Hafta letters: Issues with UPSC, inspirations in science, killings in Kashmir

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ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Issues with UPSC, inspirations in science, killings in Kashmir
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Hi NL team,

I have been a subscriber for the last few months. I like your work, especially Hafta and the ground reports. A request, if you can share the RSS feed to Hafta with all levels of subscribers, it will be very easy and convenient for the subscribers, since your podcast player is not up to the mark. Keep up the good work.



Hello NL team.

I must compliment what you guys are doing since the mainstream media has gone bonkers. I am a regular listener of Hafta but I think it would be nice to have more diverse guests especially from the Indian right-wing. We must try to have a conversation no matter how unpalatable the viewpoint turns out to be. In this regard, I would like to recommend Joe Rogan’s podcast where he talks to literally anybody, even fake news masterminds like Alex Jones. I regularly consume long-form podcasts and articles since you can actually understand the person and where he or she or it is coming from.

I have been following US politics for sometime now. What I like about the media is that there are so many critical voices. For instances, Jimmy Dore, Matt Taibbi, Katie Halper, Chris Hedges, Aaron Mate, Max Blumenthal, Krystal Ball, Sagar Enjeti, Abby Martin, Noam Chomsky, Kevin Gozstola, are super critical of people in power though they belong to the progressive ilk of the political spectrum. I immensely respect people who have the gumption to criticize their own publicly. Unfortunately I don’t see that in India (happy to be wrong here!). There are only a handful of journalists who really do data-driven journalism and are confrontational to either the Center or the State governments.



I’ve noticed that the quality of Hafta has been steadily deteriorating and for me Hafta 350 hit a new low. Abhinandan and Manisha need to respect others and let others complete their thoughts and sentences. The interruptions in this Hafta especially made it very difficult to listen to. Also, although good topics were discussed, the panelist did not have much knowledge about any of those and it was a very shallow (interrupted) discussion. These interruptions need to stop.


Sahana Nagappayya


Hey guys, I recently converted from a mufatkhor to a subscriber, although I had been following NL for almost 4-5 years. I’ve been a big fan of Newsance (big kudos to the entire team). I haven't followed TV news for a while now and Newsance used to be funny usually but this week’s Newsance made me really sad. The Arnab's 'rule of gun' segment was plain bigotted, loathsome and a distasteful set of words. While we're making progress with various independent media outlets, a majority of Indians do take these bigots seriously. I'm petrified about the kind of polarized society it’s going to create!

This is why I'd like to reiterate 'pay to keep news free'. Looking forward to a lot more months of subscriptions! Cheers!



Did you see this "news" article on Wion?

It is ridiculous on so many levels!

1. First, I had received the same "news" as a WhatsApp forward several months ago.

2. There is nothing mathematically significant here (I am a mathematician). I highly doubt Ramanujan would have discussed something so silly.

3. Genuine question. Which Hindu calendar system has 30 days in a month?

4. "It is a number that has surprised many mathematicians across the globe," Much LOL! I am a mathematician. I know precisely zero mathematicians who are surprised by this. "This perfectly reflects the dominance of time." Much Wow.

Perhaps you can discuss this on Newsance.

Keep me anonymous please, I am done picking fights with bhakts. But I might be willing to provide a somewhat more detailed explainer if needed.


Hey everyone, just gave the UPSC Prelims exam & was having a discussion with a friend of mine and here are some ideas I confronted,

I would love to have the panel's view on the following;

1. On one hand UPSC wants the candidate to have pre-requisite values like honesty, integrity, transparency and so on, but on the other hand it itself doesn't release its answer key till next year's Prelims & none for Mains.

2. Clearing this exam is like training yourself for a marathon, the only thing that differentiates between those who are in the list and those out of the list (apart from the element of luck) is "consistency". So it's not necessary that the toppers are people of high intellect or have good moral values, but are essentially perseverant beings.

3. The concept of having optional subjects in which they are comparing two incomparable subjects, say maths versus sociology, is like comparing apples with oranges. No matter how modern-scientific the methodology might be, it’s not possible to compare the two.

4. If you want your inner inquisitive, innocent child to live, don't think of having a career in bureaucracy. But diplomacy can be an option worth considering.

5. Bureaucracy is essentially a status quo-ist, elitist institution which thrives on outdated and redundant ideas and ways of doing things.

It would be nice if Anand also enlightens the discussion with his experience in this field.

Niku's & Raman sir's experiences with bureaucrats and diplomats is also what I am looking forward to.

Manisha aapne to leli AajTak ki :)

Love you ALL.


Hi NL team, Love your work. I have two recommendations:

1. All articles and reports have an audio version that can be consumed while driving to work or doing anything else like how we consume Hafta currently.

2. A deep dive report into Kerala, as the partisan narratives have been fascinating. From the right wing shouting about Covid cases, Keralites joining ISIS/Taliban, folks moving to the Middle East as successive governments have failed to create jobs, to the left wing making claims based on human development indexes regarding child mortality rates, literacy and government plans to eradicate absolute poverty, Kerala is God's own country.



About Hafta 350 and science teachers/speakers/inspirers. I can name a few. These are not big names like Sagan, but they can't be ignored.

1. Professor Yashpal. I distinctly remember his solar-eclipse coverage on DD in 1999 (?)

2. Arvind Gupta. (Scientific toys)

3. Dr Jayant Narlikar. Well known in Marathi circles (At least for kids who grew up in the 90s) for his science-fiction novels and popular-science books on astronomy.

4. Dr Abdul Kalam. OK, maybe a different sort of personality, but definitely someone who strove to inspire a scientific temperament.



Heard the latest Hafta on Kashmir. This may be an age old debate and recently even Tavleen Singh pointed this out on Twitter, but what is stopping news houses from calling out the current killings in Kashmir being done by terrorists and not by militants? Usually the media is really easy to jump their guns in calling these kinds of attacks as terror attacks, then why soften the seriousness of the issue by calling it an attack by militants and not by terrorist groups? At least that sets the tone, right? I think NL Hafta mandali should clarify their rationale behind choosing the word militant over terrorist which surely has the perfect negative connotation which is expected in such cases, right?


I wrote in a few weeks ago through the form on the website talking about Abhinandan's obsession with Bill Maher. I'm not sure if that email was missed or if there was an issue with the mail. If it was the former, it'd be great if you could read that email now. If there was an issue with the mail, happy to discuss that with you all as well.

As always - keep up the great work, and we'll continue to spread the word and pay to keep news free.



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Complaining about the media is easy and often justified. But hey, it’s the model that’s flawed.


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