Weekend Reads

  1. “A vast network of fringe Hindu groups loosely linked to the BJP and RSS operates hundreds of public and private social media groups and pages that drum up support for Hindutva causes,” writes Shweta Desai in Article 14 on the online mob that forced Tanishq to withdraw its ad reflecting communal harmony in India. “Anti-Islamic videos and membership drives create an army of supporters prepped to transition to real-life communal violence.”
  2. “Many still refuse to face the racism and communalism that has permeated and flourished in recent years across virtually all facets of Indian society,” writes Rana Ayyub in the Washington Post on the same topic. “Now the ad has been censored and wiped out from our imagination under a flood of violence, exposing the moral deterioration in our country.”
  3. India and China are discussing a disengagement plan in Ladakh that could see both sides step back from their positions – providing relief to soldiers ahead of the cold, inhospitable winter, but effectively delivering a new status quo to Beijing. Ajai Shukla reports in the Business Standard on how the Chinese side has even explained how New Delhi could sell the move to a domestic audience.
  4. “The true character of a state is perhaps best exposed by its choice of enemies. In its latest strike, the entire might of the state has converged on an 83-year-old Jesuit priest, who has devoted his life to struggling with the most oppressed among the Indian people – the Adivasis – against corporate and state power,” writes Harsh Mander in the Indian Express on the recently arrested Stan Swamy. “The government leaves no doubt about who it despises and fears. And who it stands with.”
  5. Sheela Bhatt says in Gulf News that there is an urgent need for the Indian National Congress to resurrect the sentiment that drove its popularity around the country, if there is to be any hope of reinvigorating the Opposition.
  6. Unemployment might be an even bigger problem in Bihar than it is all over India, explaining why everyone in the state is promising jobs ahead of the elections, write Abhishek Jha and Roshan Kishore in the Hindustan Times.
  7. “The #MeToo movement has hit a nerve among Iran’s women,” reports Farnaz Fassihi in the New York Times. “Now accusations against a politically connected celebrity artist are testing the movement in a sexually conservative society dominated by men.”
  8. A Russian mayor propped up the woman who cleaned city hall as his opponent in a local election to make it seem like there was some opposition. Then, Andrew E Kramer writes in the New York Times, she won.