Dear Hafta team,
I have been living outside India for the past 15 years and it was after five years that I traveled to India this Diwali. Delhi and even my small town in Uttar Pradesh have been transformed and unrecognisable since my last visit with the speedy highways and flyovers.
But what shocked me was the amount of Kool-Aid drinking and polarisation that I noticed among my friends, family and general public.
One of them claimed that there are no poor people left in India because after getting wood work done, workers do not care to take the leftover wood chips to burn as they now use cooking gas at home.
Another talked about how Modi demolishing Lutyens for Central Vista will rid us of unknown cabals running the country from there.
While driving around the city, it was enough seeing a Muslim family in another car, for the person next to me to spew out some vitriol.
No matter if the person is highly educated or just a cab driver. I have been in the US and I have observed the rise of the QAnon people but they are largely less educated rural conservative voters. I never came across any officemates or college friends who not but laugh at their idiotic theories. However in India, it seems everyone is speaking and believing QAnon-like theories. It was indeed sad and I kept thinking whether I would have abandoned my objectivity and rationality if I had stayed in India.
BTW also love to know your thoughts on how did pradhan sevak "Modi" in 2014 transform into "Modiji" after 2019?
ANONYMITY kavach ON.
Hey everyone, I gave the UPSC Prelims exam and 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:
On one hand UPSC wants the candidate to have pre-requisite values like honesty, integrity, transparency, but on the other hand it itself doesn't release its answer key till next year's prelims exam and none for Mains.
Clearing this exam is like training yourself for a marathon, the only thing that differentiates those in the list from those out of the list (apart from the element of luck) is "CONSISTENCY”. So it is not necessary that the toppers are people of high intellect or have good moral values but are essentially perseverant beings.
The concept of having an optional subject 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 may be, it's not possible to compare the two.
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.
Bureaucracy is essentially a status-quoist and 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.
Nikku's and Raman sir's experiences with bureaucrats and diplomats is also what I am looking forward to.
Manisha appne to leli Aaj Tak ki :)
Hi NL team,
It was fantastic to have Aakar Patel on Hafta 356. We should have more of him and Vivek Kaul on Hafta.
I was, though, not that pleased with Anand’s return :(. While in the past I’ve liked his perspective, he seems to be making a discussion very theoretical in nature. Some of his views with respect to the farmer agitation just appeared to be a calmer version of the howling that happens on news channels. Please do ask him not to change his views but present a viewpoint which adds a dimension to the discussion which is a hallmark of Hafta.
Raman sir caught that entire facade of the PM apologising because farmers didn’t understand the law and not because the laws were bad. In fact, he didn’t apologise to the farmers but the deshwasis, further trying to create a schism between the farmers and the public.
My question though, is why keep the media in the dark when they’re the primary pravakta of the part? Is it bad planning yaa phir Modi ji ne kiya hai toh soch samajh kar hee kiya hoga?
Another aspect that I think could have also contributed to the resolve of the farmers was the toxic propaganda labelling them as terrorists, anti-nationals and Khalistanis. The village folk, and especially the Sikhs, are a proud people and such hatred against them could have spurred them to fight more valiantly. I think this has made our friends and family to become bakra more quickly than otherwise.
I strongly object to Anand’s attempt to blame the people for falling prey to bitcoins and I wished the panel had done the same.
Hi Team Newslaundry, good evening. A proud and happy subscriber to you guys. You guys do a great job!
I am also an avid viewer of Newsance and Tippani (Atul's intense sarcasm rocks), so much so that I wait for the shows to premier on YouTube.
However, unfortunately, today's (December 4) show for Newsance was disappointing. There were two major issues:
Manisha mispronounced NBDSA as NBSDA numerous times during the episode. It was edited to correct the typo, but this acronym was used (and corrected on screen) so many times that it was just annoying.
Regarding why Sudha Bhardawaj got bail, an incorrect (or incomplete) reason was mentioned. It was mentioned that she got bail because the chargesheet was filed after a 90-day period as per law. However, the complete reason (per LiveLaw) is: "The High Court accepted the petitioners' argument that the additional sessions court, Pune, which took cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the NIA and also extended the period of detention of accused beyond 90 days as per section 43D(2) of the UAPA, was not competent to do so."
While I will continue to wait for Tippani and Newsance eagerly next week too, but I’m afraid these kinds of mistakes seem complacent at best and lazy at worst.
Having said that, amazing reports, amazing shows, and amazing podcasts. Abhinandan, a huge shout out to you (Manisha gets enough anyway).
P.S: Why bring Anand to Hafta if he doesn’t want to contribute (episode 356)?
Hi Hafta team,
About Hafta 355, the recent Chennai rains drowned Chennai. It's largely due to the building of houses and apartments on lake bed. Political parties took a heavy amount of bribes to allow construction on lake beds. Can NL do a ground report on this like how NL did a report on Maharashtra floods?
Please read in full. (In reference to my last week’s letter.)
What Manisha didn’t allow you to finish on my letter on Vivek Kaul could have been easily understood if she would have allowed you to finish. Anyway, to clarify for Meghnad (do convey to him): I am not a crypto wala uncle so the alleged "anti Vivek because pro crypto" remark doesn’t stand either. My point is, Vivek Kaul has in the past irresponsibly dismissed a lot of facts. See his last video with Manisha.
Problem is the thought, not the person. Problem is over-simplification, not the person. He may be a great financial adviser to Manisha ji but that’s where it should end. His comment on Facebook and other big tech issues in Hafta 354 show exactly why he shouldn’t be consulted on big tech, let alone crypto.
Lastly, his golden take (with Manisha in the video) was that "business news is 24 hours but there are only four quarter earnings that matter, so news channels will continue with anything for the rest of the days" is flawed but my word limit prohibits any elaboration. Also, I love his books. So not a hater gaizzz. Much love to NL. Phorever.
Loved the latest deep dive by Chintan Shah. Maybe you should invite him sometime too?
Hi NL Team,
I have been debating whether to submit this letter or not.
Given how Munawar has been "cancelled", with his shows all across India being cancelled these past three months (in Goa I believe his detractors threatened to burn themselves alive), we need to talk about the heckler's veto or more accurately the rioters' veto.
The Bajrang Dal literally threatened to disrupt the public peace if Munawar was allowed to perform a show, what kind of a civilized country allows people who make threats of riots, get away with something like this.
How do we get our society to reject this kind of provocation no matter who it comes from? Regardless of whether Munawar had insulted Hindu gods or not, threats of violence should not be entertained, this will only restrict all the freedom of non-violent citizens.
My previous letters have not been read and I have been using the dedicated section for sending the letters. Since I have not saved copies of them, I will not be able to mail it to the email ID that Abhinandan had mentioned. Would really appreciate it if you can do a check and let me know if there was a glitch.
In the last few Haftas, it has been a joy to have guests like Vivek Kaul, Aakar Patel and Anurag Verma. I'm Team Kaul and anti-Anand, just FYI. Please do try to get a right voice that can contribute to discussion; I'm sure there are people if we look beyond the newsrooms.
Another suggestion, I really love the recommendations that you guys talk about at the end and this has introduced me to some fabulous literature as well as podcasts. Can you look at having a book club which can be paid or even act as some sort of a library?
I have noticed that a lot of the time, guests are not able to join you guys for the full Hafta because of time constraints. However, they are on the call when you guys start discussing the headlines of the week and they generally have no input then. So my suggestion is, can you add the headlines in post, so that the guests have more time to give their input on the topics you discuss? I'm not sure how practical that is.
Also, it was a great idea to bring Anurag Verma on the show. I'm a big fan of his podcast. If you're looking for ways to collaborate with him, you should bring him on Awful and Awesome as well because his views on pop-culture are quite refreshing.
As a tongue-in-cheek side, Abhinandan's podcast with Amit Varma was great and I appreciate his restraint on not shitting on cricket when Amit used a cricket reference.
I am proud that you guys are moving towards becoming a full-fledged reporter force. Just make sure that amidst Modi-bashing you don't turn into a white-woker. Establishment is the rival and right to information is the noble goal. My new era humble nobility, I am proud of you!! I proudly tell people that I am a NL subscriber!!
Paranjape, Swapan Dasgupta or Anand Ranganathan in your show. Think about it!
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