Weekend Reads

  1. “[Disha] Ravi’s arrest has spotlighted a different kind of collusion, this one between the increasingly oppressive and anti-democratic Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Silicon Valley companies whose tools and platforms have become the primary means for government forces to incite hatred against vulnerable minorities and critics — and for police to ensnare peaceful activists like Ravi in a high-tech digital web,” writes Naomi Klein.
  2. Lubhyati Rangarajan, Tejaswita Kharel and Harini VS look at 10 sedition cases filed over three years to 2020, and see how “the police apply sedition charges with little thought, evidence or legal justification and ignore a series of judicial rulings by high courts and the Supreme Court.”
  3. “India’s democratic exceptionalism is now withering away,” writes Ashutosh Varshney. “Democracies do not charge peaceful protestors with sedition, do not have religious exclusionary principles for citizenship, do not curb press freedoms by intimidating dissenting journalists and newspapers, do not attack universities and students for ideological non-conformity, do not browbeat artists and writers for disagreement, do not equate adversaries with enemies, do not celebrate lynch mobs, and do not cultivate judicial servility.”
  4. “While every internet user in India needs oversight and accountability from big tech, it should not be at the cost of increasing political control, chilling our voices online and hurting individual privacy,” writes Apar Gupta on India’s new intermediary rules.
  5. Roshan Kishore explains how the Bharatiya Janata Party’s hegemony is deepening the sense of alienation and betrayal for those who feel “short-changed by the effects of Hindutva 2.0.”
  6. “Given that India and China share a 3,488-kilometre-long border, not all of it can be manned, it would make imminent sense to begin to design a new compact. Except, this time, and for the integrity of this compact to hold, it needs to be shaped by and through the spirit of coercion rather than accommodation,” writes Rudra Chaudhuri.
  7. Ben Mauk and Matt Huynh take you inside Xinjiang to shine a spotlight on what is “likely the largest internment of ethnic and religious minorities since the Secod World War.”
  8. “Jamal [Kashoggi] gave his life for our right to free speech. For his sake, we must keep freedom of expression at the top of the agenda,” writes Iyad el-Baghdadi. “A good future that honors his vision isn’t one where [Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman] is sanctioned but still oppressive. A good future is one where MBS is internally checked by free Saudis who are able to demand accountability from their government. To aim for anything less is to betray Jamal and his legacy.”
  9. Zeynep Tufekci writes of the five pandemic mistakes we seem to be making over and over again, like not updating our understanding of the virus and scolding and shaming people for taking informed risks and calculated actions.
  10. Michael Powell tells “a tale of how race, class and power collided at the elite 145-year-old liberal arts college, where tuition, room and board top $78,000 a year and where the employees who keep the school running often come from working-class enclaves beyond the school’s elegant wrought iron gates. The story highlights the tensions between a student’s deeply felt sense of personal truth and facts that are at odds with it.”