Weekend Reads

  1. “If you account for inflation, that more than 97 per cent of India’s population has gotten poorer compared to where they were in terms of income [a year ago]. I think that is a big damaging factor. And it raises the question, how are we going to recover from this situation?” Mahesh Vyas of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy tells Govindraj Ethiraj.
  2. “There is no doubt that the quality of medical practice in India is woefully inadequate and that irrational use of medicines is all too common,” writes Vikram Patel, about yoga guru Ramdev’s recent remarks. “But, it is important to remind His Holiness that blaming allopathic medicine because some of its practitioners fall short of the mark is equivalent to damning a religion if one of its practitioners profiteered through false cures. Surely he will understand this better than anyone else.”
  3. “The tapestry of India’s GST was stitched on a fabric of implicit trust and painted with vibrant economic colours. The fabric is now torn and the colours have faded. The loose thread of guaranteed revenues that holds this together is about to snap. The end of India’s grand GST experiment seems inevitable unless there is a radical shift in the tone and tenor of India’s federal politics, backed by an extension of revenue guarantee for the States for another five years,” writes Praveen Chakravarty.
  4. Hundreds of children from Bihar’s Gaya district had been trafficked to Jaipur’s bangle workshops. Then, a group of boys escaped against all odds. Monica Jha tells the story.
  5. “The Serum Institute of India aimed to be a major world supplier of COVID-19 vaccines,” writes Jon Cohen. “India’s pandemic got in the way.”
  6. “By backing [Nepal Prime Minister KP] Oli in the current mess, Delhi is once again the wild card in Nepali politics. Oli is deeply unpopular; his mishandling of the pandemic has brought about a fresh wave of criticism against him,” writes Amish Mulmi. “By now putting its weight behind a pro-Oli arrangement and antagonising almost the entire spectrum of Nepal’s polity and civil society, Delhi risks repeating its historical mistake.”
  7. “Man’s relationship with nature was of prime importance in the ancient cave paintings of South Asia, and it continues to be a central theme in indigenous wood carvings, house murals, and even rice-sheave artistry,” writes Sanjib Chaudhary.
  8. “To this day, all matters related to cinema are grouped under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, a legacy of the colonial past,” writes Adoor Gopalakrishnan. “Cinema, in its essence, neither collects information nor broadcasts it. Strangely, it has not occurred to anyone up there that there should be an independent Ministry for Cinema like in countries that nurture and promote film culture.”
  9. “It’s hard to imagine an electric fish cavorting with this much complexity. But years of research have taught Kohashi that Brienomyrus is a lot more human than some might like to think,” reports Katherine Wu. “When the fish communicate, whether through pulses or body language, they’re constantly asserting themselves. (Electric animals are, unsurprisingly, keen on showing one another who’s in charge.) Kohashi has seen fish be selfish and arrogant. He’s seen fish be bullied, and get downright depressed. The fish clearly make one another feel. “Some fish are,” he said, pausing, “assholes.”’
  10. “Morally and practically, this [Covid-19] emergency demands immediate action: widespread vaccination of those most vulnerable where the threat is greatest,” writes Zeynep Tufekci. “Waiving vaccine patents is fine, but unless it’s tied to a process that actually increases the supply of vaccines, it’s a little bit more than expressing thoughts and prayers after a tragedy. Officials from all nations that produce vaccines need to gather for an emergency meeting immediately to decide how to commandeer whatever excess capacity they have to produce more, through whatever means necessary.”