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.
Mischievous and Fake Crusades
Having examined the very concept of jihad in Islam – which represents a human struggle to promote the right and prevent the wrong – P Chidambaram, in his column for The Indian Express, opines that the combination of Jihad with words like love and narcotics is a clear attempt to drive a scissor across the Indian social fabric.
"The intention is clear. It is to provoke distrust and communal conflict between followers of a religion (Hinduism or Christianity) on the one hand and Islam on the other. Islam is the ‘other’ and Muslims are the ‘other’ people to fanatics. A secular nation must stamp out such fanaticism whether it is expressed in words or deeds or through subtle means of discrimination."P Chidambaram in The Indian Express.
Maintaining that there is little evidence backing claims that Islam is on an expansionist mode in India, Chidambaram expresses pain at remarks made by Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt of Pala in Kerala, while reminding those like him that "there have been occasions when the Hindu radical right has treated the Christians as other."
Quad: The Emergence of a Genuine Counterweight to China
Arguing that recent moves made by China had given a fresh lease of life to Quad, Pramit Pal Chaudhari, in his piece for Hindustan Times writes how the ensemble of four nations had regrouped, much in tandem to the Chinese belief that the greatest generals are those who defeat their enemy before meeting them in the battlefield.
One can almost mark the turning points when each government gave up the ghost of Sinophilia. The US turned when China used the G-20 honeymoon to take over the South China Sea. Galwan Valley led India, which always had a more realistic view of what Beijing was all about than the others, to conclude being even outwardly nice to China was a waste of time.Pramit Pal Chaudhari in Hindustan Times.
While much remains to be accomplished for the group, Pal maintains that Quad's priority will be to demonstrate that “rules-based democracies” are more than capable of matching China in its economic achievements.
Congress Cracks and the Old Fissures of Punjabi Suba
Taking a leaf out of the Punjab Suba movement, Pramod Kumar, in his piece for The Indian Express, writes that the recent churning within Congress that led to the selection of a Sikh-only Chief Minister serves as a throwback back to the identity-based politics of yesteryears, which "may not succeed."
The movement, which began in the mid-sixties, drew sharp battle lines between the Congress which talked about secular nationalism, as opposed to the Akali leadership seeking Sikh predominance in a “reorganised Punjab”.
"The Congress fought the 1962 general election as a referendum on the Punjabi Suba issue, a challenge which was accepted by the Akali Dal. However, not only did the Akalis lose, they won only 19 of 154 seats, losing even in Punjabi-speaking areas. Already discredited due to the failure of the earlier agreement, Master Tara Singh was held responsible for this defeat. A split in the Akali Dal followed."Pramod Kumar in The Indian Express.
Writing for The Telegraph, Mukul Kesavan maintains that the cameraperson in Assam – who stomped over a man shot dead by the state police – knew that stomping over a Muslim man was a politically-approved trend. But would he have done the ghoulish dance that he did, had it not been for the camera?
Labeling the cameraperson's behaviour as an act of 'performative depravity', Kesavan points to the increasing urge among digital dwellers to take everything they do offline, online.
"But this sense that we are continuously performing for an imagined community of unseen eyes isn’t political; it’s a function of the coming together of phone cameras, cellular connectivity and social media. This does two things: one, it amplifies narcissism because people can share themselves and their doings online, instantly, and two, it creates a peculiar disjunction between their here-and-now, that is to say, their corporeal lives and their digital avatars. (It’s interesting that when we’re not online, we acknowledge in our minds that we are ‘offline’; our engagement with the physical world of taste and touch and smell is now described, by default, as a state of disconnection.)"Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph.
Time To Speak for Liberalism
Maintaining that India's inclusion in Quad was primarily a part of the group's efforts to rally the world's democracies against China's 'malign influence,' Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, writes that the country should address the growing trend that has now made the word liberal an internet slur.
"When the Prime Minister returns home he would do well to spend an afternoon with his media team and find out why it is only ‘friendly’ journalists that get to meet him. And, why newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar and news portals like Newslaundry and NewsClick have been recently subjected to tax raids. He should also ask the Home Minister why so many dissidents have spent months in jail simply because they were arrested under preventive detention laws that do not require specific charges before an arrest is made. Bail has been repeatedly opposed by his officials on grounds that the courts have begun to question. No country that treats dissidents and political opponents this way counts as a liberal democracy."Tavleen Singh, in The Indian Express.
Sarkar’s Reform Mode: Our Politics Doesn’t Matter, Every Move To Increase Prosperity Must Be Welcomed
Lauding the the government over a bevy of economic reforms unleashed by it recently, Chetan Bhagat, in his column for the , writes that the focus on the economic front must continue as growth alone can pull the country out of a job crisis.
"Four remarkable reforms, all done within a span of few weeks highlight a shift towards a more reform-based agenda. The first one was the scrapping of retrospective taxation laws, which occurred on August 9, 2021, when the Rajya Sabha approved the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021. This change was universally welcomed by the investor and corporate community, and rightly so. It is rare that a government willingly signs on something to reduce its power, and this amendment alone signaled a new outlook towards private companies."Chetan Bhagat in the Times of India.
‘What Future Do I Have in Afghanistan Now?’
"What future do I have there now?" wonders Afghan student Aziza Sarwari, in her piece for the Indian Express. Presently a scholar in India, Sarwari asserts that although the Taliban claims to be moderate this time, "the truth is, no woman is going out to work or study."
"In the initial days of the Taliban takeover, their soldiers went house to house, searching for women. That’s when my family sent my sister to my uncle’s house because his village is remote. Only a few of my friends in Kabul are going to college. Those who do say classrooms are now segregated spaces. Worse, women have to wear the Taliban-prescribed niqab. We would cover up earlier too, but have you ever experienced the niqab? You cannot see your own waist, you trip and fall. It is so suffocating… you cannot breathe."Aziza Sarwari in The Indian Express.
Lucky Indian Men and Everyday Sexism
In her piece for The New Indian Express, Shinie Antony categorizes Indian men as being the kind that is 'at home', even when travelling in a plane, a bus or for that matter, a bullock cart.
"Him taking a nap in a public place like the Buddha he is, while I looked like I was simultaneously handling the laundry and labour pains with a ‘so sorry for breathing’ smile bequeathed to me by a long line of women who came before me. I am aware at all times of the elbows that could dig into my chest, of the heads that could nestle in my neck, of in fact being raped and killed and thrown from the plane, bus or bullock cart if I let my guard down. Indian men have the best complexions from a general lack of worrying; someone sorts out their socks and makes their tea. Globally, unke twacha se unke umar ka pata hi nahi chalta."Shinie Antony in The New Indian Express.
Poverty-Loving Luddite? Why We’re Reading Gandhi All Wrong
Often seen as a spiritual figure and the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi needs to be relooked as an intellectual figure whose ideas are similar to those like Adam Smith, widely regarded as the father of Economics, writes Jaithirth Rao, in his piece for The Times of India.
"Gandhi’s “still, small” voice of conscience has an almost exact parallel with Adam Smith’s “impartial spectator”, an imaginary person we set up ourselves to judge the moral basis of our actions. Gandhi and Smith were great supporters of individual initiative which they defended against intrusion by the state and which they acknowledged was necessary for wealth creation. For Gandhi, wealth creation was the way out of the “grinding pauperism” that was the lot of Indians in his time. For Smith, wealth becomes useful as it results in the refinement of the individual and of society. Both saw wealth as instrumental and were concerned with the moral imperatives surrounding the use of wealth. Gandhi’s instrumental view of wealth derived directly from his love of the Isavasya Upanishad. In his inimitable eclectic way, Gandhi drew inspiration also from the gospels of Mark and Matthew."Jaithirth Rao in The Times of India.
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