Hafta letters: Newslaundry IT survey, state board language discrimination, defence of Islam

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
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Hafta letters: Newslaundry IT survey, state board language discrimination, defence of Islam
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Hi Abhinandan,

I am Anindita Ghoshal. I live in Berhampore Murshidabad. I took the subscription to your channel the next day of the IT "raid". I have been a Deshbhakt member for the past two years. It was great to have Meghnad and Manisha on Deshbhakt Server. I enjoy programs such as Newsance and Tippani.

I followed your election coverage in West Bengal. I like the ground reporting you did.

It’s because of guys like you – Abhinandan, Meghnad, Manisha, Akash and so on ( sorry if I missed someone) – that we get the courage to speak out. Inspired by you guys, I also started to write blogs where I could speak about any issue that bothers me.

Though I am jobless and looking for a job at this time. But the day the survey was conducted at your office, I felt that I should go ahead and support you.

Thank you for what you are doing.

Anindita Ghoshal

***

Hello NL team, first time writer, long time subscriber. I’m writing this to promote/recommend a podcast on Newslaundry called NL playoffs I co-host with a fellow subscriber, Aniketh. This is a sports podcast where we try to cover one or two current sports topics in detail. We want this to be a subscriber-driven podcast and we already had another fellow subscriber join us on our fifth episode along with Anand Vardhan and are planning for more such things.

Yaar.. NPR, ShenPR boht ho gaya, kabhi resident podcasts bhi recommend kiya karo. :)

Much love and more power to NL.

Gowtham

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Hi Team,

As someone who went through the gauntlet of entrance exams, I can assure you that the drop year in Kota was no luxury. My father, like scores of parents, cleared out his life savings to give me a shot at escaping poverty. Standardised tests for engineering and medical are unfair to state board students where high school science is taught in the local language. I graduated 10+2 from an Odisha state board school in a small town. But the medium was English. The rationale is that in most of the world English is the language of science.

Privileged states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, etc oppose NEET because they have more colleges per capita students than, let's say, Odisha, Bihar, and West Bengal. But what they fail to acknowledge is that their most prestigious colleges are funded centrally. If they really cared about their students, they would adopt the global language of science instead of blaming standardised tests. There is no problem in teaching literature and journalism in the local language. However, one needs to do in Rome as Romans do.

These standardised tests have lifted a myriad of poor kids into a strata of society their parents hitherto thought as unattainable. As a true progressive, one should focus on policies that make the exams more equitable as opposed to regionalism in education. For example, (a) have multiple chances of writing the test in a year than just one day; and (b) launch entrance exams awareness campaigns amongst high-schoolers in underserved communities.

Thank you.

Prateek

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Hi NL team! Congrats on the "survey". Your street cred must be shooting up now.

In Hafta 346, there was a letter from Bhavesh. It was related to Mehraj’s defences of Islam. I have similar questions. When I show verses of caste discrimination in the Manusmriti, my Dad – a devout Hindu – retorts by pointing out other Smritis (for example, Naradasmriti) where caste is a fluid concept. To me, this sounds like a chauvinistic defence of the status quo. ‘Contextual interpretation’ does not make the (predominantly Hindu) problem disappear and hinders true reform in the community. Mehraj’s defences of regressive practices unique to Islamic society sound similar.

Moreover, Mehraj mentioned that verses regarding smoke in the Quran refer to the Big Bang. I have seen Hindus show ‘evidence’ of black holes in Vedic verses. I dismiss them as ignorant chauvinists. He sounded similar.

Islamophobia is a pernicious problem across the world, and it has undoubtedly shot up in India post 2014. But do you think there exists a tendency in liberal discourses to overcorrect – condoning unscientific zealotry on one end to condoning fundamentalist strains of thought on the other? I would like to get your views on this and would have loved to hear Mehraj’s views as well.

Thank you and keep up the good work!

Anirudh Srivathsan

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Dear team,

I have a recommendation and a request. Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. is an upcoming book by the late David Graeber (author of Bullshit Jobs, Debt: the First 5000 Years, and The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy) and David Wengrow. It's an ambitious effort to rewrite human history that will challenge our most fundamental views on civilisation, social evolution, social inequalities, the state and so on.

In one of the Hafta episodes, Mehraj had mentioned Graeber as one of his favourite authors. So, I wonder if he could review the book or interview Mr. Wengrow. I'd understand if he's too busy with his new assignment though.

Secondly, I was wondering if you could make the RSS feeds of Hafta available to non- game changer subscribers like me too. I'm willing to pay a few extra quid for that. I like to listen to different podcasts on the same platform and listening to Hafta on another player is inconvenient and annoying.

Nijwm

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First, I would like to thank you for the NL Sena project which you did on the RTC employee strike in Telangana. The article brought humane stories which were ignored by Telugu media because of the Government's hold on the media. Being a son of an RTC employee I saw the trauma my parents went through because of the irresponsible statements made by KCR (K. Chandrashekhar Rao). Although we are well to do and manage without the job, my mom was traumatised, and few others died by suicide because of undue pressure. It's surprising how some Telugu anchors reacted to employee issues.

P.S: I've been a subscriber for over a year now and I continue to support all the NL projects as a gratitude to your work.

Sai Bangaru

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