Can America and India become real partners?

The future of US-India strategic ties is too important to be constructed solely or even primarily through a China-management lens, writes Sourabh Gupta in the National Interest.

As the US preps for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, pro/anti-India forces slug it out on the White House website, Seema Sirohi writes in the Economic Times.

What does Hinduism mean to you?

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark that all those who live in Hindustan are Hindus have brought the origin of the word Hindu into focus.

The Times of India’s Sagarika Ghose writes that Hinduism stands for freedom of thought – “Both the atheist and agnostic can exist under Hinduism because belief in a single god, or ‘the single truth’ or the concept of ‘blasphemy’ are hardly central to Hindu traditions.”

Sagarika quotes author Jonardon Ganeri, who earlier this month, talked vedas and karma with Gary Gutting of the New York Times in an article titled ‘What Would Krishna Do? Or Shiva? Or Vishnu?’

In the Huffington Post, writer Rajiv Malhotra offers a Hindu view of ‘Christian Yoga’. He says that Yoga is a do-it-yourself path that eliminates the need for intermediaries such as a priesthood or other institutional authority.

India calls off talks with Pakistan: Self goal or a show of strength?

The Narendra Modi government has cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan to protest against a meeting between Kashmiri separatist leaders and Islamabad’s envoy to New Delhi.

In The Indian Express, Praveen Swami calls the move a self goal, saying that New Delhi is shutting off life support to secret dialogue on Kashmir dating back 10 years and more.

On the NDTV website, Sidharth Varadarajan rues that Modi’s unpredictable diplomatic bang has ended in a shabby and all too predictable whimper.

Kanchan Gupta, on the other hand, finds the decision predictable as he writes in ABP Live: That India with a new Government that is far more resolute and clear-headed than its predecessor regime would react in this manner was a foregone conclusion

Ninety days of the Modi government: But where’s the vision?

Modi’s I-day speech depicts a holistic new vision. It is not clear how it will be implemented, writes S L Rao in The Telegaph

The story of my Sanskrit

Ananaya Vajpei writes in The Hindu that Sanskrit must be taken back from the clutches of Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right.

Lokpal tabled in Parliament

View the story “Lokpal Bill tabled in Parliament” on Storify]

‘No choice’ does not equal ‘Spirit of Mumbai’

mumbai attacksYou know why we all cringe when we hear a cliche? It’s because using a cliche usually represents the forcible application of a generalization or stereotype to a complex situation.

So here is India’s most cringe-worthy cliche – The spirit of Mumbai.

This concept, screamed up to the heavens by nearly all media houses and TV news anchors, has lost its sheen. It is beginning to resemble some sort of creepy badge that is affixed to those unfortunate innocents who suffer a terrorist attack, whether they want it or not. And it really needs to end immediately.

I have friends and family in Mumbai. I don’t want them to be ‘proud, defiant and bold’, stepping out of their homes the very next day after a terrorist attack to go back to school/college/work etc in the ‘spirit of Mumbai’.

I think I would just prefer them to be safe and not have to live in fear.

For the lakhs of daily wage earners in the city it’s either work or starve – a stark choice that does not allow for any leeway.

It’s not like being in the middle of the blasts is like being at a concert or an anti-corruption fast where participation in the event announces its success.

They are not asked for permission before they are attacked. And the next day, they have go to work -whether they really want to or not. Mumbaikars have to get on with their lives and they have no choice in the matter.

Equally grating is the coverage of the event. There is jazzy new-age music played over cuts of bloody bodies, flaming ruins and charred buildings. Loud roll-overs announce the death toll, snappy sound bytes intersperse the images before they cut to news anchors who, literally, scream out the news in lung-wrenching gusto with one adjective every three words on average.

Is it too much to ask that the news be covered in a simple sombre manner which reflects the fact that 17 innocents have been murdered? Is it too much to ask that information is put out without resorting to conspiracy theories, blame-games or even self-congratulatory phrases? And does anyone really care what unique angle each channel takes to cover the event? Just give us the facts and we will appreciate it.

Meanwhile once again we wait to see if we can figure out who committed the attack and make our feeble attempts to catch those responsible.

But those in Mumbai don’t seem optimistic on that outcome.

Vinayak Hegde