Hafta letters: Reservations, diversifying coverage, discussing MK Gandhi

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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It is always good to see new and interesting voices on Hafta. Since many of the guests are news professionals, it makes sense for them to mostly comment on the news of the week. On the other hand, when the guests are not news professionals, one of the topics of detailed discussion could be a subject close to their area of expertise, even if vaguely connected to the news of the week.

For example, with a previous guest, Advaita Kala, there was only a fleeting mention of the publishing industry. I would have really loved to know her views on that topic and a detailed discussion on it. Since she has written books as well as screenplays, I would have liked her to compare the two mediums.

A discussion on a topic of expertise of the guest allows them to build credibility with the listeners. Later, if they want to throw it on OpIndia, all power to them. At the very least, it will serve as confirmation to the listeners that being an expert on one topic does not make one immune to having blindspots on others.

Mohit Singh


Hi NL Team,

I am Ankit Nahar and an NL subscriber of over two years. I am a regular listener of Hafta and like the varied opinions discussed on the podcast. I have some views on caste-based promotion, which was discussed on the latest Hafta.

I understand the need for caste-based promotion but have few reservations (no pun intended) if enforced. Caste-based reservations in general should be complemented with enhanced investment in the education sector, economic development, and employment growth. For college admissions, the disparity in cut-off marks for admission is significant between the general category vis-a-vis the reserved categories, leading to strong resentment amongst GC students. The families of GC students are forced to pay massive bribes and workarounds to get admission under management quotas in colleges, resulting in enhanced financial difficulties and burden. Most of the working life for many students is spent repaying these debts. Post-graduation, if a person again finds himself on the wrong side of job selection and promotion due to reservations, the resentment is bound to grow.

I acknowledge that people from the reserved class are fighting hard battles in life for education, equality, and job opportunities. But how do I convince a cousin of mine, who despite scoring 96 percent could not get admission in the college of her choice but sees friends with 65 percent get admission due to caste reservation? For her, the personal loss triumphs the greater good. The onus is on the government to ensure that reservations are not viewed as an opportunity seized from GC but as an opportunity added for the reserved categories. The government should push for more reservations from the primary school level (private schools) so that there is a more level-playing field. This will also help broadbase the beneficiaries of reservations. Also, it is imperative that the government improve job opportunities, quality of education, set up new colleges to make this work, and not use if just for votebank politics

I have a couple of suggestions for NL and these are listed below:

  • The minimum contribution towards an NL Sena project is Rs 2,500. Not all subscribers can pay this amount. There should be an option where subscribers can contribute an amount less than Rs 2,500. This may help you generate more funds and meet the targets faster.

  • Currently, most of the news in NL is from North India. NL can diversify its news coverage if it can collaborate more with regional news players like the Telegraph in Kolkata or the News Minute in South.

Feedback on NL team:

I want to single out Manisha Pande for her balanced, articulate and unbiased views. The biggest strength of NL, in my opinion, is its general reportage. Most reports simplify complex ideas, are easy to follow and crisp. Lastly, on Anand Vardhan, I find both his articles and views on Hafta difficult to follow. His language is often complex and articulation muddled. It would help if he could articulate his views in simple language for readers/listeners.


Ankit V Nahar


Dear NL,

Congratulations on your anniversary and for the great work you keep doing. Please do a subscribers’ meet in the UK too. In response to some recent events, here's my little bunch of thoughts:

  • Trump being the clever negotiator he is wants India to be labelled as a “developed country” for economic discussion so that protections can be weakened. Very clever. Should India be happy to accept itself to be developed or not?

  • Having lived in six countries (India, US, Canada, Israel, Northern Ireland, and England) thanks to the excellent education of IIT Delhi, I feel what really makes a country developed is the empowerment of its individual citizens, and the answerability of those in power which also implies the independence of the police and law enforcement. In Israel, the police are prosecuting their own prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for corruption. In the UK, an MP had to resign after being caught travelling first class on a train while having an ordinary ticket. The government’s chief whip had to resign and was investigated for a year for calling a security personnel a pleb when the whip was stopped on his way out of the parliament on his cycle. Yes, many come to the parliament on cycles and public transport. This scandal became known as the Plebgate because it was later discovered that the policemen were lying!

  • There are also strong safety nets in these countries for all those left behind – social security, etc, that’s “freebies”! – and the capitalist US is more socialist than India in that sense. In the US, this change of perception came after the Great Depression (which, by the way, led to the rise of Adolf Hitler in another part of the world) when they realised that for the society and the economy to function well, those who are left behind need to be cared for.

  • About the coverage of the Delhi election, it was often said by many media outlets that the BJP was stressing national issues and AAP local ones. I think this was misleading and playing into the BJP’s narrative. The BJP’s campaign was only based on religion and divisiveness. If it was based on national issues, they would have tried to convince voters that CAA (and NRC) were good, and enumerate the steps they were proposing to boost the national economy which would in turn benefit Delhi.

I’d appreciate your views on these.


Amitabh Trehan


Hi Guys,

I keep subscribing on an adhoc basis because of Abhinandan’s taunts about coffee and cigarettes, and Rs 300 ka kharcha.

These taunts might work better if you also use “Biryani”, “McDonalds”, “KFC”, etc. Not all people smoke Rs 300 worth ka cigarettes or drink that expensive coffee. I can forgo a biryani for a month ka subscription.

NL team, as always, keep up the good work. Hafta 263 was really good, especially because of the diverse subscriber presence. I got some audio interference in the recording, which was not such a big deal. You should interview that last RSS wala subscriber whose letter was read in the end. I never met one in my life; I am really curious about their functioning today.

My request since Abhinandan keeps bringing up MK Gandhi: I always feel like I need to learn more about the man. I am too lazy to pick up his books. Abhinandan and the team, if possible, please plan a frank discussion about Gandhi, his flaws and virtues, and contemporary perceptions about him. You can try and call someone from here or any experts you guys know.

And what the hell does this mean, “Angrez apna lagaan aur Newslaundry apna Hafta kabhi nahi chodte”. I don’t speak Hindi so well. I don’t understand the metaphor.


Chetan K


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