Rajmohan Gandhi | Research professor at Centre for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois
The Indian Express
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament on 6 February, blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for the Partition. In light of this, Gandhi argues, “Assigning sole or main responsibility for that painful event to Nehru lacks any historical basis”.
He adds, “Though a sad Gandhi acquiesced in the 1947 Partition, neither he nor any of the Congress’s prominent leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajagopalachari, Maulana Azad or Rajendra Prasad agreed that Hindus and Muslims comprised two nations.”
Shakti Sinha | Former director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Sinha explains that the Aam Aadmi Party won because it captured the narrative and because Delhi BJP had nothing to offer voters.
“Kejriwal’s ability to reach out to the people directly, bypassing the role of the bureaucracy, has also endeared him to the voters,” he adds.
Veena Das | Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy
The Indian Express
According to Das, within the current framework of murky politics, literature can help restore integrity to citizens.
She cites the likes of J.M. Coetzee and Julian Barnes and explains, “Those literary figures who have written from within authoritarian regimes invite us to bring a more compassionate perspective to our ethical tasks than to spew moralistic rhetoric”.
Kunal Ray | Teaches literary and cultural studies at FLAME University, Pune
The Indian Express
South Korean movie Parasite became the first-ever non-English film to win the Best Movie Oscar Monday and Ray argues that this is likely to encourage viewers to explore cinema beyond Hollywood.
He writes, “For whatever reasons, the Oscars are popular and have a wide reach, and if this popularity can help bring attention to the many cinemas of the world, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.”
Vidhu Vinod Chopra | Film director, screenwriter and producer
Chopra comments on the flak his controversial movie on Kashmiri Pandits Shikara received and explains that he will never peddle hate for profit nor make a film which demonises an entire community.
“The predominant thought in my mind was that my film should not incite violence. My ambition was to represent reality fully, but without provoking the viewer to feel vengeful,” he argues.
Niranjan Hiranandani | President, ASSOCHAM
Hiranandani finds merit in the Budget and the RBI’s monetary policy review but concludes that “a bolder fiscal stimulus to put growth on a higher trajectory is needed”.
With regard to the Budget, he says the finance minister has “offered various indicators to substantiate her expectations of a revival”, and the MPC he describes as an “out-of-the-box…[and] somewhat unconventional announcement”.
Sundeep Khanna | Former executive editor, Mint
In lieu of the coronavirus, Khanna examines the fallout on Indian businesses since there is “$87 billion of India-China bilateral trade”. When it comes to India’s pharma industry and “the vast solar power revolution underway”, we are heavily dependent on China, explains Khanna.The outbreak is likely to affect “global technology, apart from the auto”, energy and chemicals too which are all “crucial” sectors to India too.
Vinti Agarwal | Research Fellow in the Tax Law vertical at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
Hindu Business Line
Agarwal critically examines Budget 2020-21‘s health cess which will be used to finance India’s health infrastructure and services, noting that over the years, the purpose for imposing a cess in India has “become increasingly vague and general”.
A policy document spelling out “the amount that the Union Government aims to collect via the health cess” and subsequent periodic reviews can improve transparency, suggests Agarwal.
Somesekhar Sundaresan | Advocate and independent counsel
Sundaresan discusses SEBI’s newly introduced “principles-based law” which is the first step to recognising the need for interaction between institutional investors and corporate management. He suggests SEBI “let the code run its course” and communicate with the industry on how it fares so that it doesn’t become “another rule-based law to be enforced with penal sanctions”.
Neelkanth Mishra | Co-head of Asia Pacific Strategy and India Strategist, Credit Suisse
Mishra addresses the “current disconnect between weak economic momentum and soaring stock markets”. He points out that “small and mid-caps may be a better indicator” of “forward-looking signals for the economy from the stock markets”, while “index levels of the narrower and more popular indices” may not really do the job.
The Times of India: In ‘Kem Cho Trump’, TOI analyses the importance of US president Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to India on 24-25 February. It writes that as Trump appears to be the front-runner in the US presidential elections, it is the right time to place the India-US relationship on a firmer footing. It suggests that the Trump government’s policies related to market tariffs and market access needs to be sorted out for a strong trade relationship during this meeting.
The Hindu: Hindu comments on the growing close quarters partnership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US president Donald Trump. However, the daily states that there are limits to how much India can peg its strategic plans on the personal chemistry between its leader and the US President as the Congressional opposition to India-friendly White House policies could endanger bilateral prospects.
Hindustan Times: In ‘End the protest at Shaheen Bagh’, the daily says that it’s time for one of the most successful non-violent and peaceful protests at Shaheen bagh to take into account the changing circumstances. The government has not shown any signs of withdrawing the CAA and the inconvenience caused is leading to local resentment. It suggests that it’s time for the organisers to call-off the protest and find alternative ways to dissent.