Sunday View: Ideal Hindu Rashtra, Finance Bill and MP Privileges

A compilation of the best op-eds across the Sunday newspapers this morning.

1. Mass Closure of Abattoirs Will Hit Muslims, Dalits, Farmers

In his column ‘Swaminomics’ in The Times of India, Swaminathan Aiyar appeals to PM Modi to rethink BJP state governments’ crackdown on abattoirs and meat processors especially in Uttar Pradesh. He argues that shutting down of legal slaughterhouses without any alternatives will adversely impact the meat industry and may also have a political cost by ‘fueling an anti-BJP front’ in the future.

“In one sense, closing illegal units is good governance. Yet millions of hawkers make a living by illegally occupying pavements and paying no taxes. Millions of enterprises flout dozens of rules. Millions of squatters illegally invade cities. The answer cannot be to shut down everything and expel everybody. We need a gradual formalisation of millions of informal enterprises, plus tough administration for big rule breakers. By targeting abattoirs and meat processors, you effectively target the two groups associated with this trade, Muslims and Dalits — the very opposite of “sabka saath, sabka vikas.””

2. Across the Aisle: The Intoxication of Absolute Power

In his column ‘Across the Aisle’ in The Indian Express, P Chidambaram lists out his three concerns regarding the Finance Bill, 2017. He calls the Bill an assault on our Constitution, argues that it encourages ‘tax terrorism’ and through its provision of electoral bonds, promotes money laundering.

“Finance Bill, 2017, is an assault on Article 110 of the Constitution. 55 of the 189 clauses of the Finance Bill have nothing to do with taxation— clause (a) — or have any connection with any of the clauses (b) to (g) of sub-Article (1) of Article 110. Further, these 55 clauses are not consequential or incidental to the other clauses of the Finance Bill that are concerned with taxation. These suspect clauses have been smuggled into the Finance Bill by the Finance Minister against his legal conscience. The real purpose is to avoid scrutiny of the Bill by the Rajya Sabha. His comeuppance will be when the Supreme Court rules on what shall and what shall not be included in a Money Bill.”

3. The Ideal Hindu Rashtra Will Be No Different from This Demo Version

What is an ideal Hindu Rashtra? In his column ‘Aakarvani’ in The Times of India, Aakar Patel attempts to answer this question by looking at the nature of the Hindu state in Nepal and Islamic state in Pakistan. Comparing these states to India under PM Narendra Modi’s government, Patel forcefully argues that there are no larger goals to the ‘profound smallness of Hindutva’ as seen in contemporary India.

“What comes next in Hindu Rashtra after the nastiness against the weak is over is more of the same. As the Patidars have learnt in the model state, there is no grand scheme and no bigger plan. The thuggery, the bullying, the resentment, the vandalism and the robed charlatans. This is it and this is all there is. If you thought that the peddlers of Hindu Rashtra have a vision for Bharat that goes beyond grabbing someone’s property and denying some their food and others their livelihood, you should ask for your money back.”

4. Why Yogi Adityanath Needs to Focus on the Mandate

In his column in the Hindustan Times, Chanakya critiques the first two policy decisions made by Yogi Adityanath after coming to power in Uttar Pradesh; anti-romeo squads and a crackdown on slaughterhouses. He writes that Yogi Adityanath’s focus on these two issues indicates that he is overlooking more crucial problems plaguing the state and is possibly ignoring the UP voter’s mandate to ‘live a better life.’

“Yogi Adityanath has a historic majority and a full five-year term to change UP for the better. If he decides to stick to a narrow cultural agenda, it may thrill his base — but will alienate the substantial incremental vote that veered towards the BJP in this election due to the hopes for a better future. Alternatively, if he makes a distinction between majority consolidation — and the governance strategy, which should be sabka saath, sabka vikaas — Yogi Adityanath can still make a difference.”

5. Stop Stonewalling, Empower the Voter

Writing in the Hindustan Times, Rajesh Mahapatra argues that political parties should be concerned with the public’s mistrust over transparency in political funding and should take steps to find an amenable resolution on the issue.

“While over the past week, Parliament and the media have extensively debated the efficacy and implications of the proposed electoral bonds, both have conveniently glossed over a key concern: Do voters have right to know about the finances of political parties? Or how does the world’s largest democracy empower its voters with information that they ought to have on the vote seekers?”

6. Out of My Mind: Double Divorce

Commenting on the Scottish Referendum and the way Scotland voted to ‘Remain’ during Brexit, Lord Meghnad Desai in his column ‘Out of My Mind’ in The Indian Express argues that a similar disjoint in a part of the Union voting to secede cannot happen in India.

“A strong country should be confident of itself. If there is a demand for separation in some region, let us have a Referendum. If India is a success story, as it surely is, no azadi movement can win a majority. Challenge the separatists. Ask them to win a majority in a Referendum. It is better than bombs and bullets.”

7. Fifth Column: Perverted Privileges

In her column ‘Fifth Column’ in The Indian Express, Tavleen Singh writes about the VIP culture among Indian politicians in the light of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad’s misbehaviour on an Air India flight. She argues that it is time PM Modi re-examines the luxuries enjoyed by elected representatives, whether MPs or MLAs, in India.

“The reason why this column has campaigned tirelessly against the ‘socialist’ practice of allowing our elected representatives to live like billionaires, is because I believe it deforms democracy. It is wrong for many reasons. Of these the most important is that the lure of a house in Lutyens Delhi is so great that too many people I know enter politics only to be able to keep Daddy or Mummy’s house. When beloved parent passes on or loses an election, an heir automatically appears just to hang on to the house. If the Lok Sabha becomes hard to get into, the adoring parent ensures that he keeps the family home through the Rajya Sabha. MPs who become chief ministers try to send a relative to Parliament to keep the house.”

8. Why We Need a Ram Temple in Ayodhya

Writing for The Times of India, Chetan Bhagat in his column ‘The Underage Optimist’ counters three popular arguments against building the Ram temple in Ayodhya. He argues that it is reasonable for the Hindu community in India to request a temple at one of their religion’s holiest places and writes that shifting the mosque will not ‘tarnish the name of Islam.’

“India is a nation that respects all religions. To prove that, sometimes we tend to become extra sensitive to issues related to minority religions, but ignore any issues the majority religion may have.The Ram temple is just one of them. Previous governments, particularly, had a policy of appeasement for the Muslim community, which took things to the extent that even a reasonable request was made to look like a form of Hindu bullying.”

9. What Would Yogi Adityanath Make of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

In his column in the Hindustan Times, Karan Thapar wonders what Yogi Adityanath would make of the epic romance between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Criticiing the use of the word ‘vigilantism’ to describe anti-Romeo squads in Uttar Pradesh, Thapar suggest that Yogi Adityanath should listen to Dean Martin’s song “The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane” to understand love in India.

“So if the ladies of Lucknow have taken to Shakespeare’s famous lament “O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?” it’s likely to be in vain. The Yogi’s police won’t allow the state’s young men to respond. They do not approve of boys and girls sitting together on benches, meeting surreptitiously in cafes, sneaking off to the movies. Holding hands when the lights go down or snogging in the dark is simply out of the question. The ascetic does not understand the thrill of romance. He cannot imagine the charm of courtship. For him affection, it seems, is literally calf-love.”

From The Quint:
Is Meat Industry A ‘Muslim’ One When Other Livelihoods Rely On It?
Highway Liquor Ban: 1 Million Jobs, Rs 200 Thousand Cr at Stake
Slaughterhouse Ban: Is Leather Goods Industry the Latest Victim?
Dear MPs, Don’t Hold on to Two Offices & Burn Taxpayers’ Money