Hafta letters: Jaggi Vasudev series, Tarun Tejpal case, caste analyses

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Dear NL Team,

I want to bring to your attention the so-called supermodel that has been developed by experts from prestigious IITs. To the best of my knowledge the researchers involved in the development of this model are advising the PMO (I could be wrong). And this model has been torn apart by Dr Mukund Thattai, NCBS, Bangalore. I am adding the link to Dr Thattai's Twitter profile, a must read for all of you. Also, a reminder: Niti Aayog had claimed in 2020 that coronavirus cases would drop to zero by June or July 2020, using the some model, I suspect. When we have experts like this advising PMO, it’s no wonder that they gloated about India defeating coronavirus.

Best wishes,



I wonder how Abhinandan puts up with NL's in-house Tavleen Singh – Anand.

As Abhinadan said in a past Hafta, Tavleen speaks to her driver and maid and writes books and opinion pieces based on that.

Similarly, Mr Vardhan sees everything through his own privileged lens. I remember him saying caste discussion "oubiya diya hai", which I think means he's bored of it.

Mr Vardhan takes forever to make his point and consumes precious time. He is a rural, more boring and tiresome version of Tavleen Singh.

Hoping that my mail is read and Mr Vardhan takes it in a good spirit.

I will be extending my subscription by another six months.


Subby Subs


Hi NL Team,

Would it be right to say that much like the current regime which does the appeasement of Hindu fundamentalists, the Congress indulged in the appeasement of Muslim fundamentalist instead of saying they did minority appeasement of which we see no sign in the Sachchar report.

I agree with everything that Abhinandan says and it is the reason I have been following NL from Day 1 of its existence.

I just had one point of difference with him: when he was complaining about the quality of debate in the 2020 US presidential election, he was upset that Biden fumbled so much when he spoke.

I believe that when one debates the likes of Trump it's futile to look for logic or quality or civility. Unfortunately, you just have to get in the mud to fight the pig. I feel that Biden will turn out to be a better president than Obama.

I also had a request: can you get Shardool on NL Hafta when he is missing in action on Charcha? He is an absolute gem. TV Newsance was indeed awesome this week and Meghnad's impersonation of Ramdev was top drawer.

Thanks to all you guys for the great work you do.

Best always,

Nitesh Pandey


Dear Team Newslaundry,

I hope this finds you all well. I am writing after listening to this week's Hafta, particularly the discussion on the Indian media's recent discourse on the origins on Covid.

I thought my weekly Eye on China newsletter could offer some useful information for those of you who are interested.

Over the past few weeks, I've covered the reportage in the Indian media on the origin issue and controversies around Chinese emergency supply imports, along with the Chinese media's coverage of the second wave in India and related controversies.

Hope you guys find it useful.

Wish you all the best,

Manoj Kewalramani


Hello guys,

Just wanted to drop an appreciation to the team at Newslaundry for the work you have been doing.

Atul has been doing an awesome job with Tippani, this week’s episode was the best one yet.

Manisha, as always, doing proper dhulai on Newsance.

Kudos to Prateek for the excellent report on Jaggi and Isha Foundation.

Hope you will talk about Lakshadweep in this Hafta and also how Praful Patel has been effing up every union territory he has been appointed to.

Hope he doesn't get to do the same in Lakshadweep.

Lastly, I would recommend that you watch Nayattu on Netflix.


Abhijith Nair


Hello NL Team,

This is Jaimin Virpura and I live in Waterloo, Canada. I have had a subscription of NL for about seven months now and though I had flirted with the idea of subscription for a while before, I see the appeal. Much love for Manisha and Meghnad. Thank you for Newsance and Clothesline. I have watched almost all the episodes of Newsance even when it wasn't as frequent in the beginning. When Clothesline stopped, I was thinking how you guys would top it with Newsance…but boy, was I wrong!!!

I have a quick question and a suggestion. Question is: could you guys do a report on what happened to people accused in the Me Too movement. I mean we know about the famous ones, but I mainly want to know what happened to Mr Vinod Dua since after that incident came to light it felt like he had disappeared altogether. My suggestion: could you add a feature to the new website to drop the question/comment with a subject and if the character length is predefined, it’ll be easier for the people to write to you guys.

Thank you,

Jaimin Virpura

PS: I accidentally sent a mail to Abhinandan for this.


Hi NL Team,

Kudos to the whole NL team and Prateek Goyal for such a detailed report on Jaggi Vasudev. More power to you guys.

I live in Toronto and my Saturday morning ritual is to watch Manisha’s Newsance and listen to the Hafta podcast while doing weekly jhadu pocha.

After reading Prateek’s report, I wondered about two things:

1) Can we ever be able to bring down people like Jaggi? They have super influential people sitting on their boards, they have made conscious and clear mockery of law, governing authorities and officials. Will he ever pay in front of law and how?

2) I feel, as an Indian, that we are hypocrites. We keep on chillaying on desh bhakti and all but on an individual level our actions suggest the opposite. If a single authority or an official or a court had done their job, just the way they are supposed to, Jaggi would not have been able to erect so many illegal structures in his ashram.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

Machate Raho,

Varun Jaglan


Hi Team NL

I'm a recent subscriber, from as late as 2019. Close on the heels of the Tejpal verdict has emerged an open letter by Nirupama Sekhri that takes a very cruel, needlessly personal victim-blaming attack route to the survivor in the Tejpal case. To have a piece like this up on your site, unacknowledged in the light of recent events is disgusting to say the least. I am sure the way you think as a team has evolved over the years and acknowledging the tone-deafness of the piece is the least you could do.

This is the Print level of cheap both sideism.

Cancelling my subscription and asking those I know to do the same.


Mohd Salman


Dear NL Team,

I have been a subscriber of a few independent media, including Newslaundry, for the past few years in the hope that independent journalism will focus public discourse on real issues facing this country and exert pressure on the government to address these issues. But I find that the government is becoming increasingly tone deaf to criticisms. Their attitude is, “Say whatever you want, we don’t care, we will do what we want.” Despite all the questions being asked on the Central Vista project, including excellent investigative reports by you, the government has not even chosen to respond. It seems they are confident that the outreach of the media supporting them far exceeds the critical voices. I feel unless the outreach of independent voices like yours exceeds a critical mass in terms of shaping public opinion, the government may choose to ignore them. Do you think such a critical mass can be achieved anytime in the near future?

The coverage of the UP Covid situation by Akanksha Kumar, Basant Kumar, Ayush Tiwari, and Shivangi Saxena was excellent. Thanks to the entire team for their excellent ground reports. Thanks to Prateek Goyal for his investigative report on Jaggi Vasudev.

With best wishes,

Unnikrishnan Gopinathan


Hello Team,

You are doing a great job. In 2019, I committed the biggest sin of my life by voting Tejasvi Surya. I was one of those guys who never followed politics and blindly voted by listening to our Whatsapp University friends.

Big thanks to Manisha's Newsance which attracted me to Newslaundry. Now I am an annual subscriber. Good job guys.

In these difficult times of the pandemic I would like to share my thoughts on how our food habits have affected immunity. Just linking a nice video of Dr Khader Vali. In this he explains what is wrong with the food and how health has become an economic model.

If you find this link useful, request you to do an article on the same.




Hi Team,

I really like Mehraj's insights on the caste system, but I find it ironic when he generalises many things. He said that an upper caste Hindu can kill a Muslim, and blame will lie on the victim. Delhi and UP are not the entire India. South India has just voted in two atheist CMs and Andhra Pradesh has a Christian chief minister.

Mehraj recently quoted the Quran. According to the Quran, Muslims may or may not enter heaven but the people who die as non-Muslims will definitely go to hell no matter what great things they do in life. It says everyone is born Muslim, but their parents convert them and put them on the wrong path and Allah gives many messages or hints to the deviated to come back.

I find this blatantly discriminatory. The punishment just for not believing in Allah and Islam is very big: 99.9 percent of the people who are born in one religion end up dying in that religion for various reasons. This afterlife fascination needs to stop.

If a few verses of any religious book are misleading, why not modify them?

Human evolution’s progress is determined by how well they change, adapt and evolve. Following centuries-old teachings today is stupid. Like software, religion also needs constant updates.


Anil Kumar


Dear Newslaundry Team,

I am a recent subscriber. I was an occasional consumer of Hafta but I decided to subscribe and start supporting NL to appreciate your brilliant young reporters who have done stellar work during the farmer protests and now during the pandemic.

I really enjoyed the recent investigative reporting on Jaggi Vasudev. Great work and hope for more on other spurious gurus. I also would like to pass on my appreciation to Ms Nidhi Suresh. I find her to be exceptionally articulate and brave.

I wish the Hafta podcast is structured along the lines of the "Left, Right and Center" podcast from the US in which a series of topics are covered with opposing views expressed with opportunities for rebuttals. Hafta sometimes tends to meander.

One of the cribs I have about the Hafta podcast is the tendency of some of the participants to lapse into Hindi. For Hindi illiterates like me I wish the panel refrained when possible from Hindi or if it’s not possible at least try and translate the gist of it.

It would be great if NL can investigate the various PR departments of political parties which create and disseminate propaganda through social media.

Venu Parthiban


Hey Abhinandan, Dev here.

Full disclosure: I am inclined towards classical Indian RW views (anti-Modi though).

I have recently subscribed to Newslaundry after following NL Hafta since episode 102, the days of Fab 5 – Abhinandan, Madhu, Manisha, Deepanjana and Anand, and I do miss those days and I must say Abhinandan is the only one who has retained the vibrancy of debate and honesty of opinion that used to be the USP of Hafta and indeed is the best one on the panel. Manisha used to be my favourite but it feels like lately she restricts her honest views on certain issues to be in accordance with the echo chamber. Raman sir is amazing and the other two of your panelists – Anand Vardhan and Mehraj – are pretty rigid in their views, but certainly analyse things from a different perspective.

But I would specifically like to point out that Mehraj's eye for caste in everything itself smells of convenient upper caste privilege. Mehraj consistently portrays his own viewpoints as the voice of Dalits, which is so not true. I do not see Dalits as antithetical to Hindu viewpoints at all in many cases and this tendency to always pit Dalits against Hindu thoughts finds no major acceptance as far as i have seen in many Dalit communities, and even many of the quotes he attributes to Dr Ambedakar aren’t verified and nobody on the pannel crosschecks.

Also Mehraj's victimhood complex is pretty dark. Besides, he conveniently forgets caste inequality in AMU. Why isn't reservation allowed in AMU & Jamia? Also, I would love to hear the panel's view on how Kashmir has been the best performing state in vaccination despite almost all major states suffering vaccine deficiency. Clearly, the government has been very proactive to save lives in Kashmir.

Thank you, Newslaundry team and keep up the good work. I hope you understand I have added to the conversation with no intention to disrespect anyone.

Dev Mishra


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