Sunday Long Reads: Love for momos, Indian textile heritage, Left vs. Right, skinks, 2022 books, and more
What momos, which recorded over 1 crore in online orders last year, mean for those who sell them
Get in line! Banake rakhiye distance (keep a certain distance), ”yells Dolma Tsering, recalling a school teacher desperately trying to discipline a group of unruly students. Except that everyone standing in front of her is adults – little masked, less attentive. They all seem to be galloping towards Tsering’s shop in Lajpat Nagar in Delhi, weaving through the crowd to get to a plate of searing momos.
How the Rashtrapati Bhavan preserved India’s textile heritage
Since ancient times, the Indian textile industry has been in great demand and its history is one of the oldest in the world. The first known reference is found in the Rig Veda. The Romans apparently gave gold coins in exchange for Indian textiles of the same weight. The textile industry harvested gold and silver, silk and cotton made in India found buyers in ancient Greece, Egypt and the Arab world, and, later, in Europe under the colonial rule. The economy of medieval India reached its peak, and the Indian craftsman, with his masterful skills, caught the attention of European travelers and traders.
Why we must reach out beyond the ditch
It’s a loud, very loud gathering in a huge stadium. The crowd is standing and agitated. There could easily be a stampede, but no one would care. They would willingly die for the cause. Every word that comes out of the speaker’s mouth goes straight to each person’s heart, touching a raw nerve, making them proud of their country, proud of their religion, proud of their skin color and proud of their place in the world, determined that they must protect their own species. They willingly and enthusiastically placed themselves in the hands of the puppeteer.
Why the lizard’s cousin, the commonly found skinks, are hard to spot
When I first saw it on the dining room rug that morning, I thought it was some kind of highly anorexic lizard, whose limbs had stopped growing prematurely and whose tail pointed had somehow been badly burnt by the sun or stuck in the toaster. The creature was long and very curvy, its upper back tanned, with a cream border on either side, the entire body heavily speckled as if pins had been pricked into it. Or was it a small, genetically mutant snake (about 3 inches long) that might be trying to turn into a lizard? My Man Friday said he was extremely poisonous, moving lightning fast. For the moment, he seemed dead.
Former NITI Aayog vice president Arvind Panagariya’s book on his father is also an insightful account of 20th century Indian history.
My Father: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man is an interesting personal story by Baloo Lal Panagariya, spanning the pre- and post-independence period, and spanning most of the 20th century. Although largely biographical, it is also a political and social history of Rajasthan.
When India decided to bring Judge Dalveer Bhandari, a second time, to the International Court of Justice
Getting the upper hand over a permanent member (Big Five or P5) of the UN Security Council is always a moment to be cherished but if the P5 member happens to be the colonial power that ruled you, for almost two centuries, the flavor has more than a sweet tinge. India’s victory over the UK at the UN in 2017 for a seat on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was just that and that is the story of the book, India v United Kingdom, written by Syed Akbaruddin, known as Akbar in the Diplomatic Brotherhood.
Can India push China back from its dominant perch?
When six distinguished former officials and academics jointly write a book on China, it cannot be ignored. A well-written, analytical, empirically rich, and policy-driven product, it deserves to be on this year’s “must-read” lists.