Recommended Sunday Reading—January 22
The best Sunday reads
Travelling can be dangerously addictive. After cycling through Europe and Asia he has, since sometime in 2016, been pedalling his way around the continent of South America. He started with a group of cyclists from different parts of the world and is now cycling solo. In Dawn.
Historian Irfan Habib remembers another incident. After his rejection of the Cripps Mission—which was the British government's move to enlist Indian support in World War II—Nehru was touring UP. He was in Aligarh one day and feeling hungry because his hosts hadn't given him lunch. So he demanded to be taken to Habib's father, a professor.
"...We found Nehru arriving by tonga, getting down, breaking into the house, practically shouting 'Habib, Habib, get me an omelette.'... My father told him, 'Pandit ji, why did you reject the Cripps proposals; we would have had at least hopes of becoming a dominion.' Nehru, looking scornfully at my father, said, 'Habib, you are just a professor. Within five years this country will be free.' And indeed it took five-and-a-half years. This perhaps tells us something of the indomitable optimism of the man," Irfan Habib states in a 2014 talk on Nehru and the National Movement, held to mark Nehru's 125th anniversary. In The Telegraph.
“On the whole I should be reconciled to my ill-fame. But a recent comment on me in this paper by my young friend Kunwar Natwar Singh ji has given me the idea of delivering a sermon on the subject. He wrote, “His reputation as an Anglophile is his doing, but he is a better Indian than most of us…This is very handsome of Kunwar Sahib, and I in my turn would say to him: To support me is more patriotic than becoming a champion of EM Forster.”
I replied a few weeks later in the same paper that, “It is better to be a champion of Forster than be a cheerleader for Kipling.” In The Tribune.
Sadly, it appears that there is an intent to push through the idea without adequate thought or discussion. The buzz is that UBI is desperately needed as an antidote to the misery caused by demonetisation.
If there is not a carefully designed UBI and if it is not feasible to create enough fiscal space to fund UBI, what we may get is another feel-good jumla that will have negligible impact on the problem of poverty while making the fiscal situation precarious. The irony is that the idea, if accepted, will be implemented by a party-government that came to power promising development and jobs, but which seems to have given up on that agenda. In The Indian Express.
The problem in India is the societal pressure on women to leave the workplace once they get married. They go and get an MBA, then they get married and then they leave the job! That bothers me. In The Hindustan Times.