Hafta letters: AAP’s politics, Elon Musk taking over Twitter, Disha Salian’s media trial

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
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Hafta letters: AAP’s politics, Elon Musk taking over Twitter, Disha Salian’s media trial
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I really enjoy learning from the often diverse panel, analysing/dissecting the current news, as well as absorbing the opinions. So glad to have one English medium that does not shy away from discussing the rising brazen injustices in India.

I hope NL keeps the message of subscription based news going. Doing my part by spreading the word, although it's very hard to make people accept the concept.

Can you start including some links, material or dare I say it, toolkit on NL, that can be used to convince people of why independent news media is important in India? Maybe you already compiled something but I don't know where to look.

Sachin Mathew

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Hi team, two questions:

1) Can the Ranas say that their right to peacefully protest was taken away? Is there a parallel that can be drawn between CAA/farmer protests/Umar Khalid to peacefully protest and the Ranas decision to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside Uddhav Thackeray's home?

(My gut knows that the Ranas are wrong, but I'm unclear as to why. I want to confirm if it's not just my bias against the ruling party that makes me think this way).

2) I recently met a young guy (early 20s) when travelling through Munnar. While introducing himself, he mentioned his name, that he was from Sitamarhi (Bihar), and that he is a Thakur. This struck me as weird. A future generation representative introducing himself to a stranger with his caste! I know a caste free India is far off, but the fact that an educated, salaried, 22 year old mentioning his caste is just jarring! Or is it? Any books/articles you can recommend to understand why casteism just refuses to go away (even incrementally)?

PS: Thank you so much for the efforts your whole team puts in!

Akshit

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Hi NL team,

I have already written a more detailed letter to Abhinandan on this and for publication purposes I am keeping this letter short and to the point.

Please clarify why Atul in Tippani disapproved of AAP's religious show whereas, Abhinandan in Hafta 378 was in favour of including a show on religiosity in politics.

Please also try to interview (very overdue) either Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Raghav Chadha, Atishi, Sanjay Singh or Amanatullah Khan on:

1) Communal unrest in Delhi in 2020 and now in Jahangirpuri.

2) The landfill fire.

3) AAP's alleged "silence" on alienation and provocation of Muslims and their (controversial) stand on Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and CAA protests.

4) AAP's overt show of Hindu religiosity and public distance from Muslim festivities.

5) How they plan to take on the BJP in Gujarat without resources or cadres. Even Punjab came to them in the second try. Two seats in Goa also came in the second attempt.

Keep up the good work and wishing team NL the very best,

Vidya Arvind

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Just watched the Disha Salian story. I felt proud that I support an organisation which is doing stories worth watching. Proud of you all. Look forward to the story on Ramdev.

Very often I read stories and think “I wish more people knew good work is ALSO being done”, and with that in mind, I propose an “NL amplify digital” project which will specifically fund promotions of NL stories on social media. So, if more people know about these stories and will want to read/watch the entire story, they may subscribe.

If I like a particular story, at max I may recommend it to 10 of my friends, but two of them may actually end up reading. These promotions can help us reach scale.

It's like wanting to fund a permanent space in all local newspapers which only fact-checks viral WhatsApp messages

Only digital platform that did long format interviews with all CM candidates during the UP election is Lallantop. Can we do a review of those? Lets critique, promote/condemn good and bad journalism on digital as well.

Neil Sabnis

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Hi team NL,

Fully agree with the Hafta 378 letter about the Jahangirpuri demolitions leading to radicalisation among minority groups. The tragedy is that our political "leadership" likely sees this as a feature, not a bug, as that radicalisation will help them push their narrative.

I read the following reflection in Aakar Patel's Price of Modi Years: “With the decline of newspapers, the ‘beat reporter’ will also go away and with it the scrutiny that these reporters provide. TV has no incentive to fill this void because beat material is not always visual.” Meanwhile, he says online outlets (like yourselves) cannot do this either due to the economics of online.

I'm conflicted on what to make of it. Fully agree with him on the TV news angle. For online reports though, NL has a model (Sena) but how scalable is this really? Can it replace the dying breed of beat reporters who could cover say, health or education, in different cities? Wanted to hear your thoughts on it.

Suhas

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Dear NL team,

The last few Haftas, there has been a discussion on encroachment and urban planning. Abhinandan and Raman have mentioned that most of Delhi is unplanned, and that the DDA has not undertaken many tasks it was supposed to.

However, NL has not done much reporting on the Delhi Master Plan (DMP) 2041, other than the Central Vista. DDA is currently supposed to be finalising the draft on the basis of comments received from individuals and organisations.

One major issue is that DDA keeps making new master plans, but there's no review of achievements of targets of previous master plans, whereas DMP-2021 even had a section (Table 18.1) describing the monitoring framework.

May I request a few reports on its planning, legality/illegality, in context of how much of its targets have been met by DDA, and how that lead to illegality, from homes, shops, factories, especially in context of the Master Plan being a legally enforceable document.

Kudos for the great work you do.

Vasudha

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Hi everyone,

Really glad to see Manisha appreciate Elon Musk for buying Twitter. One of the few female Musk bros I have heard in the media.

Hopefully Musk will bring all the great ideas such as segregation of black workers, killing people with faulty self driving technology and hatred for poor people and public transport, to Twitter.

Not enough space for other links,

Thanks,

Mahendra

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Hi NL team,

I hope you are all doing well. I really liked the story and interview that you all did for Disha Salian's family. The amount of misinformation that the media had spewed was infuriating. As you were going back and forth between the actual clips and the interview, it just saddened me thinking what the family would have gone through, especially the parents, losing their only child at such a young age. I definitely teared up when Mrs Salian mentioned the seemingly pleasant memory of her talking to Disha to give her a recipe and also when she mentioned how they were now a pariah in their family, community, and their business partners.

I know that the story is behind the paywall and there is a small snippet, but I think this story should be out there more. I want to know how the so-called “journalists” who were debating all these things feel, when they see the damage that they have done. Keep up the great work.

Deepam

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I am in Australia. Almost every Indian I meet here is a bhakt and they assume I am too as I was born near Varanasi.

Anyway, I agree with Abhinandan that to counter the current Hindu nationalism we need another Hindu (at least semi-religious iconography and posturing) to change the conversation. We need to remember when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, the conversation (on news and leading online platforms) was mostly about "Vikas" and anti-corruption. They would have lost if they talked about Hindutva then.

The problem with using language and other identity as an opposing idea is, they can be tackled as they are not opposing the Hindutva ideology. For instance, the Hindu-Muslim divide and "Tamil" nationalism are not mutually exclusive. You can be a Tamil Hindu or Tamil Muslim and still be a bigot. Also this will create more cracks and opportunities for divisions in the future.

If you or your friends are in Sydney/Australia and need support, do contact me.

Pankaj

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Musk has Asperger's syndrome, so Manisha's comment on how he is good with tech concepts, but not with people is somewhat accurate, but I would recommend more reading on this.

Free speech absolutism should not mean unrestricted speech. It’s a legal right, therefore, any curb on this right as a punishment must follow from due process. The mechanism to give punishments (incarcerations or censoring), in a liberal democracy, is with the judiciary. The arbitrariness of tech companies and governments alike is reprehensible. Censorship standards are normative per culture, and come through legislation. Incarceration and banning without trial is unhealthy. Being banned from a tech forum, psychologically, could have the same effect as incarceration. People should freely associate and freely block. Algorithms and governments should stay away.

A from the bay area

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Hello everyone, I have a question about the Hindi language debate going on in the country. I have a question about the psychology/thinking of people imposing Hindi or declaring Hindi as the national language etc.

BJP anyway max'd out their votes in Hindi belt and whatever gains they want need to come from South/East somehow. This definitely doesn't resonate in the South as most of them don't like these statements. I know BJP as a very smart political party, is aware of this. But, somehow I am not understanding the game they are playing here, sacrificing their prospects in the Southern belt, if there is any.

My mom told me that even Congress used to make these kinds of Hindi imposition statements when they were in power before 2014 and their own state units in southern states used to oppose those statements back then, like what Bommai did recently on supporting Sudeep. Is that true? What kind of game are they playing here?

Thank you. I am a big fan of the Hafta podcast. Please keep up the good work!

Saketh

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Hello Newslaundry,

Hope I don't come across as rude when I say that I disagree with Abhinandan's views on Arvind Kejriwal's politics. Although I've always

given him the benefit of doubt, his party's recent disturbing statements on bulldozer politics put me off. Among 60 percent of India that still doesn't vote for the BJP, most wouldn't give Kejriwal any space because of his soft Hindutva politics, and the remaining 40 percent would stick with BJP.

I think the only way to fight BJP is by what Prashanth Kishor rightly explains; wooing the liberal Hindu voters and holding on to progressive, secular values. I see KCR doing this in Telangana by hosting both the Iftar party and building a grand temple and not giving it a political angle.

Sticking to both development and secularism is the only way to fight BJP I believe, because only inclusion can bring economic growth and you should make people realise that. He has shown people that because of inclusive politics in Telangana compared to Karnataka, tech investments are flowing here and that is why we need to upload our progressive values.

I also urge you to watch and comment on KCR's recent speeches on BJP, not because I'm an admirer but because he hits out on all the right points related to economy, growth, and inclusion, wooing even the BJP supporters in my circles.

Hoping to hear what you think,

Swathi

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