Asaduddin Owaisi | Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM president
The Indian Express
Marking Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, Owaisi says it is “paramount” that we look at his “influence on others”. The MP raises the question of what India has to learn from Gandhi “in these times of majoritarianism”.
Gandhi’s last satyagraha demonstrated his commitment to his “own principles” and “willingness to stand against the mob” even when it was convenient to “look the other way”. Owaisi recalls that Gandhi didn’t “concede” to the “anger of the mob” and used his “political and social power” to protect the rights of Muslims. He calls on “today’s secular parties” to learn this “lesson”.
However, he states that Gandhi’s life must still be “read critically”. Gandhi “used a tactic” of speaking “truth to power” against the “most under-represented class of the time”, and this “legacy” has only “strengthened” after Gandhi’s death. Owaisi notes that Dalits and Muslims are only being used as “token faces” on “major party’s” tickets.
Lastly, he states that it was “hatred of Muslims” that “fuelled Gandhi’s murder”. He implores that Gandhi’s memory must be kept alive as a “man who lived for India”.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi | Distinguished professor of history and politics, Ashoka University
Gopalkrishna Gandhi directs the question of whether V.D. Savarkar will “be decorated” with the Bharat Ratna to Mahatma Gandhi. Even though the Mahatma is dead, his written words are “very much alive”.
According to Mahatma Gandhi’s piece in Young India in 1920, Savarkar was described as “no less deserving of the Bharat Ratna” and those who have got it for “reasons other” than “exceptional service/performance of the highest order”.
Gopalkrishna believes “for want of corroboration” that Savarkar “had nothing to do with the assassination” of the Mahatma. But he also notes that Savarkar “has been an inspiration” for those who think “the assassins were right in doing what they did”.
Gopalkrishna states that “if Veer Savarkar is decorated” with the Bharat Ratna, “Gandhi will not stand diminished”. “His martyrdom at humanity’s altar will glow” by the “sheer contrast” between a “decorated nationalist” and an “un-medalled humanist”.
Further, Gandhi’s “testament of a hate-free” and “fear-free love of truth” will find “unexpected reiteration”, he writes.
Mohammed Ayoob | University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Michigan State University
Ayoob states a “fundamental principle of policymaking” — that foreign policy decisions should not be “made in a huff”. India’s move to “put off” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Turkey over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism on scrapping of Article 370 “contradicts” this principle. The decision is a sign of “knee-jerk diplomacy” and shows a “lack of familiarity with Turkey’s historical record on Kashmir”.
Ankara has “almost always endorsed” Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. New Delhi should “learn to isolate contentious issues” and not let them “dictate” the “tenor of bilateral relations”, suggests Ayoob. With the Arab world in “shambles”, Turkey, Israel and Iran are the only “serious players” left in West Asia.
Ayoob maintains that it would be “unwise” for India to alienate them “in a pique over isolated incidents”. He calls on these incidents to be “quarantined” so that they don’t affect India’s relationship with “two pivotal” powers in the region.
Avijit Ghosh | Senior editor, The Times of India
The Times of India
On Tuesday, Indian fast bowler Umesh Yadav’s “pre-diwali crackers” were “but another pointer to India’s toying” with South Africa in the 3 -Test series which ended with a 3-0 whitewash. Ghosh states that statistics are “imperfect storytellers” but in this case they show a “yawning gap” between South Africa and India.
He notes that South Africa “ranked world’s no 3 Test side” and wasn’t able to bowl out India in a single innings. Indian batsmen smashed seven centuries in four innings while South Africa claimed two in six. Ghosh writes that India “showed application to ride out the early roughs” and then “conquered each time”.
Ghosh writes that in order to “earn a date with greatness”, India needs to “win consistently against major teams abroad”. Just like ODI and T20, Test cricket will also have a world champion by 2021 and India is “comfortably perched at the top” and can “deservingly dream about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.
Sobi Antony | Chairman, Edelweiss ARC
The Hindu Business Line
Antony examines the challenges IDBI Bank faces since its “conversion into a universal bank”.
Impacted by project lending and an “NPA menace”, IDBI was struggling and a merger with United Western Bank did little to help. To rescue it, the government, a 48-per cent shareholder, sold a significant share to LIC, making it a 51-per cent shareholder.
Antony identifies ownership and management, NPA management and improvement of market share as major challenges for the government move to successfully revive IDBI. If the first is achieved, stressed assets will be the least of its problems because the bank will be able to take independent decisions, he adds.
He recommends that IDBI now focuses on “ramping up the banking business” and honing in good clients. As “strong franchises”, LIC and IDBI will be able to hold on to the “confidence” of investors, clients and depositors, he writes.
R. Jagannathan | Editorial director, ‘Swarajya’ magazine
Jagannathan criticises the idea that “higher taxes are the way to better welfare” for the poor. India is unsuitable for “soak-the-rich policies to succeed”. Comparing the success of these policies in Europe, US or China makes the argument “universalized without context”, he writes.
High taxation has not driven away the rich in these countries because of economic opportunities, corruption-free economy and enforcement of “compliance… outside its sovereign jurisdiction”.
India lacks such conditions, explains Jagannathan, and this is evident when a small hike in taxes invites fears of “tax terrorism”. Lack of trust in the Indian state to spend money more efficiently than private players is another factor
“Ask yourself: If toilets have to be built for the poor, is it more likely that the Tatas would do it well or the government?” he adds.
Arvind Subramanian | Former chief economic adviser
In describing the US-China battle for global hegemony — with the ongoing trade war being the first sign — Subramanian describes the two as “tired boxers” who are facing economic and soft power challenges of their own.
This is unlike past hegemonic rivalries, be it Athens vs Sparta or the UK vs the US in the 20th century where the “challenger’s credentials were undeniable”.
Subramanian writes about US’s decline due to weakening soft power, slowing productivity growth, “declining social mobility, and worsening income inequality”. Once a land of aspiration, the US’s image has been tainted by war, climate change crisis and “unravelling international security arrangements”, he writes.
Similarly, China has suffered from domestic debt, less export opportunities and less focus on private sector-led growth model. President Xi Jinping’s “cult of personality”, political repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and China’s reputation of land-grabbing “debt collector” have increased its chances of derailment, adds Subramanian.