Hafta letters: Defining terrorism, journalists and sources, immigrants and assimilation

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Defining terrorism, journalists and sources, immigrants and assimilation
  • whatsapp
  • copy

Hi all,

This is regarding NL Hafta 300. After listening to Abhinandan’s views on Mohammad Ahmed SB, I remembered a saying by a wise man: “I don’t have a problem with secularism. Religions can accommodate secularism/atheism. But, secularism/atheism cannot accommodate any other religion.”

How is it freedom of thought when you disregard someone just because that person has a different view on homosexuality than you do? It is possible that you could be wrong as well. As long as people do not openly stop others from indulging in homosexuality and do not do any violence against homosexual people, they should not be condemned. They have a right to their opinion too. You have the right to see homosexuality as good, but at the same time, other people should have the right to feel that homosexuality is a sin. Again, they should not do any violence against the homosexual community.

Coming to your concern regarding marriage because there are more number of males compared to females: Homosexuality is not a solution. Let me offer you a case study. Imagine there are only 15 people (10 men and five women) in this world. The men to women ratio would be 2:1. Now, consider four persons in each group becoming homosexual. Then the ratio becomes 6:1.

We should look at rational solutions. We know that more girls are born when compared to boys. Also, life expectancy of women is higher than of men (ie women live longer than men). Ideally, there should be more women in this world compared to men. But it’s not happening due to various reasons. To overcome the problem of getting a woman for marriage, there are two practical solutions.

1. Saving girl children

2. Marrying widows

When the killing of girls stops and the stigma around marrying a widow goes away, you will get a society with more women than men. Then, you will be able to get women to marry. Everyone, including widows, deserves pleasure. You can marry a widow for her pleasure, a woman of your age, for companionship, and a 21-year-old for your pleasure. Obviously with the permission of the women. If you do not get consent, then stay with only one or stay alone.

I’m sorry if I offended someone, but freedom of thought is important to everyone whether you are a religious person or not.


Ziauddin Zohaib


Greetings NL Team,

My name is Rajat Talwani. I am a 24-year-old MBBS intern based in Indore. I am a subscriber for two months now. The guilt trips following Abhinandan Sir's relentless "Muftkhoro ,free main itnaich milega" at the end of every YouTube NL interview finally made me subscribe.

About last week's Hafta , while I agree with Jayashree and Manisha Ma'am's argument about France's double standards in handling white extremism and the power imbalance between Muslim and non-Muslim populations, I think Abhinandan Sir is right in saying that in the polarised world we have today, people are quick to take offense at almost anything, but that is mostly a result of the political conditioning by the political parties fanning religious/societal tensions for political gains. But in the case of Islam, the outrage is because of religious conditioning. There is a written law against blasphemy and a punishment for it, unlike most other religions.

This reminds me of Dr Ambedkar's argument about social reform preceding political reform mentioned in the Annihilation of Caste. He said that progressive Hindus desired change in the political image of the religion but were averse to the idea of a complete reform in the religious structure itself vis-à-vis the Gandhian way of handling the caste inequalities while Ambedkar argued that a concrete and long-lasting reform needs to come from the complete abolishment of the caste system itself. This is exactly the type of reform Islam needs today when it comes to blasphemy laws. Calling for that reform and speaking against the blasphemy laws cannot be Islamophobia, as Abhinandan Sir rightly pointed out.

I also wanted to point to an interesting audio long read published a while back by the Guardian titled "Confessions of a killer cop". It brilliantly explores the vicious cycle of hatred in the game of insurgency and counter-insurgency though the story of Herojit, a police commando based in Manipur.

Speaking of long reads, I also suggest that audio long reads as an idea is something Newslaundry should explore as well. Presenting your best editorials in audio format would definitely boost their reach and, needless to say, help people form informed opinions as well.

Thanks you and my best wishes for the entire NL team

Rajat Talwani


Hi NL,

I am a subscriber. I have been spending the last few weeks in my lovely home state of Himachal. Totally loving it. Visited many obscure places. I am also into paragliding and the weather has been great for the last so many weeks. Silver lining to my Covid cloud. Jana’at naseeb.

For English news in Himachal, I rely on the Tribune website. I would like the panel to discuss these news items.

The serious one (refer to other stories from them for more):


The joke (don’t even know what to say):


Thanks and keep up the good work.

Rajat Kondal

PS: I have been gifting Caravan physical mag subscriptions to family as they are not very tech friendly. Would loved to have given NL.

Local news ecosystem is very poor in HP. Sab paper bikey hue lagte hain.


Hello again. I just want to report that your website does not seem to work on Safari on Mac in the UK (17:30, November 5). Also a few random tuppence worth of thoughts.

First of all, I want to send my respect to the 12-year-old kid who reported the story about his teachers asking them to write letters praising the govt actions. What a nation we are creating! I hope there are more kids like him/her in our schools but I doubt it.

Couple of weeks ago, you guys discussed about reporters not revealing their sources. If reporters do not reveal their sources, does it not give them freehand to make up stories? If a journalist reports a story that turns out to be a lie, should he not be held accountable? If he/she is not willing to reveal his source, then he should be punished for blindly trusting “the source”. In my opinion, we should assume he has made up the story. That seems straightforward to me. What am I missing?

Newsance used to be part of my Saturday morning routine but I am sorry to say it is far too frustrating to watch it now. I used to laugh earlier but now, by the end of the show, I am just angry. On that note, you have often implied that the likes of NDTV, Wire and Quint are biased in their reporting too but it is subtle. I am paraphrasing but feel free to correct me if I have misunderstood. I struggle to see their bias, possibly because of my own biases. Do you think you guys could do some kind of show exposing their biases? I would love to see that. (Hopefully I will not be tearing my hair out by the end of those.)


Kapil Sharma


I’d like anonymity.

I lack the comprehension skills of NL’s other subscribers which might be why I found the discussion around what constitutes terrorism convoluted.

According to me — and pardon me if I’m repeating what was said, and also for discounting nuance — anything done with the intention of disseminating fear (terror) in a community is terrorism. It could be an individual, an organisation, or even an abstract idea.

The violence that accompanies hurt egos, with (mostly) men assaulting women for simply saying "no" does result in a message that a woman’s opinion is inconsequential. It might not be organised, but even this institutionalised mentality creates fear. Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder how women walk the streets with the confidence that they do.

Bajrang-Dal’s(🤮🤮🤮) attacks on couples in Mangalore and pubs still cast a shadow and cast apprehensions over (even tho Abhinandan despises love🙄) loving and doing whatever the hell one wants.

Various instances of violence against the LGBTQIAP+ community, like the Orlando nightclub shootings and the recent murder of trans rights activist and entrepreneur Sangeetha in Coimbatore, all contribute to the diffusion of terror within the community psyche; pushing us deeper into the shells we occupy.

The same applies to caste and religious based violence: messaging that attempts to birth far-reaching fear by threatening consequences.

I would go as far as claim that society as a whole is a terrorist organisation. The constant unsavoury reactions to much-needed changes to the status quo using the (mostly) conservative religious and culturally rooted machinery of social control is also basically the use of fear (terror) to ensure the privileged the perpetuation of their supremacy.

Apologies for poor articulation,

Gratitude for all your work,

And love,



Hi Abhinandan and Hafta team,

Excellent work on E301 of Hafta as usual. I found the discussion on equating politicians across generations particularly fascinating. While I agree with you, Abhinandan, that Vajpayee took the onus of trying to improve India-Pak relationships, I think Mehraj makes an interesting point about personality laundering. You see, in every generation of politicians, there’s someone who legitimises an otherwise regressive thought process. So while we look at Advani and Vajpayee as “moderates” today, you need to understand that their actions and words legitimised the bigotry we see from Modi and Shah today. Modi and Shah in turn may be called the “vikas boys” in the future, when you compare them to the people they have legitimised: the Yogis and the Suryas of today.

The problem with giving certain people a free pass is that they pass the baton to other people who ride on their free passes and do far worse. What do you think?

This apart, I have one little observation to share with other NL podcast listeners: Have you noticed how Abhinandan just says “Right!” when he wants to move the discussion along? He may not think it’s “right” — he just wants to keep going. It’s a bit like how Atul says “Thik baat hai” in Charcha. The “baat” may not be “thik”, but the conversation must keep flowing. 😜

Happy Diwali to you all.

Sumeet Moghe

PS: A previous email to you seems to have gotten lost in transmission. No worries, even if you’ve read it without reading it aloud — that’s ok by me.


Hi NL team,

Liked the spirited discussion between Manisha, Abhinandan and Mehraj on incidents in Europe. Manisha mentioned France not having assimilated Arabs into society. As an immigrant myself, I am curious as to what exactly she means like that.

I live in the US and have travelled a bit in Europe as well, and my experience is that most of these white-majority developed countries are roughly the same, as far as individual liberty is concerned. There are some differences between white countries but as we say: unnis-bees ka farak hain, lekin farak hai I agree. With the state and the rest of society, the interactions are mostly transactional and they go fairly smoothly. In workplace and neighbourhood also, the friendliness varies between societies but it's not hostile either. Indians, mostly Hindus and Sikhs, are held up as a model minority in the US and even praised for having assimilated. I find that an exaggeration. Indians just live the way they want to and enjoy the positives of the US, and their values don't really clash with the West, even though they are so vastly different.

In that sense, I feel assimilation is overrated, and it never truly happens. You just figure out how to tolerate or ignore the inconvenient differences, not really savour or celebrate those differences, which aren't really clashes per se. Her second point about the clash of civilisations I agree with and that somewhat negates the possibility of assimilation: agar itni dikkat hai doosre se to shaanti se rahenge bhi kaise? What should the state and individuals from the dominant community do, specifically, to help the process of assimilation? Are there countries where such assimilation of Muslims is successful? If so, what steps were taken by those countries?

Prakash Iyer



Mehraj was right when he said that the victims of America really don't care for any optics.

Besides, Kamala Harris is VP only because Dems wanted to project themselves as feminists; btw they had entirely dismissed the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. Liberal hypocrisy at its best. There is definitely difference between Democrats and Republicans, let me spell it out: fascism-lite vs fascism 🤭. It worries me that progressives look at the election results in the US as if racism and misogyny have been solved for good.

Joey Kaushik

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