Weekend Reads

  1. Liz Mathew, Ravish Tiwari and Shubhangi Kapre in the Indian Express explain just how the Bharatiya Janata Party managed a midnight coup in Maharashtra, after weeks in which it seemed like it was out of the race.
  2. “This is not new but a very old and very familiar grammar of power politics,’” writes Harish Khare in the Wire. “As a polity, we should be grateful that our new rulers have dropped all their pretences of being qualitatively different not only from the Congress or UPA crowd but also from the Vajpayee-Advani brand of ‘political decency’.”
  3. Ellen Barry in the New York Times has a fascinating personal essay about a man believed to be from the eccentric royal family of Awadh.
  4. “Pickles are also traditional knowledge in a bottle, and learning to make pickles is a way of honouring that.” Pooja Pillai writes about the relationship India has with pickles in the Indian Express.
  5. From a Bombay-born “Madrasi” to the darling of Kolkata, Rushati Mukherjee examines the legacy of Usha Uthup in Open, 50 years after she began her singing career.
  6. We have witnessed some of the largest and most widespread leftwing protests in history, and we end the decade with the most rightwing governments in living memory,” writes Gary Younge in the Guardian.
  7. The New York Times collects a list of the ten best books of 2019, an extremely strong list (with many more to come).
  8. What if what we call gaffes is actually the result of a stutter? John Hendrickson in the Atlantic has an essay about what Joe Biden can’t get himself to say.
  9. Even as America debates whether US President Donald Trump blackmailed Ukraine for political favours, Christopher Miller in BuzzFeedNew reminds everyone: There is still a war going on.
  10. “In every other industry, a company can be held liable when their product is defective. When engines explode or seatbelts malfunction, car companies recall tens of thousands of vehicles, at a cost of billions of dollars. It only seems fair to say to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter: your product is defective, you are obliged to fix it, no matter how much it costs and no matter how many moderators you need to employ.” Sacha Baron Cohen has a searing message for the Silicon Valley.