Weekend Reads

  1. A protest that seemed on the backfoot and about to be evicted by the state turned around after an emotional appeal from Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait. Aditya Menon in The Quint explains why the government underestimated Tikait.
  2. “The scenes at the Red Fort may have been disturbing. But the real darkness on the horizon is not the protest, or the turn it might have taken. It is the turn Indian democracy is taking, almost as if it is on the road to perdition,” writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express.
  3. “There is a ‘New India’ and it has now acquired its own ‘new ruling elite’ which has enormous faith in the efficacy of heavy-handedness – traditionally a part of the armoury of the Indian state. It has imperious contempt for any resistance to its preferences and prejudices. Nor does this new ruling elite hesitate to maul a section of the society. In its entrenched arrogance, it believes it can live with resentments and can put the resentful in their place,” writes Harish Khare in The Wire.
  4. Against the backdrop of comedian Munawar Faruqui’s jailing, Shrabonti Bagchi reports on how other Muslim comedians are operating in an India where someone taking offence is always a danger in Mint.
  5. India Today reportedly penalised anchor Rajdeep Sardesai for allegedly misreporting details of the farmer protest and subsequent chaos on January 26. In Newslaundry, Ayush Tiwari writes that this “new gold standard of journalism must now apply to the other prima donnas in the network’s studios whose records in the realm of reporting are far worse than Sardesai on a bad day”.
  6. “Even ardent Western sceptics of Pakistan’s army and intelligence services would applaud if Gen. Bajwa succeeded in turning away from his predecessors’ policies. But the Supreme Court’s decision in [Daniel Pearl kidnapping mastermind Ahmed Omar Saeed] Sheikh’s case suggests that Pakistan has a long way to go to overcome jihadism,” writes Hussain Haqqani in the Wall Street Journal.
  7. Blue ticks are being sold on private marketplaces,” reports Shephali Bhatt in the Economic Times. “Individuals and agencies are offering social media verification services for a fee – from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh in India and many times higher for users in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.”
  8. “Here is the space where the syllabus remains to be decolonized –not through an ethics of substitution but one of addition,” writes Sumana Roy in The Point. “Literature in the postcolonial syllabus should surprise the student and not just confirm and illustrate “theories.” This, too, should be part of the decolonizing-the-syllabus mission: to dismantle the binary between postcolonial writers as content writers and Western writers as experimenters with form.”
  9. “A 62-year-old adventure mystery that has prompted conspiracy theories around Soviet military experiments, Yetis, and even extraterrestrial contact may have its best, most sensible explanation yet – one found in a series of avalanche simulations based in part on car crash experiments and animation used in the movie Frozen,” writes Robin George Andrews in National Geographic.
  10. If you haven’t already, read Kunal Kamra’s full response to the contempt notice from the Supreme Court.
  11. Plus, read a note from Scroll.in’s Naresh Fernandes on our seventh anniversary, earlier this week.