Weekend Reads

  1. “If there is one thing we’ve learned about [Narendra] Modi in all the years he has been chief minister and prime minister, it is that he never learns from his mistakes,” writes Siddharth Vardarajan in the Wire, as the government celebrates the first year of Modi 2.0. “The current situation is the product of his cult of personality, and the only response he is capable of is to double down on his worst impulses.”
  2. “On a day when the country’s highest court finally, if belatedly, questioned the Centre and the states on the plight of stranded migrant workers, it takes a particularly blind and blatant partisanship, apart from a moral obtuseness, to question, instead, the commitment and credentials of those who are pointing to the unfolding tragedy and calling for urgent redress and accountability,” says an Indian Express editorial on the arguments of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
  3. “Most families are doing exactly that: consuming boiled rice and salt or wheat flatbread with chilly paste. Even potatoes are unaffordable,” reports Sayantan Bera in Mint. “During a three-day visit to Bundelkhand last week, this reporter witnessed signs of pervasive hunger and undernourishment. Entire families, including children are skipping meals; families out of the food security scheme are on the brink of starvation.”
  4. “The Covid-19 experience has taught us that it’s far better to respond quickly and smartly, with the right technology and mass testing and tracing, rather than only relying on the crudest of shutdowns,” writes Elaine He in Bloomberg. “If there are second waves of the virus, we shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the first.”
  5. “India’s arrest rate is 14.6 times its incarceration rate while for the USA, it is much lower at 4.72 (481.3 vs 3,298.5 per 100,000 population), which means that is the number of people the police are arresting for every person they send to the prison,” write Ameya Bokil and Nikita Sonavane in Article 14. “While disaggregation of arrest data on the basis of community is not officially available, there is little reason to believe the pattern of overrepresentation will be much varied. In Bhopal, one finds that certain denotified tribes, nomadic tribes and other Adivasi communities – Pardhi, Kanjar, Kasai, Gonds etc. are at the receiving end of the practice of over-arresting.”
  6. How Cyclone Amphan wrecked Kolkata: Mint carries six personal diaries about the disastrous storm.
  7. Molly Hensley-Clancy on Buzzfeed News reports on the owners of a restuarant that was burned down in Minneapolis in the anti-police brutality protests. “Ruhel, an immigrant from Bangladesh, explained it this way: “Life is more valuable than anything else,” he said, hours after his restaurant had burned. “We can rebuild a building. But we cannot give this man back to his family.”
  8. “For South Asians committed to ending state violence against Black people, it has always been clear that our work goes further, that we must also work to undo anti-Blackness within our own communities,” writes Deepa Iyer. “The hard conversations with our parents and our uncles and aunties about white supremacy, anti-Black racism, and solidarity are not usually easy or fruitful.”
  9. Karen Attiah writes in the Washington Post: “How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country.”
  10. “Mongolia has had the best COVID-19 response in the world. Not only do they have zero deaths, they have zero local transmissions. Mongolia didn’t flatten the curve or crush the curve,” writes Indi Samarajiva. “In Mongolia, there simply wasn’t an epidemic at all.