Hafta letters: Tech issues, education and children, Modi vs Manmohan

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Tech issues, education and children, Modi vs Manmohan

Hi guys,

Subscriber since February this year and have been enjoying almost all your content throughout this lockdown.

I am not as articulate as the rest of your subscribers. Just a usual MBA guy working in Dubai since a year.

Brilliant reporting on all the burning issues, especially Hathras coverage. Special appreciation for Manisha on Newsance and Atul on Tippani. My parents have also started regularly watching these two. Please never discontinue these.

Only thing I am at times pissed off about is the tech issues on your website. There is no option to download the interviews or reports in the audio format. I can understand that it being behind paywall you can't directly give the YouTube link, but there should definitely be a way.

One thing is quite amusing. You have a download option for Hafta but no other podcast or interview. Please fix this.

Regards,

Tarun Arora

***

Dear Abhinandhan,

Discipline and fear are primarily a military concept. The same cannot be applied to children. The moral decline of the current generation can be traced to fear in children while growing up. Children listen to parents out of fear or rewards. However, over time, the child keeps on pushing the boundaries and figures out that even if they cross the line, nothing will happen. Even if they get a whack, they figure out they can take the whack. We unconsciously condition them, implying fear will get things done in life. Learning should be used to distinguish between right or wrong, not fear. You might not have been messed up while growing up does not mean every child reacts the same way to fear. Every child is different, yet the same. They are children.

You gave the example of the coach. What was he supposed to do? yell at a child? He is supposed to teach a skill and train the kids in football. Fear is the easiest way for a teacher to enforce discipline. He might not have the required skill to do so without using fear. Put yourself in the coach’s shoes. He might not have a decent income for the last six months and will not push back on your kid’s behaviour. All parents or kids do not react the same way of a trainer trying to enforce discipline.

We wonder why society is violent and yet not see the obvious. Education and learning are two different concepts. Kids might be educated but not learn anything. This is the situation today. They might know what secularism is but would not have understood why we need to be secular.

I have a six-year-old daughter. It is tough to bring up children without fear and yet teach them the right thing. But that is the challenge. To teach a kid without using fear. It is easy for the privileged to talk about bringing up kids in an alternate way. But if the privileged cannot do it, who else will?

I would suggest you read about J Krishnamurthy’s thoughts on education. Krishnamurthy’s schools in India and the world follow a path of teaching kids without fear. Children might not score 99.99 in JEE, but will grow up to be a decent human being with enough skills to earn a good living.

Here is the video about J Krishnamurthy’s thoughts on education (Manisha, you will definitely like this).

Swaroop Reddy

***

Hey NL Team,

I promise that I'll stop writing almost very week! Just wanted to ask you again about potentially covering clinical Covid-19 content and if this is feasible.

Thank you so much for spending a lot of time on the then and now of the education system last week. I greatly appreciate it! I have been binging Newsance over the past couple of days. And I've said it before and I'll say it again: Manisha is fantastic!

Which brings me to contributions: In addition to my regular account, I would be open to supporting one or two additional subscribers. If you have received any requests from students or people who are currently out of employment and want to continue to support you but are finding it difficult, please let me know and I would be happy to sponsor their subscriptions. If such a scheme exists!

Lots of love like always

Shankar Chandrashekar

***

Hi Abhinandan Sir,

I am Akshat Bhushan, a second-year law student from Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.

As the AIIMS report regarding Sushant's death has now come out, it has put to rest all the unfounded speculations regarding any kind of foul play. But at this point, we should spare a thought for Sushant. He was an actor who appeared in nine theatrically released films out of which six were super hits, two others though not box office successes were highly critically acclaimed. His last theatrical release, Chhichhore, was also a huge box office success. But the media in its initial phase of coverage tried to paint a picture of him being a failed actor who was out of work. The media as well as the public should have celebrated him as an actor who made his way up through the ranks and contributed a great deal to Indian cinema through his offbeat yet successful movie choices.

However, the noise made by the supposed fans have reduced his legacy to drugs, black magic, etc. What most people have not realised is that in this whole episode, the so called "SSR warriors" have caused the most harm to SSR’s legacy.

Also, what is particularly disturbing is the way the Supreme Court was swayed by this propaganda machinery called TV news. The Supreme Court granted the power of investigation to the CBI using Article 142. Article 142 grants wide-ranging powers to Supreme COurt to pass any order in the interest of justice. These are wide-ranging powers which if over-used could lead to judicial overreach.

It is for this reason that the Supreme Court has used this in very rare cases of larger public interest like the Union Carbide case, Ayodhya title dispute case, and even for extending the tenure of the Special CBI Judge SK Yadav in the Babri demolition case. Application of Article 142 in the case of an actor's death, wherein there was no evidence of foul play whatsoever, could set a dangerous precedent for future instances of judicial overreach. What is even more appalling is that this is the first time that such an order under Article 142 has been passed by a single-judge bench.

It is shocking that no mainstream TV media channel has focused adequately on the abovementioned facets around this case.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Newslaundry for their brilliant coverage of the media (a special shout out to Atul Sir and Manisha Ma'am) as well as reports such as the ones on Delhi riots and Hathras rape case.

Regards,

Akshat Bhushan

***

New subscriber. I forgot about the word limit rejection criterion😵. Anyway, just cut the email by 3/4th. Won't be commenting on the previous episode cuz it's unfair to subscribers who listened to your disclaimer of not sending letters.

1. No discussion on the same-sex marriage petition (that's fine) that I find extremely problematic. Unlike the Special Marriage Act petition in the Kerala High Court, the Supreme Court case only challenges the Hindu Marriage Act and the petitioners have well-known links to the "right-wing". I have increasingly noticed pink-washing by "right-wing" groups of the LGBTQIAP+ community with some allegedly queer accounts proclaiming "sanathan dharma's" acceptance of the community. (The solicitor general's comments about it not being part of our "culture" made me wanna @ them.) I pray that these are either fake or bots. That someone who's been oppressed (separate fact that our spaces are dominated by Hindu, upper-caste, cisgender, gay men) can go on to oppress others is disgusting.

Besides, opinions in the community state that "same sex marriage" is a gender-erasing term, and marriage is a caste-perpetuating patriarchal institution shouldn't be the point of focus. Anti-discrimination, conversion therapy, trans rights laws, etc should be the focus. Marriage does have practical uses and supplies recognition to couples though.

2. I would prefer if NL subscribers from the lowered castes comment on issues pertaining to caste instead of me offering my "opinions". Twitter has been far more effective at setting perspectives than Instagram stories though.

3. Can you ask Mehraj about any parallels between the Kurdish separatist movement and the Kashmiri separatist movement?

Love Newslaundry and all its team members equally. Daily Dose has been a lifesaver. Overall, you have made me less indecisive, but also more critical, with regards to my opinions, and have bolstered my confidence towards ideas I believe in. As an aspiring (?) journo (?), I get sad thinking about the shattered financial and moral economy of journalism. NL gives me some hope.

My apologies, gratitude, and love,

Vignesh

***

Hello NL Team!

I'd like to stay anonymous if you read out my mail.

I've been following Newslaundry for a few years now. Thanks for all the wondering work that you do.

I know you asked not to write in this week, but I didn't want to let this slide. I'm a fan of the entire regular Hafta panel and love what each of you brings to the podcast. Jayashree is a lovely addition and it's nice to see more female voices. Kiruba was a refreshing voice in Hafta 297 and I would like to see more of her on future Hafta episodes. I enjoyed her insightful perspectives on law and order and the judiciary, as well as the underlying impacts of gender and caste on regular issues.

For all the teacher-bashing on previous Hafta episodes, I want to say that I may have been lucky, but most of my teachers were wonderful and kind and I fondly look back to my school days. So, shout-out to all the wonderful teachers out there!

I'd just like to add that I just realised that my subscription has expired at the end of August and I had been notified just once over email. It would be useful if you could notify more than once over email, or indicate in a more obvious manner on the mobile site when a subscription has ended. I primarily access the Newslaundry website over mobile. Please consider this for the redesigned website, if you have not already done so. It might help with subscription renewals.

Additionally, I just remembered Manisha's request to mention my background while writing in emails. I've studied engineering and management and now work on the technical side of things in financial services.

Lastly, for the past month, I've had a hectic work schedule, accompanied with studies, which does not leave me with much time to follow news. I love listening to the Hafta on weekends as a way of catching up with the week's news. Thanks again! Stay safe!

***

Hi Newslaunders,

I am Aman Nurani from Waterloo, Canada. I am pursuing a Bachelors in Mathematics Honours from the University of Waterloo. I have recently received a gift student subscription and I am really grateful to Mr Raj Redji Gill, the person who powered my subscription. I promise to pay to keep news free as soon as I come on a stable income.

Firstly, I really love your work. Manisha Ma’am, your TV Newsance is the best. Atul Sir’s NL Tippani is also awesome the way he portrays his criticism through Dritrashtr Smvad (IDK whether I spelt it right or not) is just amazing and so creative and obviously Abhinandan Sir, I really appreciate the work you have been doing. BTW Sir can you please do that karaare channe lalo karrare — you say that so perfectly….

But on a serious note, I really want to raise this topic. While I was watching Akash Banerjee’s Desh Bakht episodes, once he talked about Mr Manmohan Singh and I really wanted your views on that. Like today I regret, and many of us will, the way we all joked about him and condemned him. After all, news had some freedom of expression then but now even to speak against the government is a crime.

Once, Akash said in his episode that democracy is something where you can joke about your leaders which we were able to in his era. Not sure about today’s. Double-digit growth was a thing in his era (considering all the corruption done by the Congress, but he still managed to show that India will be a superpower) and today, double-digit decline is a thing. And what is Godi media (or Modi’s media) doing? KARRARE CHANNE LELO KARRE.

Like today, I really fell the difference between presentation and substance. Just to give a time stamp: I was just 12 years old then in 2014 and still, due to the marketing by Mr Modi, even I use to say bad about Mr Manmohan at that age. Can you please share your views on Mr Manmohan’s governance? BTW I really feel the Gujarat model was a thing because I came from Gujarat and the way the business opportunity flourished in Gujarat in Modi era was amazing, like building roads, arranging Vibrant Gujarat submits, making Gujarat an automobile hub. All were dreams come true for Gujarat but sadly, when he came to the Centre, everything changed.

Word count: 400 (wanted to write about Hathras too and your reporting on that but maybe later, restricted by word limit). (BTW can you guys arrange more shows, like TV Newsance, with Akash Sir???)

Thanks (hope you guys do read it in NL Hafta),

Aman Nurani

Second email:

Sorry, I didn’t completely watch the new Hafta and I have just completed it and I found that you have asked us not to email this week but I already did. I am sorry but please do consider it in next to next Hafta.

***

Hi team,

I have been thinking for a while to write my first mail to you but today something happened which made me write it finally.

So I was reading this book by Vivek Kaul. It's name is Bad Money: Inside the NPA Mess and How It Threatens the Indian Banking System. I was surprised to read the names of Manisha and Atul Chaurasiaji in the acknowledgements section. It came to me as a pleasant surprise to see the names of two of my favourite people as I have seen them more discussing about politics than economics. Not that they can't, it's just that politics creates much more noise. It's always nice to see your favourite people's names in a book you are reading. So yeah, that's all I had to say.

Abhinandan, you are awesome. Meghnad's explainers are a big relief whenever the government introduces new bills or any controversy starts. I wanted to ask when Madhu Ma'am is coming back to the podcast.

Lots of love to the whole team.

***

Hi NL Hafta team (mandatory "I love what you are doing and cannot thank you enough for existing", etc),

I know this might seem like a misplaced rant but one of these days, do try and have a discussion on the child adoption process in India.

It breaks those people emotionally who our agencies claim to help. It denies good life to abandoned kids.

It is just wrong on so many levels. As a harassed potential parent who has to suspend the adoption process (after three long years of staying apart from his life partner) because of an imaginary rule, it pains me to be a citizen of India. I can elaborate if ever needed.

God bless you guys

Love.

***

Hi Abhinandan,

Big fan of the entire NL team and the work you are doing. To respect the word limit, I will get to the point.

I would like to hear the panel’s opinion on whether the likes of Republic and Times Now can ever be held accountable? By accountable, I mean accountable by the news media fraternity and not the law.

This is a general problem in India’s institutions including the media. Sudhir Chaudhary won the Ramnath Goenka award one year after he was arrested for extortion. Salman Khan is still celebrated as a star despite his “driver” running over people. A certain political leader holds a very important cabinet portfolio despite having spent time in prison for fake encounters. While in the west, we see Kevin Spacey completely ostracised by his own fraternity after his misdeeds were exposed. Can we expect or at least aspire to see Arnab, Navika and RSS ostracised?

Again, keep doing the great work you guys are doing!

PS: Please get Madhu back for a few Haftas at least.

Best,

Mohit Hardikar

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