-Indian personalities have been charged with in the Pandora Papers expose.
Mahajan also questions awarding Tendulkar the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, when it is usually awarded to people posthumously or in their old age, when their lifetime's contributions have become worthy of judgement.
"Most of his fans are likely to be struggling in these inflationary times, possibly borrowing money towards the end of the month; for another, it’s not supposed to be a morally exemplary action to not invest your money in your motherland but in tax havens outside the country. What sort of Bharat Ratna would do that? Well, we know the answer now."Rohit Mahajan, The Tribune
Irrationality of a Pakistan
Salil Misra, in his column for The Tribune, delves into the controversies surrounding the partition of India and asserts that partition was absolutely irrational and "in complete defiance of either logic or existing realities." He denies both claims advanced by the proponents of partition, which were that Indian Muslims comprised a strongly homogenised community and this community was fundamentally different from non-Muslim communities.
He urges scholars to further introspect about why a self-evidently tragic and irrational event like the partition of India ever took place.
The basic irrationality of the Partition scheme was not simply an appendage to it; it was an integral part of the scheme. The demand for Pakistan was inherently irrational and fraught with serious tragic consequences. And most political leaders knew it beforehand. The genocidal violence that accompanied Partition was not simply incidental. There was no other option; it had to be this way only. With Partition, there was no option between violence and non-violence.Salil Misra
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