Weekend Reads

  1. “The Indian Supreme Court was never perfect,” writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta, with a reference to the way the court has handled cases of civil liberties, and Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami of late. “It has had its dark periods before. But the signs are that it is slipping into judicial barbarism in the senses described above. This phenomenon is not just a matter of individual judges or individual cases. It is now a systematic phenomenon with deep institutional roots.”
  2. Navroz Seervai responds to Mehta’s piece: “Speaking of the Supreme Court’s selectivity, Mehta says that claims to discourage the use of Article 32 is the ‘perfect metaphor’, demonstrating that the Supreme Court acts like there exists a state of Emergency even when there does not. Perhaps a better indicator of our collective despair lies in the fact that even an intellectual of Mehta’s stature seems to forget that Article 32 remains a constitutional refuge during a declared Emergency. If that is so, what is it that we are living through now?”
  3. Arnab Goswami isn’t just a face on TV. As Kunal Purohit explains, in the world of online Bharatiya Janata Party supporters, he has turned into a Hindu hero and a national saviour.
  4. Sugata Srinivasaraju explains the controversy within the Akshaya Patra Foundation, after a number of independent trustees of the group that has contracts to deliver mid-day meals in many states resigned.
  5. “The biggest damage to the Indian economy was done during the Indira Gandhi years, which saw negative growth over two decades,” writes Amartya Lahiri, looking back at what seven decades of independent India’s economic growth tells us. “Bizarrely, her administration appears to have escaped the virulent criticisms that have been directed at the Nehru years.”
  6. The removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy may have been partly defended as a way of ensuring that Central laws providing for rights and equality would also be enforced in the state – but so far this hasn’t included the Forest Rights Act, which would protect pastoral tribal communities, writes Mudassir Kuloo.
  7. Neerja Deodhar speaks to photographer Madhu Gopal Rao who documented Indian rooftops, as a location for joy and activity in the time of lockdown.
  8. “In a world where migration is discussed mainly in terms of the burden it places on receiving countries, the idea that migrants go through irrevocable cultural losses is not something that’s sufficiently discussed,” writes Rubeena Mahato. “That something as basic as food could be a strong part of that loss is even harder to fathom.”
  9. It is now extremely easy to create images of entirely fake people that look completely believable. What does that mean for society, ask Kashmir Hill and Jeremy White.
  10. Despite all the initial worries that it may die out early, evidence now suggests that immunity to Covid-19 may last years, maybe even decades, writes Apoorva Mandavilli.