A review of NL Hafta by Smit, Divyang, Dhiraj, Ashish and Prakash
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A review of NL Hafta by Smit, Divyang, Dhiraj, Ashish and Prakash

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

By NL Subscriber

Published on :

Greetings NL Team

I have been a subscriber for a while (under a different account), but I would just like to say I really enjoyed Hafta last week. I have a feeling that you’ll probably get a lot more mail due to the substantial news about Kashmir and Article 370, and I have a few thoughts I’d like to share and get opinions on.

I think most reasonable people can agree that the process of rendering 370 null wasn’t the most democratic in spirit, there are disagreements about the merits of having such a provision in our constitution. About having a “one country, two systems”, that has now been put to an end. This isn’t really about that, but rather the nature of what I can call the broader arguments on the “liberal” and “nationalist” side of things. 

From my perspective, one of the core tenants of a classical liberal position is the belief in a freedom of movement. That a human being should have the right to travel and settle where they wish (UDHR article 13). Abhinandan’s elucidation on how it was more difficult for him to get an ILP for Arunachal than a US visa struck a chord with me. In my estimation, this xenophobic restriction in J&K due to 370/35A is decidedly illiberal and was rightfully removed. It is interesting to note that an Indian citizen can do in Nepal, a foreign country, what they couldn’t in a supposedly integral part of India (Article 7 of Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship). 

I see a contradiction here between those who believe that the NRC and deportation of families who have lived for generations in Assam is inhumane (which it is), but do not afford the same rights to the families of refugees from West Pakistan in J&K (which is also inhumane) or even other fellow Indian citizens. 

On the other hand, while the “nationalist” Right-wing perspective is more simplistic and not very humanist, it is more consistent: Indians stay, foreigners go. If J&K is India, Indians can stay. Rohingyas and Bangladeshis are not Indians, therefore they can’t—this is what the nationalist position seems to boils down to. I’d like an opinion from the panel on this.

I hope things turn out well for everyone and it is really up to the government now to show us that the means of their decision lead to a good end. 


Smit Dixit


Hi team,

This is my third letter to NL and its a super short one. I’ve been a sub for 2+ years.

Over the past few days I’ve watched some truly great shows including The Boys on Prime, Dark on Netflix and some episodes here and there of The Office. Yet, that sequence of MnM dancing to the News18 music with disco lights while screaming “I’m so happy” in the latest Newsance video scored the highest in entertainment value by far. Keep up the good work!

Also, towards the end of the last NL Hafta, it was pretty clear that Joy was indulging in whataboutary with regards to your discussion on reporting and Republic and I think he himself knew it and was mildly frustrated by it. Apart from that, he’s a great voice to have on Hafta.

Can you guys get Hartosh again?


Divyang Upadhyaya


Hi all, 

I wanted to write a huge letter on 370 expecting you to go ultra Left-wing but I think the discussion on 370 was quite tempered and good. 

So I thought I would say Patel died in 1950 and the article came into force in 1954. The whole process of J&K onstituent assembly started in 1949, so my belief is Patel did not probably have much say in it. Wiki says he was sick the whole of 1950. 

I just thought it apt to remind that 1986 elections being muddled was the real nail in the coffin. NC and PDP never really represented Kashmir. 

The plebiscite in 1947 did not happen because Pakistan did not withdraw its forces. If there was a plebiscite , do you think Pakistan (or even India) will withdraw its forces ? 

My two pence. Democracy is alive in kicking in India …. deal with it ….. And when you compare it to other countries: remember that the population is 1.3 billion. The only thing comparable is the EU. Try reading about it before you say how can I make the similarity …. EU is 28 diverse countries and India is 28 diverse states… 

P.S : Find it hard that there are subscribers did not like Sushant’s words and call themselves “LIBERAL”. Because what they are doing is the cornerstone of conservatism: identifying the other 🙂

Best regards,


Hello NL Team,

I am a big fan of Hafta and I have been listening to it for four years now. What I most admire about Hafta is that you invite people belonging to various ideologies: Right-leaning, Left-leaning, etc. Having said that, I am not particularly a fan of Abhinandan’s rants on Hafta. I listen to Hafta because you have a civil discussion about the news headlines of the week even when the panelists have differing views and Abhinandan’s rants just spoils the mood. If I want to hear people ranting about stuff, I would go to Twitter or Youtube, not Newslaundry. He just doesn’t want to listen to a counter view during his rants. He always wants to have the last word in such situations. In the last Hafta, I did appreciate the way you discussed the issue of Article 370, which is a very sensitive topic in my opinion. But towards the end, Abhinandan’s rant put me off. Granted that Indians do not treat each other in a dignified way, but whether Indians are the worst lot in the world, I think is debatable and I felt that Abhinandan was not ready to accept this point, even after Anand asked that how are Indians different from people in other third world nations. I can rant more about Abhinandan’s previous rants, but I don’t want to start a boxing match with Abhinandan. So I request Abhinandan that dude, keep your rants under control as it leads nowhere and it doesn’t add to the discussions that you have on the Hafta.


Another postdoc subscriber, Ashish Kothari


Hi NL team,

Long time subscriber, love your work.

In Hafta 234, the guest Sushant Sareen reminded me of desi uncles who seem knowledgeable/articulate but upon slight prodding they show they are full of bs. Whenever pushed all his responses were ‘to kya ho gaya‘/’whats wrong about it’/’it’s subjective’/’that’s your opinion’. I suspect Abhinandan just wanted to show subscribers that even when NL gets someone from RW who is not disgusting they still don’t make any sense. I propose a screening test for guests, if they find anything positive about Arnab Goswami’s “work”, then no need to invite them. Its a pretty low bar but since people like Sareen do slip through the cracks, something needs to be done.

Also, any ETA on the deep dive on merit-reservations topic?

Prakash Iyer

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