Hafta letters: Taliban takeover, keeping answers crisp, podcast player issues

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Hi NL team,

In light of the Taliban recently taking control of Afghanistan, I was reading up a lot on the country and its history. A friend of mine suggested an article written by anthropologists Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale who worked with Afghan villagers and nomads in the 1970s. It's a fascinating piece which sheds a light on the realities in the country, hypocrisies of the US government, especially using the narrative of Afghan women needing saving to continue their war and air strikes and shedding stereotypes about the Taliban. In the end it's the Afghan people who have and will continue to suffer. I have attached the link to the article.

Keep up the good work.




Regarding Hafta 342 :

1) I totally concur with Abhinandan's summary regarding the equivalence between the RSS and the Taliban (although I was shocked and laughed for two minutes when Raman sir said RSS follows rules). The footage of 1992 played in my mind. But sir ki awaaz muahhh. Mazaa aa gaya sir, next kon gaayega?

2) I don't understand why Anand defends the BJP? Last Hafta, he commented on Arun Shourie's remark on entire council, not read two books was made in reference to 2014 CoM. But Anand conveniently took the name of S Jaishankar (who became minister in '19) to prove his point . Although Puri (who is a diplomat and also minister in 2014 might have read books but his actions and behavior speaks for itself).

3) On why does AAP toe the soft Hindutva line, it can be explained by the political science concept of "overton window".

I wish to remain anonymous.

If possible, can you share Anand's email ID? I wanted to ask him something regarding IAS exams.

Give Manisha a mental health allowance (Like HRA, DA) for the great service she's doing at the cost of sanity.

More power to you, Newslaundry, and please ask Madhu to join Hafta.


Good work, Hafta team.

I enjoy all your podcasts and wait for it during the weekend.

However, I do I have recommendation to Anand Vardhan. As it is a professional podcast and long form, it would be good to keep the answers crisp and precise. I know Anand has a lot to say. But sometimes I forget the question actually asked as the explanation goes draggy and looonnngg and eventually others rush up with their opinions. Please cut sections of each panelist and listen back to back to understand how you might lose listeners' attention. You don’t have to make it TV news dramatic and attention grabbing but shouldn’t lose them either.

Kriti Shah also spoke in detail but I did not lose the chain of thought there. Giving live feedback as I am listening this time. Keep up the good work and thanks again.

Sowmya Hiremath


I think you missed the money distribution aspect that happened for 20 years in your last Hafta. As the Intercept reported, "Afghanistan War Has Been Hugely Profitable - $10,000 invested in defense stocks when Afghanistan war began now worth almost $100,000".

Also, thanks for putting Hafta behind the paywall. Even with the sub, I used to think it’s too long and free to be good, and now I wait for it every week. :)



Dear NL team,

I have been a subscriber from November 2020 and this is my second email to you regarding this issue. I like your work and hence decided to subscribe. I mostly listen to your podcasts while driving. I am sure there is a huge population out there who are like me, who find time for content consumption while they commute to work. Your podcast player is annoyingly bad. It stops multiple times in between, doesn't restart on its own, doesn't start playing from where I stopped (not even a single time!). I would love to pay to keep news free, but not if I can't access it. You should please do something about your podcast player or please give access to any ordinary paying subscriber (not only to game changers) to use the link in any other podcast player. Not addressing this issue is unacceptable. Until you do something about this, I am stopping my subscription (with a heavy heart, though). Please announce in any of your free podcasts when you have a solution to this. I will be delighted to be a subscriber again.




Hi NL team,

My question is to Mehraj and Anand (because of the depth in their analysis each time). What are the news sources that they consume regularly to stay abreast? What are the periodicals/newspapers/sites that they can't do without?

As for Nikku, I love his stories from the '90s the most; where he used to be the only reporter (only for a brief while though, I have come to know) with a camera in tow.

Satisfied subscriber,



Hello everyone,

I have been a follower of Hafta for about an year and everybody on the panel has such insightful and wise thoughts (yes, you too, Abhinandan sir, you get a lot less credit than you deserve) that it makes me want to become a fuller and kinder human being.

In this day and age, when things are pretty bleak and foggy, you guys are a lighthouse for helping me reach for the light. Thank you for existing and keep it up! You are helping in more ways than you realise...



Why don't any of your panelists consider N Chandrababu Naidu as PM contender?



Wishing u a very HAPPY 🤩🤩🤩belated BIRTHDAY 🥳🥳🥳 dear Abhinandan🥰🥰🥰. By renewing my subscription I gifted 🎁 u and myself* this wonderful present 💝. *I am also August born 🙌🙌🙌….. I love you 💕 my NL team. Manisha💃, Mehraj👨🏻‍🎓, Raman sir👨🏻‍✈️, Anand sir🧑🏻‍💻, Atul sir🕺, Jayashree🦁, Meghnad🦋, Rajyasree🥃, Nidhi🎤, Prateek🏋🏻Jude🦈 (your wonderful producer, who could have been Rajyasree’s son😛😛😛) and of course each and every member I have missed to mention. Kudos 🤗🤗🤗to you all and much love ❤️ ❤️❤️❤️

Achla Vatsa


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