Hafta letters: Ill-informed vaccine opinions, news and mental health, government land

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Ill-informed vaccine opinions, news and mental health, government land
  • whatsapp
  • copy

Dear all,

This is in response to Mehraj's comment on how the US's establishment is always liberal irrespective of the Republican or Democrat parties.

I want to share this article with all of you and I want to know what you all think about this.

Here's the link.

I feel being a liberal has become a convenient stand point for the privileged in the country and often we fail to be critical.


Meghashyam V


Dear NL team,

This is Vasudha. I'm a recent subscriber, and like your work a lot.

In Hafta 314, Vivek Kaul talked about how the government has a lot of unused land lying in prime locations, and how the government selling this land is great. There was also a brief discussion on affordable housing. I wanted to draw your and your listeners’ attention to what is happening in the name of selling government land.

In Delhi, the DDA was supposed to build houses for those who come to the city. As per the Master Plan 2001, DDA was supposed to build 16 lakh houses, but built 5.6 lakh. For MPD 2021, DDA was supposed to build 24 lakh houses. Due to this, people are forced to live in slums. People usually blame slums for encroaching, but an interesting figure is the total area under unauthorised parking is double the area of all slums in Delhi. Ninety nine percent of these slums are on governmental land. And to sell governmental land, these slums will be evicted.

As an example, the railways is one of the largest landowning agencies through India, and it is also trying to sell off land. About 50,000 families, or about 2.5 lakh people, live on railway land in Delhi in slums officially. The actual figure will probably be much larger. In August last year, the Supreme Court gave an order to evict all these families, in a case regarding air pollution, and some evictions also began in the middle of the pandemic in some places. There are other encroachments on railway land, however, this is the land that is being cleared first.

Sharing a report:





Dear Abhinandan,

I am at the end of my abilities to explain to my friends and family (WhatsApp groups, obviously) that organising a protest requires planning and documentation.

What Greta accidentally shared is typically how protest organisers have to work, to make sure more voices are raised in tandem. But everyone seems to be convinced that the document Greta shared is "proof" of a global conspiracy against our great nation.

Can you please discuss that document on Hafta? (Although the original document is deleted, you can find it on some archives.)

Also, if it's possible, can you share on Twitter similar documentation/references from the IAC movement? Because that would mean the Congress's loss and the BJP's victory in 2014 was also a great conspiracy to destabilise and destroy INDIA.


Swapnil Luktuke


Dear Hafta team,

Writing my first mail after subscribing in May last year.

I turned 24 this year and have been following politics and news actively for at least a whole decade now. As a person with an anti-establishment bent, I was very vocal about the poor governance and Lokpal-Anna protests during UPA II. The people's blind devotion from 2014 onward has honestly been unnerving for me. But for some time now, the seeds of divisiveness have grown immensely in our society.

As a Punjabi, I have grown up hearing horror stories of hate and division from parents and relatives of the 1970s-80s. Although on this farm issue, I have seen unity from people of Punjab at large, notwithstanding caste, class or religion. But the larger national propaganda of divisive politics and religious profiling brings those unlived horrors back to many of us blissfully born in the 1990s after the Punjab terrorism. This week has been particularly taxing for me mentally. For the first time in my life, I am actively considering taking a full sanyas from following politics which I never did even during my 10th and 12th boards, entrance exams, and Degree.

My two questions are:

(1) What percent of normal and VIP people do you think genuinely believe in all the right-wing propaganda? For example, #ArnabGate shows that even he consciously knew some things were baloney but chose to profess otherwise? But I also feel that many people (some very well-educated people I personally know are bhakts) like Sardana genuinely believe in right-wing ideology?

(2) As I said, I feel fatigued and emotionally/mentally exhausted now. I know it's your job but how do all of you genuinely cope with all this gaslighting and fake news to strive towards the truth, day in and day out? What do you feel about young adults and children who have only grown up in this era of hate and divisiveness? What would it mean for them to see all the media and public and famous stars supporting the government? Maybe anyone on the panel could bring up similar knowledge and experiences from the Emergency era?

PS: Please read out my first mail :P If it's getting too long for the podcast variant, you could edit out the highlighted text.

Thanking you,

Please keep up the good work.


Hello Newslaundry team,

I am a relatively new subscriber. I have two concerns which I am raising in this mail.

Podcast is a medium consumed by a vast majority of people while engaging in other activities, like jogging, cooking, driving, etc. I discovered NL through podcasts.

Now, your podcast player has too many issues which makes it impossible for me to access while I drive. And when I raised the issue and asked for help, your team came up with some temporary solution which doesn't work.

I am paying for my subscription. While I am a subscriber supporting you, I am also a customer consuming your content. A very unhappy customer who is not able to consume the content which I have paid for.

On top of that, you are discriminating subscribers into "premium" subscribers and "ordinary" based on paying capacity. This is purely ridiculous. I will get to listen to what I have paid for only if I pay more to make it play from a decent podcast player which supports a basic function like playing it in a car. Either you come up with a solution like an app or please don't put it behind the paywall until you come up with it. I will happily keep paying my subscription while accessing the content through my very decent podcast player.

Secondly, this is about the comments made during the last two Haftas against the Covid vaccination. I am a doctor who has received my first shot of vaccine which is Covishield. Even if it was Covaxin, I would take my shot. I am a lactating mother who is also a frontline worker and so, I decided to take the shot. Please note there is absolutely no data available for its safety in pregnancy and lactations. The guidelines are to leave it to the informed decision of the healthcare worker in this situation and not to deny a vaccination to a healthcare worker just because she is pregnant or lactating.

So, I have decided to take it as we are in an emergency situation. I want the panel to understand that emergency use of vaccination means releasing a vaccine for use when no other safer alternatives are available in emergency situations like a pandemic. (Please refer to the FDA's website for more information on what it means. I hope you understand what a Phase 3 trial means.) These are extremely untoward situations. In such situations, we should have actually accelerated the trials by giving vaccination to test and control population and exposed them to Covid.

Please note: this is not my personal opinion. This is the opinion of many experts in the healthcare system with more relevant expertise whom I closely follow. There are a good number volunteers who are ready for such trials. Setting that apart, we have not really done any of those worldwide. But at least when a vaccine has gone through Phase 3 trial and is made available, why are you hesitant to take it?

Abhinandan had no hesitation to display his Covid complacency on air way back before he himself got Covid (you were ranting about playing football, if you don't remember). Dear Hafta panelists, your ill-informed personal opinions about vaccine is not what you should be saying out loud twice in an esteemed platform like Hafta. You are heard by millions. You are just adding fuel to the already existing vaccine hesitancy. Please be responsible. In a pandemic situation like this, which has shaken lives, the vaccine is the best way forward to tackle this. Because whether you accept it or not, humans are extremely complacent creatures. We are not going to curb the pandemic by people following Covid protocols. The second wave could happen any time. I hope all of you take the vaccine when your turn comes.

I am extremely sorry about the vaccine hesitancy which was created by the speedy and shady approval of Covaxin. They could have just waited for a couple of months to approve Covaxin. All of us were just waiting for the vaccine and now when the vaccine has arrived, the turnout is pathetic. All I can lament about is that it was unfortunate. And I would take it even if it is Covaxin as I am in the middle of a pandemic and this is one of the emergencies. We are not talking about a cervical cancer vaccine here.

I know this mail is well past your word limit. But I hope you read it on air. And please skip my name due to the nature of the personal information involved.


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