Celebrate the Constitution
Even though BJP’s spokespersons are unleashing a propaganda war against them, the women of Shaheen Bagh are talking about the Constitution and the rights it guarantees them. In her latest column for The Indian Express Tavleen Singh writes about how a dream translated into a document remains India’s a shining beacon in a troubled time.
"“Unsurprisingly, for most of India’s early years as a modern nation, there was constant speculation about when democracy was going to die. Of the handful of Indians who could read and write in those dark times, too many actually wished that it would die sooner than later. As someone who spent most of those years in military towns, I remember hearing often that what India needed was a decade of military dictatorship so that we could prosper as Pakistan had by then. Hard though it is to believe today, Pakistan in its early years of military rule was actually doing much better economically than ‘socialist’ India. And yet, democracy survived even through Indian Gandhi’s Emergency.”" - Talveen Singh in The Indian Express The Fourth Crisis of the Republic
In its career has a Republic, India has seen three major crises, says Ramachandra Guha in his column inThe Hindustan Times. He says that on the 70th anniversary of the Republic, the country is going through its fourth crisis. If good leadership helped India through the first three turmoils, it is the lack of enlightened leadership that has pushed the country to the fourth.
"“A historian can use the past to understand the present, but a historian cannot predict the future. I cannot tell how the rest of the year or the rest of the decade will unfold for India and Indians. But that the Republic is passing through a very troubled phase in its history is evident. That it lacks the sort of enlightened leadership that can take us out of our difficulties is even more evident.”" - Ramachandra Guha in The Hindustan TimesFocus on India’s Cultural Greatness Than Military Muscle
Despite being a Hindu nationalist party, the BJP doesn’t project India as the source of the great Hindu culture, writes Swaminathan Aiyar in The Times of India. Instead of championing the cause of India’s culture heritage, the saffron party’s agenda is focused on military conquest, seeking to make heroes of Hindu rulers and villains of others, he writes.
"“Any other country would boast from the rooftops of its great cultural imprint across half the ancient world’s population. In India we hear nary a whisper. Our history books, literature and Bollywood films are obsessed with military battles and conquests. They extol kings and generals and say very little about the great Asian cultural flowering that originated in India.”" - Swaminathan Aiyar in The Times of IndiaThe Anti-Muslim Century
Why has the 21st century become so blatantly anti-Muslim? In his column in The Indian Express Meghnad Desai writes about how the great powers in the world that fought the cold war in the last century, are now engaged in a “war against Muslims worldwide”.
"“The Cold War ended last century. Now it seems all the Great Powers are engaged in a war against Muslims worldwide. Russia has its Chechnya, China its Uighurs. France has sustained multiple terrorist attacks this century on civilians. US President Donald Trump is hostile to Muslims worldwide and has just declared his displeasure against Iran. We could, though not very likely, yet end up with a world war in the second fifth of this century.”" - Meghnad Desai in The Indian Express CAA: All eyes on Courts
Seven decades after the Indian Constitution was formalised, India is facing a political crisis that threatens the fabric of the nation envisioned by the creators of the Constitution. In his column in The Times of India, Piyush Pal writes that the courts in which the country should repose its faith during such a crisis, have done little in the past to assure the people that such faith is warranted.
"“All three are flouted here. The CAA seeks to protect persecuted minorities from certain countries, but limiting this to non-Muslims is irrational, as the Ahmadiyyas, Hazaras, and Shias remain victimised in our neighbourhood. The CAA also arbitrarily applies restrictively only to three countries, which have nothing in common other than Islam as their state religion. By using religion as the condition to determine entitlement to protection, the CAA also treats people unequally, thus contradicting Art.”" - Piyush Pal in The Times of India Power of Anthems
Mukul Kesvan’s column in The Telegraph looks at what is arguably the anthem of the Anti-CAA protests across the country - “Hum Dekhenge”. He argues that majoritarianism across world is premised on their refusal of empathise with anyone apart from the majority. In India, where Modi’s government constantly champions Hindi, Faiz’s poem’s popularity is a pushback towards plurality.
"To observe that “most Indians don’t understand Urdu” is reasonable, but it doesn’t really follow that a poem in that language or an Urdu poet can’t be iconic. Most Indians don’t understand Sanskrit but most people would agree that Vande Mataram and its composer, Bankim Chandra, are ‘iconic’. I would bet that ninety-nine per cent of all Indians don’t understand a single line of the national anthem except the ones that list place names, and yet singing it in chorus in Shaheen Bagh in Delhi or Ghanta Ghar in Lucknow stokes a curiously pan-Indian feeling." - Mukul Kesavan in The TelegraphHope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his article in The Indian Express, elaborates how Indian economy is neck-deep in an economic crisis. He also lists out what the finance minister should address in the upcoming budget. But then, he adds that the economy is not the main concern of the BJP government, but it is Hindutva.
"According to Dr Arvind Subramanian, former chief economic adviser, the economy is in the ‘intensive care unit’. According to Nobel Prize winner Dr Abhijit Banerjee, the economy is ‘doing badly’. None of the observations of critics seems to have worried the government, that maintains that the upturn will happen in the ‘next quarter’! Because of its ostrich-like attitude, the government has rejected every correct remedial measure and has, instead, taken the wrong measures." - P Chidambaram in The Indian Express The Long and the Short of Uttar Pradesh
India’s biggest political problem is not Kashmir, but it is Uttar Pradesh and its everyday humanitarian disaster, writes Rahul Jayaram in his column in The Hindu. The state has not bettered its human development index over the last 27 years and the law order situation lives up to every cliché. He also argues that it is time to democratically discuss the division of Uttar Pradesh.
"As is customary, where the State is corrupt, callous and cruel, organised religion regulates life. U.P. is the mothership for the conservative and hard-line versions of both Hinduism and Islam in India. Since modernity and governments crater here, older forms of social anchoring have a solid social hold. In such circumstances, when ordinary humans view the state as the foe, godmen and goondas provide a path out of woe." - Rahul Jayaram in The Hindu A Tribute to the Women Who Showed us the way
From Dadis of Shaheen Bagh to Deepika Padukone women have anchored India’s recent resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Lalita Panikar in her article for The Hindustan Times writes women leading the way is not limited to the CAA protest. Recalling the #MeToo movement, the Pinjra Thod movement and the women’s movement to reclaim public places, she makes a case for fighting like a girl.
"The strength and resilience shown by women in the ongoing protests across India on the citizenship law has amazed many. While Deepika Padukone’s appearance at Jawaharlal Nehru University sent the media into a frenzy, the manner in which women, especially Muslim women, came out in huge numbers has given the protest movement visibility, depth and strength. But there have been several movements in India in which women took the lead." - Lalita Panikar in The Hindustan Times. More From The Quint:
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