Hafta Letters: AAP's role in Delhi carnage, confronting bigotry, and using cuss words on the podcast
NL Dhulai

Hafta Letters: AAP's role in Delhi carnage, confronting bigotry, and using cuss words on the podcast

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

By NL Team

Published on :

Dear Abhinandan,

When you mentioned on the Hafta two weeks ago that to visit the UK, you had been asked to pay your own passage, I chuckled as it reminded me of a saying by a famous person, "Angrez apna lagaan kabhi nahin chodte.” However, as that weekend evolved, all the humour was sucked out of it by the Delhi riots. It reminded me of the 1984 riots when I was a student in Gurgaon and saw how people who seemed perfectly inclusive suddenly turned bigoted at least for a while.

Would you know where we could donate to relief efforts? It'd be great if Newslaundry could have a list of verified organisations involved in the relief effort, and also clarify if they accept contributions from abroad. My feeling is that it is easier to donate to the venerable political parties if you are a rich foreign donor than to good causes. Somebody asked me an interesting, almost Gandhian question: are there Hindu organisations which plan to help Muslims rebuild their properties and lives? And vice versa?

I wonder how the people involved in anti-CAA protests would be feeling right now? It seems that the government is not interested in talking to the protesters, but is rather using the protests as a tool to further polarise the communities. During India Against Corruption protests, I was one of the leaders in Israel. We got the Indian student community together and went to protest in front of the Indian consulate in Tel Aviv. I drafted a letter for the PM, which was delivered to the then ambassador Navtej Sarna. I guess we were 50 of us or so, we sang songs and had banners, got covered by the Jerusalem Post, and then went to have lunch at the same Indian restaurant Modi ji went to about five years later, in no minor way helped by the IAC protests. I am not sure you all at the Delhi HQ even knew we existed but there was a sense of optimism and confidence that the government would engage. What is the sense now?


Amitabh Trehan


Hi All,

This is with reference to Abhinandan’s comment: I will give my relative a piece of my mind, tell them to fuck off etc.

I was a BJP supporter all the way to the CAA. I honestly had no great reason not to support it. But I changed my mind after the CAA.

Your technique of naming and shaming will not work, you will only strengthen their positions.

If your goal is altruistic in any sense, I would suggest sending them NL articles and asking them to read those. Once read, ask for a critique. Five out of 10 will call it BS without reading the article, four of the remaining will read it and one guy/gal will come back to you with questions, most likely outside the group.

Nothing, absolutely nothing is more hurting to the egomaniac in all of us than “I told you so”. It’s humiliating.

This is where I found Kejriwal’s advert ploy fantastic: I know you love Modi, can you give me five minutes to listen to what I have done?

So, dude, handle with care. Think of it as your public service as a news professional.

As for the subscriber-led podcasts on science, economics and other topics, are we getting anywhere? I had already put my hand up for it! I guess so have some other subscribers. Let’s do it.

One more thing. I saw some fantastic articles by Vivek Kaul using Excel for visualisation. There are some excellent subscription tools (PowerBI and others) available to show those visualisations. Considering hiring staff is a problem both in terms of cost and quality, trying to digitise and automate your processes may be something to spend money on. Fact-checking using AI is an option. I am sure there are techie subscribers (I am not) who could give more ideas.

That’s it from me,



Hello, Abhinandan sir,

I am a subscriber of Newslaundry. I follow most of Newslaundry's content, be it NL Hafta, Awful and Awesome, Reporters without Orders, NL Tippni, or TV Newsance. And I appreciate all of it.

But here is something that I found off-putting. In episode 265 of the NL Hafta, while discussing the role of the Delhi police in the Delhi riots you abused and used cuss words for the police to vent out your frustration.

Going by the reports and what the Delhi police have been up to in the past many months, like the recent Delhi violence or the violence in Jamia or their inability to crack down on the JNU attackers, it is natural to get irritated and frustrated by their actions.

However, it was totally off-putting to hear you using "chutia" for them on a podcast. Your anger towards the police is justified but using cuss words on a podcast I believe just brings down the editorial value of the content a bit. NL Hafta is one of the best products of Newslaundry. And using abusive language on a quality show just doesn't sound right. There have been few other podcasts as well where you have been heard using cuss words.

Request you to please tone down the coarse language. Like many other recommendations from other subscribers and listeners of NL podcasts, you may choose to disagree and I shall be fine with it.

Everything else coming from the NL team is great. My best to the entire team of Newslaundry.


Prakhar Sachdeo


HI NL Team,

I have been a Newslaundry subscriber on and off (off mostly due to technology reasons) for a while now. Hoping this time I’m gonna stick for longer. The banter format of Hafta makes for an ideal podcast listen. For someone braving the unforgiving Minnesotan winter, Hafta makes for a perfect getaway from solitude.

This is in reference to the free speech argument on Hafta 264. Wishful thinking, but do you believe India will ever see a regime which may consider absolute freedom of speech as a part of their political agenda? Hard to imagine this as long as religion stays in the forefront of our political discourse. I understand there is hardly any incentive for the current crop of political parties in pushing this. In times when a party like AAP is compelled (not that they don't have a choice) to chant Hanuman Chalisa, its puerile to expect this from BJP/Congress. I know it’s foolish to draw parallels, but for a 70-year-old democracy that we rave about, shouldn't take this long for something the US was able to lay out 200 years ago?

Even if this were to happen, is the Indian democracy and the public at large mature enough to sustain and nurture a policy to this effect? With a majoritarian electorate where you are a Twitter post away from a riot, I wonder what cost this could come at. Is it also because we are more political than most other nations? For instance, although the US political scene too is polarized, I don't really see politics being an overarching part of drawing room conversations with the general public. Of course, the US doesn't have the kind of problems we do and probably doesn't warrant the kind of civil discourse that India needs. But it’s utterly shocking to see a substantial part of the electorate justify and condone arrests of individuals exercising their free speech eulogising a neighboring country. It's probably more of self introspection that can help address this disease than a constitutional amendment alas.

Would love to hear the panel's thoughts.


Sandeep Ghatikar


Hi Abhinandan,

First of all, congratulations to everyone at Newslaundry on completing eight years.

I became a subscriber last month after listening as a mufatkhor for almost three years. Yes, your rants do work.

Now, coming straight to the feedback.

Please do more interviews. I have enjoyed all the ones that NL did this month.

Taking from the same point, I love Newsance and have made sure that my mom and dad watch it every week. They have started loving it as well.

Niku and only Niku should be the host till you guys find a better person to host the Hafta (all other people who have hosted in his absence are well researched people but Niku has a special aura). Yeah, you can abuse once in a while as long as it doesn’t become a Sacred Games episode. I see that you guys are getting people from different points of view as well (Right/Left/Centre/Whatever), please continue to do so. It never makes me take things for granted.

Please tell Anand to use lighter vocabulary. I am an MBA but not that well read.

Please start a business podcast with the likes of Vivek Kaul or Amit Verma. All business news channels never offer a business view from the common man's point of view.

I have been working in the Oil and Gas industry for the last 13 years, currently based out of Dubai. Any plans for some conference here?

Also, I am the same guy who coaxed Niku on Twitter to recognize me on becoming a subscriber.

Keep doing awesome work.




Hi Team Hafta,

I have been an on-and-off NL subscriber since 2014. I am writing this email from Perth, Australia.

I am writing this email in the aftermath of the Delhi riots. Since these events took place just after the Delhi election, it won’t be wrong to say that they were the result of a buildup (provocative speeches and abuses) that happened during the campaign.

AAP realised prior to the election that they needed to toe the soft Hindutva line. They gave enough signals during the election campaign, eg visiting Valmiki Mandir and Hanuman Mandir or, as Manisha said, planting the reciting of Hanuman Chalisa in a TV interview. Even post-election, Saurabh Bharadwaj was tasked to keep this alive.

Everyone would be quick to jump in and start blaming the BJP but AAP played an equally important part in the buildup. Where does this leave AAP now?

Please comment.


Pallav Nanda