Recommended Sunday Reading—June 4

The best Sunday reads

Photo by Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

Building Amravati from scratch is an audacious idea

When I talk to critics, the whole idea seems like mad folly. When I talk to boosters, it starts to make sense again, and I wonder if I lack vision. But these are early days. It’s difficult to imagine success when nothing’s yet been built. My own skepticism moderates when I think of the growing list of countries that seem eager to endorse Amaravati: Japan, the U.K., China, Russia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and more have all signaled that they might help build it, or offer it further loans. Clearly they think it has promise as an investment. But no outside country has tethered itself as closely to Amaravati as Singapore, the city-state that serves as its primary inspiration and drew up Amaravati’s master plan.

When Mark Twain spent three months in India

Twain noted that seventeen porters were required to carry their modest baggage to their rooms upstairs. The last two each carried only a cigar tin and an umbrella. He was shocked as he watched the degrading treatment meted out to the servants by the hotel’s German manager, who casually slapped them for minor infractions, evoking the memory of the treatment of black slaves back home.

Can writing about trauma help cure cancer?

After the first day of writing most people say that churning up the past has made them feel worse. Does the stress cause people to release stress hormones such as cortisol, which are beneficial in the short-term and could enhance the immune system? Or is it the improvement in mood after several days of writing that brings the benefits for immunity? So far, no one knows.

Drug trade in Punjab falls back on married women

Most of village men are in jail for involvement in drug smuggling. In their absence, women seem to have taken charge. “Garibi bahut aa. Ki kariye? Dekho dikhai lag gaye ji is kamm vich (We are very poor. We followed others to earn livelihood),” says Baljinder Kaur. Selling a gm of heroin, known as chitta, gets her around Rs 4,000 — over 10 times more than a day’s hard work out in the fields. She spent 28 days behind bars after she was caught selling ‘chitta’ in 2015. The mother of four children, she has never tasted the ‘powder,’ but her children are hooked to it, and she can’t help much.

Bernie Sanders speaks on Trump

Are America's institutions strong enough to resist Donald Trump? "Good question!” Sanders snarls, looking pleased. “We certainly hope so, but he is trying to attack those institutions." When Trump attacks the press and tries to intimidate it, he wonders, “will the media remain strong and be willing to take him on? I think at this point, they have. Will the judiciary remain independent? I certainly hope that they will.”

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