Pakistan NSA Spurns ‘Spoiler’ Delhi; Festive Auto Sales At Decade’s Lowest

With no coal plan, Modi relies on bear-hugs, Mizoram gets two chief secretaries, Kejriwal makes Ayodhya temple, migrants invisible in urban planning, and ‘Skipping Sikh’, 74, runs first marathon

A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal

Snapshot of the day

November 3, 2021    

Pratik Kanjilal

It’s minimum governance, maximum government in NDA-ruled Mizoram, which is saddled with two chief secretaries. While the Union has appointed senior IAS officer Renu Sharma, the state government has appointed additional chief secretary JC Ramthanga to the same post. Both assume office on November 1. They will just have to choose their weapons. 

“Every decision for war is complex… Yet the overarching pattern of behavior is consistent: Beijing turns violent when confronted with the prospect of permanently losing control of territory. It tends to attack one enemy to scare off others. And it rarely gives advance warning or waits to absorb the initial blow,” The Atlantic says. “China’s historical warning signs are already flashing red.”

Unmasked, up close and personal, making other world leaders “uncomfortable”, PM Modi is making news at COP26. The Daily Mail reports on an awkward moment with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres when the PM closed in for a hug at COP26 ― despite high Covid cases in Britain. “Modi has been pictured getting cozy with several leaders over the course of the first days of COP26.” PM Modi’s “arms wrapped around PM Boris Johnson, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau” have been noted, in a tone that will discomfit his spinmeisters. He has been termed a “bear-hugger” and the “moment” was deemed “cringe-worthy”.

The Delhi government has approved Rs 104.37 crore for installing 500 tricolours on masts 35 metres high, under its “Deshbhakti Budget” to celebrate 75 years of Independence. Five have already been installed. Now, a dash of Hindutva is being added. For the Kejriwal government’s Diwali Puja, a model of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, 60 feet tall and 110 feet wide, is being constructed. It will be dismantled thereafter, but less energetically than the Babri Masjid was in December 1992.

SBI attributed the fall in the share of the informal economy (from 52% in 2017-18 to 15-20% in 2020-21) to demonetisation and digitisation. But economists watching the informal sector are sceptical. The impact of Covid-19 on the informal sector in 2020-21 was disproportionately high, and will result in a further fall. 

The death of an incarcerated Pakistani militant, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Zia Mustafa, in a forest near the Line of Control in strange circumstances, has left lingering questions about a massacre in Kashmir. Under trial, he was in prison for 18 years, accused of killing 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Nadimarg.

TIME magazine analyses Facebook’s misadventures with extremist content in India and concludes that “​​Facebook let an Islamophobic conspiracy theory flourish in India despite employees’ warnings.” They acknowledged that the RSS regularly shares “fear-mongering, anti-Muslim narratives [targeting] pro-Hindu populations with V&I [violence and incitement] content,” which is against Facebook’s rules. 

The government attempted to clear the air on its controversial IT Rules, 2021, by releasing a set of FAQs on November 1. Medianama has a roundup of what was not clarified by the government. It’s a long list of tricky issues.

Indian tech companies had embraced working from home. Now, restofworld.org says that as attrition rates spike, they are struggling to bring workers back to campuses.

Australian television presenter Andrew Bolt called out Indian cricketers for protesting racism but not the caste system. Bolt said he laughed with bitterness at the team taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter before a T20 World Cup match last week.

“One of us,” say LGBTQ South Asians after US actor Kal Penn, star of Harold & Kumar, came out as gay on Sunday. Born Kalpen Suresh Modi, the 44-year old revealed to People that he has been in a relationship for 11 years and is now engaged. 

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