Weekend reads

  1. For first time in the history of independent India, a state has been demoted to a Union territory. The prime minister’s explanation for an act of such far-reaching consequences for Jammu and Kashmir was astonishingly weak, writes Radha Kumar in the Indian Express.  
  2. The kernel of the Right To Information Act is under threat, says Suhrith Parthasarathy in the Hindu. New amendments have been passed without subjecting the draft law to scrutiny by a parliamentary committee. This portends the reduction of governance to a form of democracy by crude acclamation.  
  3.  Despite the claims made by the Sangh Parivar, if Kashmir is a part of India, it is almost entirely because of Nehru, writes AG Noorani in The Wire. He had the foresight to forge an understanding with its tallest leader, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in the 1930s.  
  4.   The general sense of gloom in business needs to change before we can expect that growth will be higher in the second half of the year, says Ila Patnaik in the Hindustan Times. The Reserve Bank of India has done its bit by lowering repo rates last week, now the government needs to do its share.  
  5.   Centre’s proposal to borrow bonds in foreign currencies is a bad idea, notes Deepak Nayyar in Mint. Foreign-currency-denominated government bonds will inevitably mean a further integration into international financial markets, which are characterised not only by volatility, but also by swings in perceptions, moods and sentiments.  
  6.   Often, in black literature, it seems as though the author is performing two roles: that of the explorer and the explainer. Toni Morrison, the Nobel-winning African-American author did not do this. Morrison writes stories that are more aesthetic than overtly political, better expressed in accurate Tolstoyan detail than in generalising sentiments blunted with anger, The New York Times noted.  
  7. In this report from Srinagar, Vijayta Singh of The Hindu writes on the battle Kashmiris are waging to contact their families in the midst of a communication shutdown. 
  8. In this profile of Olympic cyclist Kelly Caltin, the Washington Post’s Kent Babb details the pressure of performance that contributed to the great athlete’s suicide. 
  9.   Nearly two dozen victims of pellet guns have been treated for injuries at the Sri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital in Srinagar over the past few days, belying officials claims of “calm”, reports Siddharth Varadarajan for The Wire. 
  10.   The prosperity gospel is a movement within American Christianity, also known as the Word of Faith, that says God wants you to be rich, but you have to will his financial blessing into being. Meagan Day in Jacobin writes on how this movement has exploited the faithful.