May a good source be with you.

NC suggestions: The best opinion pieces of the day

Here's a curation of the opinion pieces that caught our attention today.

Why the Centre wants Supreme Court to stick only to sexual rights of LGBTQ community

Sruthisagar Yamunan writes in his article for that in an affidavit filed on behalf of the Union Home Ministry, the Supreme Court was informed that the Centre would leave the question of decriminalising consensual homosexual sex to the wisdom of the court.

The Centre seems to have taken this stand for two reasons. First, it does not want to carry the blame of decriminalising homosexuality and has decided that the courts should carry that burden. Given that the strongest opposition to legalising homosexual relationships has come from religious figures and Hindutva ideologues, this stand of the government was on expected lines. Second, on asking the court to restrict the proceedings to Section 377, the Centre seems to be worried about the effect same-sex relationships would have on a gamut of laws which are fundamentally based on religious customs.

For the Bharatiya Janata Party that lays great emphasis on “Hindu culture and traditions” and family values, this could become a virtual minefield that it would be forced to navigate. But this is not confined to Hindu tradition alone as marriage and succession are sensitive topics among all communities.

Hi and low: By greeting a perfect stranger, we greet democracy

In his column for The Times of India, Jug Suriya says that it was a lovely day in Washington DC, which I was visiting. And then someone in passing said ‘Hi’ to me.  I automatically returned the friendly greeting.

But the exchange left me a little puzzled. Was the person who’d greeted me, someone, I’d met earlier, but whom I didn’t remember?  No, the person was a total stranger. So why would a stranger offer me a cheerful ‘Hi’?  Perhaps because it was such a pleasant day, which made people want to share their enjoyment of it with everyone else, including strangers

In India, in urban India at least, we don’t generally exchange salutations with people we don’t know.  An unsolicited greeting on your part to a stranger would not only cause perplexity but could also be misunderstood. In India there is a well-defined protocol for the extending and receiving of be it a ‘Hello, ji’, ‘Namaste’, ‘Namaskaram’, ‘Ram, Ram’, or ‘Salaam’. By and large, greetings are extended by the junior person to a senior, a senior in age or social position.

In India, such exchanges are subject to an implicit social hierarchy, a reflex of the high-low stratification of feudalism. So next time you’re feeling good and pass a stranger, try saying ‘Hi’.  You could be saying ‘Hi’ to streetside democracy.

Sowing Slogans

Commenting on the BJP government’s decision to increase MSP,  Yoginder K. Alagh writes in his article for The Indian Express that Niti Aayog officials have correctly pointed out that the MSP is 50 per cent higher than paid out costs in most crops. Others say that was not the recommendation of the National Commission on Farmers. This is turning into a “tu tu mein mein” match.

In any case, the MSPs effectively matter for and cover only a few crops, and that too in a few regions. Also, there is only token procurement in pulses and oilseeds because the prices the farmer has sown for are much higher. The farmer knows when he plants a dal that he will not get the then prevailing price of over Rs 200 a quintal and will settle for Rs 150.

The real issue of markets, first-stage processing and supply chains lies elsewhere. Getting Walmart to buy farmers’ produce and give them space in its warehouses is important to give the farmer another supply chain. But we are told its case is slowed down because of the trader lobby. In pulses, vegetables, fruit and milk, demand is rising fast and where we get food and agri inflation, the infrastructure has yet to be built.

Mumbai, let’s shut down

Anuvab Pal says that every year, Mumbai witnesses a tedious ritual and when rains lash us, we all shout and scream at the BMC, saying it should have repaired terrible roads. He writes in his column for Mumbai Mirror that the BMC argues that it tried fixing them between March and April, but people kept kvetching about the dug-up stretches and didn’t let the work proceed. TV channels say the city is drowning because of corruption in the civic body and wonder why the infrastructure is so bad even though Mumbaikars pay so much tax.

Some angry voices demand that road contractors should be jailed. The contractors plead innocence, saying they were supplied substandard material. The suppliers blame the weather, saying nothing can withstand so much rainfall. As the city sinks, a well-worn theme emerges among the well-heeled: “You know what, Mumbai needs a CEO.” What they basically mean is a guy in a suit who speaks English well. He will peddle the same excuses and arguments that officials and ministers wheel out, but with flair.

I have a new suggestion — that we just give up. Yes. You read that right. When monsoon arrives, we should just give up. Think about it. What’s there to lose? For the past few days, headlines have been screaming ‘Mumbai forced to come to a standstill’. What if we voluntarily came to a standstill because moving could mean drowning.

Stop obsessing over Sanjay Dutt, India has still not been able to bring back Dawood

Even after 25 years, we have not been able to catch the culprits who hatched the plan to burn Mumbai, writes Nikhil Wagle in his column for DailyO. He says that while Dawood Ibrahim smuggled “harmless” things like gold, watches etc, the police and custom officers looked away. One fateful day, they thought they had turned a blind eye to another consignment of the “harmless” goods. Except it was RDX.

For former police commissinor MN Singh to surmise that the bomb blasts could have been averted had Sanjay Dutt warned the police about the weapons he had received, is not just amusing, but also a tacit indictment of our intelligence. Why, then, are we so obsessed with Sanjay Dutt, as if he is the main conspirator of the Mumbai blasts? It is a classic case of deflecting attention from the loopholes in our system. Not a single top police officer or politician has been investigated yet.

Barring a few exceptions, the media went berserk with juicy stories, just like the Talwar murder case or Sridevi’s death. Cameramen had tailed him till the Yerwada jail. That overenthusiasm seems to have been revived with the release of Sanju. And Hirani has probably touched a raw nerve.



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