(Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)

Mood: How the Lounge team is feeling this week

Lounge's take on the biggest updates of the week

Dearly Beloved

Toni Morrison’s life was a series of firsts. The world knows her as the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature, in 1993, soon after she had published her sixth novel, Jazz (1992). But not many are aware that she was also the first African-American editor at Random House. In the two decades she worked with the company, Morrison published a distinguished list of authors, including Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, Wole Soyinka and Gayle Jones. But while she was revolutionizing black writing, Morrison, a single mother, was waking up at 4am every day to work on her own books before dropping her two sons to school and then going to work. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published when she was 39.

All of Morrison’s 11 novels are widely read, though Beloved (1987) has attained the status of a cult classic. Her linguistic acumen is spoken of with awe, her generosity as a storyteller touches the lives of millions. On 6 August, when she died at the age of 88, Morrison left behind a legacy that remains urgently relevant to our time. Not only will her novels continue to be read for their condemnation of racism, they will also resonate with all who stand up against inequality and injustice.

Morrison’s life was her work, her work was her life. “We die. That may be the meaning of life," as she put it in her Nobel lecture. “But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."—SG

(Photo: PTI)

Climb every mountain

Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal’s fiery speech in the Lok Sabha following the government’s move on Article 370, and the announcement that Ladakh would be a Union territory (and its first majority-Buddhist one), can be counted as one of the rare moments in India’s parliamentary history that the region was in the limelight. As Namgyal pointed out, Ladakhis have been systematically ignored by the rest of the country, including the government of Jammu and Kashmir. Given the lack of employment opportunities, tourism has flourished in some areas, followed by the inevitable pollution and destruction of fragile ecosystems. With this move, there is hope that Ladakh will now grow sustainably and have its voice heard—without a legislature though, leaders like Namgyal will have to work hard to push for the right solutions.—SB

(Photo: Hindustan Times)

Gender justice denied

Even as the country was grappling with the implications of the government’s move on Article 370, another Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha—one that would have attracted more attention in any other week. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, aims to give transgender persons a more equitable role in society but has been criticized by the community. It removes the offensive terminology of the 2016 version, which defined transgender individuals as “neither wholly female nor male", but it has not fully incorporated the right to self-identification. In fact, transgender individuals seeking ID cards have to go through a district magistrate and potentially submit to medical examination to be certified as a trans person, with no provisions for appealing the decision. No wonder some activists are calling 5 August, the day the Bill was passed, “Gender Justice Murder Day".—SB

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