Hafta letters: Pronunciation and microaggressions, Kamala Harris, the Ayodhya verdict

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Pronunciation and microaggressions, Kamala Harris, the Ayodhya verdict
  • whatsapp
  • copy

Dear Abhinandan,

I am a public sector employee, and my company conduct laws dictate that I am not going to write letters to an editor (just imagine!). Maybe someday you could talk about the Official Secrets Act and the fact that a large section of the educated population cannot contribute to the political discourse because their job prevents them from doing so.

1. Sushant Singh Rajput

First, I would like to address a developing issue. I wouldn't have if you guys hadn't been discussing it in your Haftas. This is about the SSR case. I find it surprising that all the panelists in Hafta seem to very confidently agree on the fact that Sushant Singh Rajput has died by suicide. When you had mentioned that people will start asking for a CBI inquiry, you were very dismissive of the idea. For people who speak truth to power, I find your presumption that this is not a murder to be very strange. I have seen a general dismissal [of this] from liberal circles.

Your presumption that there isn't any foul play or that he was murdered by the Thackeray, Pancholi and Khan brothers is based on what evidence, exactly? SSR's family's FIR on Rhea Chakraborty, and Disha Salian's family's letter to the Mumbai police saying that her name is being maligned on social media, saying that her body was found nude and she was raped, etc?

How can you so definitively say that all the rumours going on are completely false? If, IF the allegations of Disha Salian's gangrape involving Arbaaz Khan, Pancholi, Thackeray, Rhea Chakraborty's brother were true, partially or completely, would it not be very easy for them to suppress it with the Mumbai police as an accessory to the crime? I mean we all know Salman's connections to the underworld, his misogyny, hubris and his past record. Why do you find the idea of this having been a murder so risible? If this conspiracy were indeed true, wouldnt it be too easy for them to destroy evidence with the help of the Mumbai police?

I mean, there were TV anchors inside the room showing us that he hanged himself using a greenbed sheet the same morning. I am no forensic expert, but how little time does the Mumbai police need to collect evidence from a crime scene? And what kind of police allows the media to enter with their dirty boots into a possible crime scene?

Next, we have seen videos of the Mumbai police literally dragging the Bihar police detectives to their van, basically arresting them. All technicalities regarding jurisdiction aside, I'm sure this is not standard procedure in our country.

And finally and most obviously, if there are the slightest allegations to conflict of interest of the Mumbai police, shouldn't it be given to an independent investigating agency just on this merit?

Bhakts, Godi Media and Kangana's shenanigans aside, I fail to see how serious journalists such as you find the idea laughable. And sure, this will be used by BJP, but if not their enemy, then who will expose them?

2. NL Sena subscription slabs

I want to contribute to Sena projects, but I find the payment slabs quite prohibitive. I am sure there are many people like me who don't really care about receiving goodies so much, we just want to contribute for serious journalism's sake. Can't it be so that the subscriber could pay any amount to contribute to the project? You can give goodies to bigger subscribers.

3. Independence of Newslaundry

I am sold on the idea of individual subscription. But we have seen how the Jan Dhan accounts were coopted to launder money by the rich and powerful during demonetisation. What protections have you ensured to maintain independence and editorial sanctity in such a case?

Also, what are the merits/demerits of the hierarchal subscription model?

4. Safetyism

I don't want to argue my position on this spectrum, but I guess it will lie somewhere close to Abhinandan's. However, the fact that the liberals fail to see that they are making themselves weaker by picking on each other rather than uniting ourselves in fighting the machine is beyond me. I mean when I see gay and Dalit bhakts, it makes me want to shoot myself in the head. Call them out/bring them in first. Then bicker about whose liberalism is the whitest. This conversation must also happen at some point of time in order to establish a framework which is considered workable. However, there are much bigger fights to fight, where we need to join our voices in unison to force our governments to take action immediately and decisively.

That brings me to...

5. Permanent membership and veto powers in the United Nations Security Council

The way I see it, imperialism cannot be ended unless we can get around the fact that the big powers like the US, Russia and China have veto powers in the UNSC. Issues like Palestine, the forever wars in the Middle East, and now Chinese imperialism in the South China Sea are always shot down with something like 200 to one or two votes in the UNSC.

Perhaps your panel can shed light on the legal avenues within the UN to achieve more representation or even full representation of UN member states at the UNSC so that concrete and meaningful interventions may be taken to improve the quality of life on earth.


I would recommend your viewers to watch Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn's videos on YouTube, and I'd urge them to check out The Intercept, but I hope they've all done that.

There are many more things I would like to discuss but maybe I'll write another letter someday.

More power to you.



My name is Vinay and I'm from Kerala. I am a recent student subscriber although I used to listen to Chotta Hafta regularly.

I have a few queries on the discussions regarding safetyism. This is for Meghnad in regards to the recent NL debate with Abhishek.

You had cited that safetyism is contrary to liberal values since it cuts down the scope of new ideas and discussions. However, looking at the same aspect from a mental health perspective, I find it a bit problematic. The stigma surrounding mental health is slowly being done away with, and is gaining space for discussion among people due to the liberal values inculcated in society. When one rejects a conversation which he/she feels might take a toll on their mental health, shouldn't it be alright to say no to that conversation? If not, wouldn't that be a direct contradiction to the liberal values we hold onto since it is the same morals that brought mental health to the forefront?

I understand that when people use this as an excuse to shy away from every conversation, it becomes problematic and one can say that safetyism is against liberal values at that instance. No matter what the case, I don't support cancel culture. The point that I'm trying to bring is cancel culture is not exactly the same as denying a conversation, it's much bigger than that, it's more about denial of opportunity.

So, what I feel is: It isn't right to generalise the whole statement of safetyism being a threat to liberal values. Each incident should be looked at with context and evaluated accordingly. Having said this, I admire the work Newslaundry does and hope to see more of it.




Hi Abhinandan,

Loki here.

I became a Newslaundry subscriber last month after wanting to do it for nearly five years, because I have the financial means to do it, at least for now.

Just a short email in response to an accusation made by two NL subscribers about you being microaggressive regarding the pronunciation of names.

I am no linguist but I did a few courses on it, and there was mention about the pronunciation thing. I would say in some languages which humans learn from early stages of life, a child develops more vocal cords than in other languages like English. For example, an angrez will find it extremely difficult to pronounce the hindi letter "ड़" , names or surnames containing this letter, however hard they try.

Similarly, a Hindi speaker (or Tamilian or English) cannot possibly pronounce words of the Xhosa language of Africa which is called the language of clicks. Our vocal chords are simply not trained enough since childhood. So non-Hindi speakers need to chill the F out and get over the useless debate and argue on some more substantial topics like liberty or privacy.

This is not to deny that we, the North Indians, are not inherently racist towards South Indians or Northeastern Indians. Bollywood, the so-called mirror of (North) Indian society, has been hella racist while representing people from South India or, as a matter of fact, any state or group of people...Marwadi, Bihari, Bengali, Punjabi, Muslims, Goans, and so on.

If you care to read more..

I am a politically Left-leaning centrist, hated by everyone so yay, and witness a lot of nuisance in the left-wing narrative, especially the one in the US, which I hold responsible for the election of an absolute lunatic in power, Mr Trump. I used to consider myself on liberal side but my own side banished me. I believe the left-wing of the US is overly sensitive. I come from a generation who adored George Carlin, Ricky Gervais and Christopher Hitchens.

I do feel the American Left is somewhat similar to the Indian right-wing. Their Left is as intolerant as our right-wing, major difference being that they are overly sensitive and ours is insensitive af. Both engage in politics of emotions, group mentality, and that of keeping sentiments superior to facts.

I am in no way a right-winger. I despise the US right-wing, and regarding the Indian right-wing, I feel only death can cure the right-wing mental disorder. I do, however, have strong ears to tolerate some debates of Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin. Sometimes they are batshit crazy and insensitive like on abortion or religion but not always. They have some good points to add to conversations. A broader perspective enriches your knowledge and opens up your mind. I do enjoy shows of John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, etc but not new ones like Trevor Noah, etc. I however do not and cannot listen to most Indian right-wingers, except maybe Tavleen Singh, Rakesh Sinha for five to 10 minutes, and whole-heartedly disagree with them on their support of Modi-BJP mania. But otherwise I cannot listen to anyone else. The rest are all buffons here, especially the ones consistently appearing in Godi Media, my god, they are stupid.

I have just finished watching all episodes of Clothesline, a little bit late but they did provide an insight on how news journalism was on the verge of extinction back then and has been dead at least for three years. I really wait for Newsance every week and Hafta too since I joined as a subscriber, and also started listening to Tippani which is awesome but goes above the head of most Hindi speakers, as most of us are idiots.



Hello Hafta team,

I'm a recent subscriber and a long time mufatkhor. I'm writing this email to address several discussions on the past few Haftas. I will address them by topic and try my best to be precise.

Complaints and probable solutions

Reading the newspaper every day was my parents' morning routine since their childhood. But because of the sad state of our news industry/society, they cancelled it recently and my dad was broken up about it. While I want them, my sibling, and cousins to subscribe to Newslaundry, my evangelism hit a snag because of the following reasons.

Discussions on cancel culture/safetyism, etc drag on for several episodes whereas important topics like the imprisonment of Varavara Rao, etc are limited to five minutes of outrage. This might cater to a significant portion of the NRI audience like me but there are very few sources left for honest, informed Indian journalism, and there are thousands of other places for safetyism discussions (since all you need is some opinions)

The quality of the episodes vary a lot since the format is very casual. Of course, the informal nature is part of the appeal here but instituting set time limits for discussions/news/emails, etc would help in avoiding the cramming of important news into small segments since the time was spent on random discussions.

I'm a huge fan of your investigative journalism. I admire the detail and nuance but the length just turns off lazy folks like me. I urge you to consider a limited series podcast like Land of the Giants. This would make it easy to consume and a great way to introduce Newslaundry to others. Everyone I know wants to understand the housing market but no one wants to read an extremely lengthy report.

Technical suggestions

To enforce the word limit on these emails, have you considered introducing a form in the website which shows the live word count and limit?

While revisiting a topic, please include a couple of lines of recap or audio snippet from previous discussion.

Frivolous opinions

While I had disagreements/opinions on a few issues discussed, the pronunciation one was just outlandish. I understand people's names in different languages take different forms and in the multinational company I work in, the mutual butchering of names is how we start the day.

Abhinandan pronounced Emmanuel Macron fairly correctly and I'm pretty sure he didn't grow up with that name. No reasonable person would be enraged by innocent mistakes. But claiming state names like Kannad'a' are somehow difficult sounds unreasonable. You wouldn't call Mathura as Mathur or Haryana as Haryan. I definitely don't think it is out of malice, hatred, racism or microaggression. But it is untoward for people, especially journalists who are fairly open to new ideas.

Keep up the great work and I will look forward to the new payment gateway.


Aravind Sreenivasa


Hi Newslaundry,

I have been a subscriber for months now and listen to all the podcasts and watch videos, etc. I got lured into NL by the expressiveness of Abhinandan and the satirical expertise of Manisha (entertainment factors) but now come to appreciate Mehraj and Raman more. They bring that poised and sophisticated viewpoint to the Hafta and other discussions. I appreciate your honest discussions when you don't agree or contradict each other, etc. Hafta has been my Sunday morning dose and I wait for it.

I do listen to the Print and Shekhar Gupta and like his centred viewpoints sometimes. However, I do wonder if you will ever find a journalist or person who can give you right-wing or conservative viewpoints. In no way do I agree with stuff the BJP government is doing. However, the majority is voting them in and democracy is giving them a chance, and that larger group wants things to be in a certain way, and the BJP is playing that card and luring them to get to victory.

Is there some mindset change that the country has to go through in terms of what we want, etc. Education, awareness or early inculcation of inclusivity, etc has to begin, journalists are just riding the wave, "jo bikhta hai who dikhta hai" attitude. Agar kuch bikhega nahi tho who dikhega nahi, so should there be a monumental change in how we educate people and younger generations in terms of caste, religion, history and culture.

I have lived through the 1992 Masjid demolition as a schoolgoer and come from this saffron-dominated region in Karnataka. I joke about it, that we are the Uttar Pradesh of the south (Hubli/ Hubballi). If Varanasi gives up on Modi then my city will happily adopt him. The roots of this Hindutva are very deep-rooted and beyond my comprehension when I look at it from a birds-eye view. As much as I respect the views of conservatives or centrists, the Left is looked down upon by the Right like someone's an outcast or is brainwashed.

I have this fun theory: We should stop calling it "right-wing". People have been thinking "right-wing" is Right and Left is wrong. For example, left hand and right hand analogy. I, being a left-hander, have lived though the religious/cultural biases towards the Right vs Left.

Arijit's letter was very well-articulated. I echo that. I disagree with Abhinandan. An employer is an entity, and bosses or managers could have a personal opinion but that should not influence organisational decisions or behaviour towards people. It's easier said than done though but a good thing to be aware of, learn and practice.

Day off or taking a leave for any reason: For Abhinandan, you cannot judge as an employer (entity). Personal judgement: Yes, go ahead. I can judge Abhinandan for being loud or expecting people to have a hobby or passion to take leave and not take leave just because I felt like, but that in my living room is okay, not as an employee. Sometimes you just feel like taking a day off. I am sure everyone interviews enough to hire a responsible person and if you hired one, you will value the responsibility. Anyone can come under a bus and not be there for a video shoot. As an organisation, one should be prepared for incidents of absence.

What reason you think is valid or not valid is a part of your social or cultural conditioning. As a person in power, you should be aware of that lens you wear. The very first place I worked had this wonderful manager who said this interesting bit: "An 'I' can be a person dependent but the organisation should be process/policy dependent. We should continuously work towards such dependencies resolutions or single point of failures as they keep occurring."

Also, Comic Sans is a good font, read this article. Don't apologise for your choice of the font. As long as you say something valuable, even Comic Sans is okay.

Regarding language and pronunciation, I am from Karnataka, now living in New Zealand. I think we as a country are more forgiving towards foreigners when they say our names (nouns) wrong. Do we go around correcting people from other countries? We try and correct them and give them time and room to learn. I think as a country within, we should look at people from other states and/or languages in the same light. India is a large subcontinent like Europe with different languages and ways of life. Like Europe, we do have similarities but there are some differences and we should respect that. The language barriers or limitations come with it.

For example, in Marathi, there are two "La" sounds; one from the tongue and the other from the throat. If you are not Maharashtrian or South Indian, then you haven't used that muscle in your throat. It's the same "Tamil Nadu" pronunciation. I won't even go into the other letters that other South Indian languages have.

However having said that, aa, uu, da matras are easier to not miss, that much effort one will have to make. For example, the way people say dosa as "dough sa". For heaven's sake, you have been saying Indore correctly for centuries, you can say dosa correctly when pointed out. Same goes for South Indians: Make some effort to fix and some to keep learning. I have seen people say Cashmere, not Kashmir.

Moving on, for some reason, I have never liked the Awful and Awesome podcast. I do enjoy entertainment news a lot, etc but somehow, this podcast has failed to ring a bell. I am not sure what other subscribers think of this podcast. I felt it's very lacklustre for an entertainment podcast and irritating. As a subscriber, I just keep wondering: Do you have to do this podcast, do you have a democratic way of deciding about this? There are plenty of good entertainment podcasts or information sources that are much better, so I keep thinking of the value add of this one. However, I love all other podcasts: Hafta, Charcha, Tippani, HOMP and Newsance, etc.

For Hafta, I have a recommendation. You keep bringing other journalists every week. Likewise, you can also bring your own inhouse journalist every episode in a round-robin rotation. It gives me, as a subscriber, the chance to know more about your wider 40-50 member team.

Thanks for bringing in HOMP, I have been a fan of this show since it aired on NDTV Good Times. Talking of all of those places and food makes me nostalgic and miss India even more. I have travelled across India with HOMP recommendations and eaten in those places, thanks to Rocky, Mayur, Prashant and Abhinandan. I only got to notice Abhinandan and appreciate him more after I found out he produced Highway On My Plate.

Keep up the wonderful work, guys, and I appreciate your journalistic views and all the work you all do.


Sowmya Hiremath


Dear NL Team,

I am most certainly an outlier in your subscriber demographic, being 65 years old. I have been a subscriber for a few years now and have also contributed to some of your NL Sena projects though I must add that every time I look to contribute, I hesitate, having a deep aversion to be called Knight, King, Queen or Jedi or whatever. However, needless to say, I very much appreciate your reports, interviews and podcasts. I listen to NL Hafta as much as I can though not in its entirety.

I like your latest especially with Hartosh Singh Bal being on the panel. I find myself in accord with all of your views and I think Mehraj Lone has been an excellent addition since he joined your time. Having said that, I should point out that one of your panelists mixed up the names of two former RBI governors, YV Reddy and D Subba Rao, neither of whom is the chairman of the TTD (Tirumalai Tirupati Devastanam) board. I happen to know both these gentlemen, who are among the best that the Indian Civil Service could produce. The present TTD Chairman is a Jagan appointee accused of being a Christian by the bhakts.

As I said, I am usually very impressed with Mehraj but he is quite wrong about Kamala Harris’s record. Yes, she fails to pass the purity test imposed by the left-wing of the Democratic party but few points need to be made in her support. As a child of civil rights activists and a graduate of all black Howard University, she is hardly a centre-right machine politician.

In fact, as a DA or a prosecutor in 2004, she refused to seek death penalty for the killer of a police officer — a stand that earned her the opprobrium of the police unions and some establishment democrats. As an attorney general, she possibly went overboard on being “tough on crime” which was a popular position in those days, especially post 9/11. However, her record is not all bad. She was the first AG to introduce racial sensitivity training for the police and mandated body cameras, no small achievement. Her outstanding achievement as AG was to hold firm and get $18 billion as compensation for low-income mortgage owners from five banking majors. In doing so, she went against all the other 49 AGs and won an overall settlement which was six times more than the original offer for all 50 states. Her record as US senator is for everyone to see. I am sure you can read all this but I wanted to point out that many in the progressive camp reflexively apply the BLM standards of today to tarnish an outstanding candidate, often called the female Obama. Like him, she is not doctrinaire but it is a stretch to call her centre-right.

I am glad Abhinandan called out the false equivalence between Swarajya and Newslaundry. That one may have started with some noble intentions of being an Indian Spectator but ended up as an elder sibling of OpIndia.

On a different topic, I would like to thank Manisha Pande for the interview with Varavara Rao’s nephew. The travesty of UAPA and NSA as well as the increasing attack on human rights activists must be highlighted wherever possible. I would like to see more such interviews and/or reports, especially on the young anti-CAA activists currently in jail. Please start an NL Sena and I will be glad to contribute substantially.

Finally, I am glad that the Indian Railways continues to be as efficient as ever. Thanks to that, I was spared of listening to the tortured pedantry of Anand Vardhan.

Best wishes.


All on the Hafta panel,

Quick email to add to Abhinandan and Manisha's discussion about period leave. I highly suggest you read "Premature imitation and India's flailing state" by Shruti Rajagopalan and Alexander Tabarrok. It's a bit of a read but the relevant section is titled "Maternity leave in India". The relevant statistic being this: only around 30 percent of Indian working-age women are in the workforce. The relevant quote is:

The maternity bill is an example of what Antony Allott called “phantom legislation”: the passing of laws which do not have, and most probably cannot have the desired effect. The illusion of progress, of doing something, is given, but the reality is far different. Such legislation is an expression, not of power but of the impotence of power.

In summary: This is a discussion about something that will disincentivise women's participation in the workforce with any positive effect being limited to women who already have tremendous privilege, not those who most need it.

The period leave issue is a PR stunt by Zomato. Any guesses as to what they're hiding?


Eldrich Rebello


Hi NL,

I wanted to send a short mail about pronunciations.

My name is महेन्द्रा but it is pronounced महेंद् by most North Indians, not because they don't care to learn but that is how a Hindi speaker would pronounce it. Mexico is महिको for Spanish speakers and English speakers calling it मेक्सिको is surely not racism. I can give tens of examples like this but I hope you get the gist.

When talking about pronunciation, this distinction was not made, and I just wanted to point it out.


Mahendra Varma


Hello NL Team,

This mail is with reference to Hafta 289 and the comments that were made pertaining to secularism, Ram Hanmabhoomi, and Ayodhya which highlighted several omissions and hypocrisy on the part of all the Hafta members.

The argument that the Supreme Court Ayodhya judgement is self-contradicting, as it gave away the land to the same people who it considered to be engaged in a "gross violation of law", is totally unfounded on facts and it clearly showed that none of the Hafta members had actually attempted to read the 1,075-page judgement.

The Supreme Court pronounced its judgement on the title suit and not on the criminality of the act that brought down the disputed structure which bore the name of an Islamic invader. Being a title suit, the Supreme Court was supposed to decide the title of the land. Title of a land in this case has been decided based on archaeological, empirical and historical evidence. They have also taken into account the various foreign travellers who travelled India during that period.

I was astonished to see how not a single Hafta member even brought up the ASI report during the entire discussion. KK Mohammad, who actually was a part of the archaeological team, has given many public seminars as to how there was a Vedic structure below the disputed structure.

In May 2020, during the land levelling of the Janmabhoomi, several ancient vedic architectural pillars, shivlingas were discovered, which were of course completely ignored by the "liberal", "secular" media. See link.

Speaking of secularism, kindly don't forget the fact that the original Constitution didn't have any mention of secularism. It was only during the Emergency that Indira Gandhi inserted "secular" into the Preamble via the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976. If one reads the Constituent Assembly debates, one would find how Ambedkar and KM Munshi were totally against proclaiming India as a secular nation. Secularism and minority-ism are two nodes of the same hypothetical axis and that's the reason why they can't go side by side by dumping the burden of secularism on the majority community. That is the reason as to why the original Constitution had mention of "minorities" but no mention of "secular".

The monument of secularism can't be built on the ashes of the Hindu community. Enough of the appeasement politics that made us see how a Supreme Court judgement was overturned as it interfered in Sharia, how Iftar parties were attended and organised by people in constitutional posts, how Haj houses were built across states, how Kashmiri Hindus were thwarted out of the only Muslim-majority state in India and the entire political ecosystem kept quiet. It's time we realise how the Indic civilisation was ravaged by Islamic foreign invaders, the proof of which is splattered across the pages of history.

Keep up the good work.


Pratyay Choudhury


Hi NL team,

In Hafta 289, the discussion around the Bengaluru incident and the criticism/progressive voices in Muslims was interesting. Hartosh pretty much said that Hindus should not be criticising the lack of progressivism in Muslims. I was surprised there wasn't a pushback on that. Should Mehraj not be critical about casteism of Hindus?

Also, both Manisha and Mehraj were trying to restrict it to today's context of mahaul and who is in power. But today is not in a vacuum. We did see a time, not too far in the past, when "terror has no religion" was thrown around after every Islamist terror incident. So the perception that there is soft criticism by the Left of such issues of Muslims, or what Bill Maher said, is not totally invalid, even today.

Not too long ago, in Hafta 264, Mehraj was arguing, "Why can't we say, 'Pakistan zindabad'?", almost like a freedom of speech absolutist, "we should push back", "if we aren't allowed to say this, then tomorrow some other criticism will not be allowed", etc. But in the context of the Prophet being mocked, it becomes, "they are being deliberately provocative". Doesn't the rule apply there? If we can't mock the Prophet, then some other legit criticism of theology would also be shouted down or dealt with violence?

Frankly, the whole discussion just reinforced my perception that the Left is too soft, almost patronising, on Muslims while at the same time being passionately critical of caste from history to today, and dismiss the brutality of Islamic history as "that's what kings did then" (Manisha and Mehraj both say this often and it's erronous; today's Islamism is an "inflation adjusted" version of what Aurangzev/Khilji etc did, just like today's casteism is).

As a Tamil NRI on Kamala Harris: andhera chatega, suraj nikelga, kamal nahi khilega.

This tweet by Hartosh on caste violence in UP: He is totally right and the whataboutery is also true, that he and most Left journalists have not, in the last 30 years, been as flippant or even accurate about Islamist violence. And, as he says, "others shouldn't be on high ground" but he as a Sikh can be about UC Hindus. As vile as most right-wing WhatsApp forwards are, such attitudes of the Left only bolsters these forwards.

Prakash Iyer


Hello NL Team,

A quick response to the "period leave" discussion. Just wanted to point out that even the most basic book on labour history makes it clear that power concedes nothing without being challenged. Things like the eight-hour workday, weekends off, equal pay for equal work, workplace safety, sexual harassment at the workplace laws, were all once considered outrageous ideas. And while labour rights are being eroded everywhere, it's still better than Victorian England, we hope.

It's the same with time off for periods. It's a labour issue, not a market-driven issue. I know you all are not a market fundamentalists, but markets don't operate in a vacuum, so to say that the market will punish women for asking for period leave is a somewhat specious argument. For example, you wouldn't say that having sexual harassment at the workplace policies are bad for women getting hired when, in fact, it's better for overall productivity.

Now, I don't think these policies were put in place because employers are simply nice people. It's because of a long history of things like the Bishakha judgement, all the #MeToo scandals, etc, which makes it less attractive for an employer to get potentially sued, get a lot of negative PR, and perhaps lose good employees. I don't know what is behind the particular company under discussion's reason for the leave, but I am sure it makes sense to them to provide their female employees some support rather than pretending women don't get things like periods, or endometriosis (which is very painful), or PCOS ,etc.

Of course women's labor is usually devalued, so it is not surprising that the first response to a change like this is to say that it will make women less employable. When, in fact, history has shown that greater rights for working people and women have not been bad for them, and neither for their employers. Though market fundamentalists and capitalists will always tell you that this is going to be bad for them.

This is of course a very hasty simplified version of a complicated process, so hope you will take it in that spirit. Thank you as always for your work and passion.


Shashwati Talukdar



I was a subscriber. Soon will be one once I get job as now I am unemployed after my masters. The only thing I lacked in Hafta is intellectual analysis of market incentives. But for the first time I felt Abhinandan was right where he mentioned about incentives, which was spot on. Please find the link which proves why startups hire fewer women. I am for period leave of 10 days but the government has to incentivise companies; like they can call swap with one of the weekends or other holidays or other incentives.

The other thing I liked was calling out Rajdeep Sardesai. He was the one who gave birth to journalists like Arnab who is carrying the legacy with hatred. He always fills the space and talks rubbish. Also Barkha Dutt who made a show that schools must be opened soon.


Sanket Kulkarni


Dear NL team,

Huge, huge fan of your work. I was listening to your recent podcast discussion on period leaves and as a feminist academic I want to say that your discussion lacked some core information on the topic. Manisha’s pro stance is understandable and other guys' scepticism is also valid but all that has further arguments.

I would like to write an article on the subject for your website to give you and your readers the full picture of the research done in this area till date and the proper way corporates can implement this policy because there are several layers to this. It’s not a binary yes or no, for or against kind of an argument.

A little about my writing: I've been published in Observer, the Telegraph UK, Rewire, the Huffington Post, Feminism in India, The Professor Is In, and several other notable media, apart from my own blog and books. Please hit me up if you're interested in this piece.

Kind regards,

Shahla Khan

newslaundry logo

Pay to keep news free

Complaining about the media is easy and often justified. But hey, it’s the model that’s flawed.

You may also like