Debacle of Summit Diplomacy
In this week’s column for The Indian Express, P Chidambaram talks about the Indo-China conflict and how China was the aggressor back in 1962.
Chidambaram in his piece revisits a letter that was written by Nehru to the then prime minister of China Zhou Enlai ringing in how the Chinese had crossed the border in Longju.
He welcomes the disengagement and de-escalation but believes there is some distance to go before the government can reach its declared goal of status quo ante.
"The relations between the two countries have changed dramatically in a matter of months. At the Wuhan Summit on April 28, 2018, the joint statement devoted only one paragraph to the border question. It contained the usual phrases such as “maintaining peace and tranquillity”, “confidence building measures”, etc. At the Mahabalipuram Summit on October 12, 2019, the pro forma reference to the border was pushed down to paragraph 16 of the 17-paragraph statement. On the other hand, the two leaders “decided to designate 2020 as Year of India-China Cultural and People to People Exchanges”. Mr Modi must have loved the idea of a grand spectacle!" - P Chidambaram in The Indian ExpressThe Big Questions, and Answers, on COVID-19
The lockdown may be over but the threat of the COVID-19 malady is still alive.
Karan Thapar in his column for The Hindustan Times talks about some of the areas that we don’t have a clear answer for.
He questions whether enough tests are being done to determine the spread of COVID-19 in the country and how no one in the government will be able to give a straight answer for this. He explains this drawing a comparison with other countries like UK and Spain.
He also touches upon the threat of community transmission in India how a lot of cases could be unaccounted for.
"First, are we testing enough? No one in government — politician, bureaucrat or doctor — will give you a straight answer. Independent experts, on the other hand, unequivocally say we’re not. But even they don’t agree on what’s enough. At the moment India is testing 8,191 per million compared to 122,651 for Spain, 169,945 for the United Kingdom (UK) and 96,836 for Italy. Given India’s population is 10 or 12 times bigger, this can’t be enough." - Karan Thapar in The Hindustan TimesA Culture of Entitlement
In her most recent piece for The Indian Express, Tavleen Singh talks about the investigations into the finances of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. She also urges for an inquiry into Indian charities that are being funded by the Chinese.
In her piece, Tavleen Singh accuses political leaders of gobbling up expensive public land to set up educational institutions that usually serve as instruments to distribute patronage.
She questions on the lavish lifestyles of MPs and how ambitious construction projects are being picked up by the government at the expense of the taxpayer.
"The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, and its various offshoots, also received funds from Indian public sector companies and that is reprehensible as well. The reason why there needs to be a full investigation is because in the name of ‘good works’ many other political leaders have gobbled up expensive public land to set up educational institutions that usually serve as instruments to distribute patronage. This practice should never have been allowed." - Tavleen Singh in The Indian ExpressWhy Vikas Dubey Won’t Be the Last to Die in Police Custody
The death of Vikas Dubey at the hands of the UP police has left a majority of people flagging questions regarding governance in the state, police accountability, reforms and violation of Supreme court guidelines.
Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay in his column for The Deccan Herald talks about how police brutality has been prevalent and how in the past politically motivated crowds have been dispensers of punishment.
"Forty years ago, in the winter months of 1980,several newspapers and magazines carried detailed reports on what came to be known as the Bhagalpur blindings. It turned out that the police in this Bihar city known for its eponymous silk, had blinded 33 under trials over a two year period by pouring acid in their eyes. The case became a judicial landmark and the Supreme Court ordered compensation for the human rights violations." - Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay in The Deccan HeraldNehru and Narendra Modi
“Can we, dare we, compare Jawaharlal Nehru and Narendra Modi?”, asks Meghnad Desai in his column for The Indian Express and he dives into the contrasting lives of the two.
Desai lists some of the key achievements of Nehru during his stint as the prime minister and how Modi’s life has progressed in a different manner.
Desai also elaborates how the Chinese outwitted Nehru in the past and how Modi can learn from Nehru what not to do.
"The one thing they have in common is a concern about India’s position in the world. Nehru pioneered the Non-Aligned (anti-American) Movement. Nehru was a leader of the Afro-Asian group of countries who shared an anti-Imperialist ethos. He proudly escorted Zhou Enlai at Bandung, welcoming Communist China to the world. Zhou was misled into thinking that Nehru, the anti-imperialist, will give back to China the Tibetan territory taken by Lord Curzon. But Nehru was an Indian nationalist first and anti-imperialist second. He refused to yield any territory." - Meghnad Desai in The Indian ExpressCricket, Again
Sports is back and with it, test match cricket action also resumes after almost four months when the world went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused the death of millions of people around the world.
Mukul Kesavan in his piece for The Telegraph highlights how the test match between England and the West Indies is a new chapter for cricket in a post-COVID era and how the cricketing world has united in the fight against racism, just like in other sports.
"Given this build up, the cricket that followed could have been catastrophically anti-climactic had it followed the formbook... but it didn’t. Ben Stokes won the toss and decided to bat on an overcast day. His counterpart, Jason Holder, leading a four-pronged pace attack, cleaned up England for just over 200 runs in a style that Holding would have recognized. At close of play on the second day, England had conceded a first innings lead of 114 and the West Indies had given themselves every chance of winning the match. They performed like a team determined to rise to the occasion, to live up to the match’s framing moment." - Mukul Kesavan in The TelegraphWhy BJP Needs Nehru-Gandhi ‘Dynasty’ More Than Congress
This week we get you a piece by Sagarika Ghosh who tells us about how the ruling party needs the opposition to rev up their identity in this political battle.
Ghosh writes how the sixth generation Gandhis are politically weak to take on the Modi-led BJP and need new Congress leadership for stiff resistance.
In her piece for The Times of India, Ghosh points out how BJP wants to destroy the Nehru legacy yet needs his heirs to keep it’s own political torch afloat.
"Why does BJP need the Nehru-Gandhis? Because the Gandhis are the BJP and Sangh Parivar’s perfect enemy. They provide the ideal foil against whom the BJP can consolidate and rev up its own identity. Nehru, upholder of diehard secularism, has long been the RSS bugbear, Nehruvian secularism seen as the arch enemy of Hindutva. Italian-born Sonia Gandhi provides the BJP with a highly suitable enemy figure. She’s the “foreigner” against whom the party can ratchet up fervent bharatiya nationalism." - Sagarika Ghosh in The Times of IndiaHow Trump Is Torpedoing America Greatest Export — Higher Education
It’s ironic that some of the most valued students in the US are not US citizens but are from India and China who have travelled afar for quality education.
In his column for The Times of India, Chidanand Rajghatta lists some of the founding fathers of the Indian constitution who journeyed to the US for higher education. He talks about the rich alumni of Indian and Chinese students that have settled in the US and how they are taking up major roles in the industrial sector of the country.
Chidanand elaborates how Trump’s predominantly white voters resent this and how Trump himself makes no secret of his antipathy for this liberal crowd.
Indian and Chinese students nailed this template, helping bump up their ethnic population in the U.S from less than two million to over four million within a generation. They are thrifty and hardworking. Back in the 80s, the joke was an Indian student’s life in America rotated between Advisor and Budweiser. Teachers loved Indians and Chinese because they were diligent, helpful, and never stepped out of line. Because they had no social life and never spent money, they graduated fast and cheap. With their reasonable command of English, Indian students also made good teaching assistants. All this made foreign students, particularly Asians, some of the most valued students. In time they ate the American’s lunch, many via the now infamous H1B visas. Indian-Americans are now the best-educated and highest earning ethnic group in America bar none, including white Americans.
Chidanand Rajghatta in the Times of India
A Eulogy to Those Instagram Sunsets
Have you ever wondered how some of the best moments in your life are not captured in a photograph but they’re etched deep in your memory?
Rega Jha in her column for The Times of India reminisces about the times when she was a social media addict and how some of the priorities in life were to pull out the smartphone to capture each moment.
She elaborates on how people need to start seeing the world through their eyes and lesser through the lens of a smartphone camera.
"I know it isn’t such a sharp binary — feeling vs. documenting. There’s a way to take a quick photo and turn back to counting colours in the sky. But as another friend put it: joy is like Schrodinger’s Cat. The moment you observe it, you alter it. In scrambling to witness and reproduce the source of your joy, you might kill the thing and find it lying limp in a 1080×1080 box." - Rega Jha in The Times of India
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