Hafta Letters: On Obama’s hatred for Twitter, Aatish Taseer’s exile and more
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Hafta Letters: On Obama’s hatred for Twitter, Aatish Taseer’s exile and more

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

By NL Team

Published on :

Hello NL Hafta team,

Hope you guys are doing well. I don’t want to spend words on praise as there is a word limit, but I love you guys.

This email is only to respond to the recent comment made in passing by Madhu on Hafta 249. She was referring to Obama’s criticism of twitter movements. Although I get that twitter can be toxic and stupid place but context of Obama not liking twitter is different if you follow American politics closely. Recently Obama has been criticized for many things like

– For helping banks rather than helping 5 million American families who lost home during recession

– For being the deporter in chief. He deported more than 3 million people (cages for immigrants, tear gas on immigrants was all Obama’s invention, Trump took it to the next level)

– For him adopting a rightwing healthcare plan (Obamacare was formerly known as Romneycare) and left 30 million people uninsured

– For taking the number of wars America participates in from 2 to 7

– For opening the Arctic for offshore drilling for Exxon gas company etc.

– For generally being a status quo president when he campaigned as a progressive agent for change

All this criticism and attack on his legacy comes from, you guessed it, Twitter and Facebook, so he really doesn’t like social media.

Recently Abhinandan praised Twitter’s decision to not take political advertisements but that affects campaigns like Sanders, Gabbard and other non-status quo candidates who rely heavily on social media ads. They can pull off massive numbers due to their campaigns on social media and digital platforms. Mainstream candidates like Biden don’t have a huge fan following on social media.

Madhu mentioned that Sanders doesn’t have a chance, but he has actually raised more money than anyone on the back of small $ donations (25 Million in Q3) and has more than 1 million volunteers working for him (more than anyone in the race). He is doing better in polling than most candidates in swing states. He is blacklisted in mainstream media as he is proposing to tax the rich. The category in which many of the TV host and CEOs come in. I would suggest you to check more independent media outlets similar to NL, instead of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NY Times, Washington Post etc.

Thank you,

Amit Kamble


Hello Newslaundry,

I had the pleasure of meeting the NL Blore community earlier this week and it did not disappoint!

At one point, Abhinandan asked the group why we subscribe and by the time it was my turn to speak I had a million reasons that I tried to express in the most jumbled up and incoherent manner.

As I wait today for the Ayodhya verdict, I simultaneously look forward to the post-verdict analysis on Hafta. And that’s when it struck with startling clarity why I subscribe and why I love NL Hafta. Listening to Hafta is like having the discussions I hope to have but never can. In real life, all our debates around politics, social issues, religion etc devolve into the most unpleasant screaming/sarcasm matches were at some point a third party comes and hands the warring sides a drink each and tries to change the subject. Then we all fake a tentative laugh, remember what an early morning we have the next day and end the evening.

I love the disparate views that come together on Hafta. Nobody is claiming to be “right“ and nobody is trying to change another person’s opinion.

Please keep up the great discussions. Also looking forward to all your other future plans.



Hi Team NL,

This is with regards to Hafta 249, specifically the conversation around Aatish Taseer. While I agree that this govt might be vindictive in general (the cases of Gopinathan et al do seem to be so) let’s not paint everything with that brush. Particularly when it comes to Atish Taseer.

The rules are quite clear – you cannot have an OCI if any parent or GP is a Pakistani or Bangladeshi. You might not like those rules (and nor do I) but the fact that Atish is a columnist does not place him above those rules. If I were to withhold information in an application that, if revealed, would lead to my disqualification, then the term for such an act is a fraud and I would always be at risk of being punished for it. Why should the same rules not apply to Aatish?

The rules do not state that you are allowed to withhold information about your father if you have published a book in which you’ve identified him. The rules don’t state that they apply only to people who are a threat to the nation. The rules don’t state that you are allowed to withhold information in your application if “the whole world knows” who your father is. That “whole world knows” bit, which Manisha actually said, is essentially the English translation of “tu jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai“, an argument that your own panel would disagree with if it was somebody other than Aatish.

If people say that he’s being targeted due to his article, then there is no correct time for the govt to take action. Now that he has spoken against this govt, any action by them against him is a vendetta. Okay, then in 2024 if another govt comes to power all he has to do is write articles critical of them to grant himself a form of moral immunity and instant outrage if the govt takes any action.

Per the rules, he should never have gotten the OCI in the first place, but the govt is rarely that efficient. The timing is indeed suspicious – but the govt couldn’t have done this if Atish hadn’t tried to commit withheld information in the first place. So this attempt to paint him as some sort of victim isn’t very convincing.




Hi NL Team,

I hope you guys are doing great. I am writing because Delhi’s air pollution was discussed in last three NL Haftas 247, 248 and 249. But It did not mention that overall Delhi’s pollution has decreased by 25%.

1. Below are the steps taken by Delhi Govt to reduce pollution

Along with the steps mentioned in the article, the building of east and west peripheral by Central Govt has also helped reduce pollution, which is mentioned in the video by Arvind Kejriwal.

2. There was no mention of 3,000 buses coming in the next 6-8 months. 229 has already arrived, all are equipped with CCTVs, panic button, rearview camera and with accessible hydraulic lifts.

Also, I would like to mention that constant roadblock by LG has delayed acquiring of these buses (if anyone wondering why this step wasn’t taken earlier ). SC judgement in July 2018 in favour of AAP has sped up their work and as a result, we are seeing so many works seeing sunlight now.

Links :

3. NL Hafta 249 00:28:40

“Stuble burning is contributing in single-digit to Delhi’s pollution”

1. SAFAR >> According to government agency System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR), under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the share of stubble burning from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana in Delhi’s pollution rose to 46 per cent on Friday, which it referred to be the highest this year.


Stubble-burning in the neighbouring states has been one of the major contributors to pollution in the national capital. On Thursday, stubble-burning in Punjab and Haryana contributed to 27 per cent pollution in Delhi, while on Wednesday the contribution was recorded at 35 per cent, the highest so far.

 3. CPCB

A senior official of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told The Hindu that the contribution of stubble burning to a spike in pollution levels in Delhi ranged from 2%-10% was the conclusion of various scientific agencies and it was important to take steps to minimise pollution rather than blame others.

“We are a scientific agency. In fact last year, we had said that stubble burning, during some periods, contributed to as much as 38% of Delhi’s pollution. These concentrations change over the months and there should be no attempt to politicise it,” the official told The Hindu in a phone conversation.


4. NL Hafta 249 00:29:00

“where will power come from”

Delhi has shut down two coal-based power plant. Power will come from power plant only but they can be constructed in more green area where there is less/no population.

5. NL HAFTA 249 00:31:22

“happy seeder machine”

Also, the farmer doesn’t have a tractor of that horsepower to use the happy seeder. Check this out :

6. NL HAFTA 249 00:33:30

“Steps that AAP should have taken to reduce air pollution”

I agree that road vacuum cleaning would be one of the major steps towards clean air. But a government cannot do everything in just 5 years. As I have mentioned above, they have taken a series of steps to decrease pollution by 25%. In the last 5 years, they worked extensively on Education and healthcare. Their next 5-year plan is to work on infrastructure, cleaning and remodelling roads, making public transport cheaper and easily accessible with last-mile connectivity.

7. NL HAFTA 249 00:38:00

“Delhi has only good or breathable air 2 days only in the past 800 days”

The central govt is agreeing that the number of days with good and moderate air quality has improved from 157 to 175 in Delhi from Jan – Nov 2019 as compared to Jan-Nov 2018.

Sorry to say but It was NOT so informed discussion.