A shallow, exploitative film

In The Kashmir Files, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri deploys the tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandits merely as a canvas to illustrate his own worldview, political analyst Asim Ali writes in an elegant critique of the controversial film in NewsLaundry. “This worldview also happens to align with the Hindu nationalists in power, which explains why the movie has been made tax-free in several Bharatiya Janata Party-governed states,” he notes.

Ali decisively punctures the comparison some supporters of The Kashmir Files are making to Steven Spielberg’s celebrated film on the Holocaust. “This is not a refutation of majoritarian politics and its consequences on minorities, but its justification – a Schindler’s List made with the moral compass of Nazi propagandists,” he writes.

Read the piece here.

The fraying fabric

What happens when the victims of hate crimes fail to receive justice? Just before the Bharatiya Janata Party was voted back to power in Uttar Pradesh, Kunal Purohit of Article-14 travelled 1,800 km to visited the sites of six hate crimes.

“The lack of closure – the attackers roaming free, and often, in the same village, the unending and slow-moving trials, and the local power dynamics of class and caste – has upended the lives of the victims in these six hate crime spots, while the accused are sometimes feted and felicitated,” he reports.

Read his article here.

Reading the assembly election results

In his analysis of the 2022 Assembly elections, which saw the Bharatiya Janata Party form governments in four of the five states that went to the ballot, political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta reaches a sobering conclusion.

“The fact that a politics that has venom, hate, prejudice, violence, repression and deceit is not a deal breaker for voters is something to think about,” he writes in The Indian Express. “This road always ends in catastrophe.”

Read his op-ed here.

Cancelling Russian culture

In the US and Europe, concerts of 19th-century Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s music are being cancelled and there is talk about banning some Russian writers to protest Moscow’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. “In the spirit of moral clarity, anything ‘Russian’ has become immoral,” says literary critic and Slavic culture expert Gary Saul Morson in First Things.

This has caused him to sound the alarm. “Such thinking is not only profoundly dangerous, it also fundamentally misunderstands the very nature of moral judgment,” he writes.

Read his article here.

The momo rising

Momos are exploding in the US, writes Bobby Ghosh in Bloomberg. Not only are Nepali and Tibetan restaurants springing up everywhere, food trucks are serving up the delectable dumplings. They’re also available frozen in grocery stores.

What explains this? Ghosh has a theory: “Like Chinese noodles, momos are easily harmonised to local tastes. At Momo Crave, in New York’s Woodside neighborhood, the menu features an Indian-style ‘tandoori momo’ as well as ‘momo tacos’.”

Read his column here.