Recommended Sunday Reading—February 5

The best Sunday reads

Photo by Sheeraz Rizvi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sheeraz Rizvi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH National Bureau

Do love letters shape our writing style?

Are love letters to blame for our fondness for high-sounding words ? Do Indians’love for verbiage equal that of Nigerians? BBC brings an interesting piece on Nigerian English and here is a sample love letter: “My dearest, sweetest, most magnificent, paragon of beauty, I hope this letter finds you in a current state of sound body and mind. My principal reason for writing this epistle is to gravitate your mind towards an issue that has been troubling my soul. Even as I put pen to paper, my adrenalin is ascending on the Richter scale, my temperature is rising, the mirror in my eyes have only your divine reflection, the wind vane of my mind is pointing north, south and east at the same time. Indeed, when I sleep, you are the only thought in my medulla oblongata and I dream about you..." On

What will a BJP victory in UP mean?

The BJP doesn't have a single non-Hindu candidate in the fray. Were it to win, it would confirm that the politics of exclusion and 'controlled polarization' exemplified by the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 are a shortcut to political power even (or especially) in a state with a substantial Muslim population. The formula that helped the BJP take Assam will have been retested, signed and sealed in India's largest state. A BJP victory would also indicate that the economic hardship caused by demonetization was discounted by an electorate that saw the measure as a constructive first step towards bringing the rich and unscrupulous to book. This would suggest that material deprivation is secondary to ressentiment when it comes to making political choices in an exceptionally poor state. In The Telegraph.

State holiday on a Maharaja’s birthday?

J&K Assembly adopted a resolution on January 27 declaring former Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday as a state holiday. AG Noorani comments in The Dawn: “Interestingly, it was not Sheikh Abdullah but Hari Singh who first threatened secession. “Sometimes I feel that I should withdraw the accession that I have made to the Indian Union. The Union only provisionally accepted the accession,” he reminded Patel in January 1948. Hari Singh was banished from Kashmir on Sheikh Abdullah’s demand. On June 20, 1949, he signed a proclamation in New Delhi devolving all his powers to his son, Karan Singh, and then left for Bombay.

Recalling Xenophobia a century ago

This fine piece in The New Yorker recalls what happened in the US a century ago and is getting repeated in many parts of the world today. Read on : “The index-card system kept account of where individuals lived, what organizations and associations they were members of, what newspapers they subscribed to or merely read, who they associated with, where they worked and socialized, and what meetings they attended. From 1919 to 1920, the Bureau of Investigation (the precursor to the FBI) ordered agents and police in cities across the country to enter, break up, and disband union and social-club meetings, night-school classes, church gatherings and dances, benevolent-aid-society events, and political meetings.”

AAP and NRIs in Punjab

Harish Khare writes about the impressive debut of AAP in Punjab and rivals’ criticism of support extended by NRIs to this new party. “I found the traditional parties’ criticism rather lacking in grace. After all, beginning with the Vajpayee government, the NRIs have been systematically wooed officially and extensively. This is a global trend. Every government wants to entice the diaspora. It is natural that, in turn, the NRIs should feel entitled to have their say in the affairs back home. And, a large number of the NRIs do “adopt” a village here or there or in some other way contribute to the betterment of life in Punjab. If their “peacetime” involvement is not objectionable, then there should be no objection to their active involvement during election time.” In The Tribune.

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