Hafta letters: Abortion terminology, discussion quality, saying goodbyes

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Abortion terminology, discussion quality, saying goodbyes
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I didn’t see any letters read out for Let’s Talk About, so I’ve sent it to Hafta. I would like to offer some of my thoughts on the LTA religion discussion. The question as to why religion exists has been answered in The Sapiens by Dr YNH. It’s the same answer as to why man is the master of planet earth: because of his ability to cooperate with millions or even billions of his kind. For millions of humans to cooperate, they need to believe in a common fiction, and religion forms the basis of that fiction. Dr YNH also defines religion as a belief system, and humans are indeed moving from older belief systems of Christianity, Islam, etc to newer belief systems of Democracy, Feminism, Human rights, Capitalism, Nationalism. Also, Anand is right that atheists do feel a deep void in their lives. I personally feel as though I have lost the crutches that I leaned on ever since I’ve become an atheist. I can no longer look up at the sky and ask God to solve my problems.



Hi all,

I had to butt in here on the topic of how much philanthropy Indian industrialists do.

If you are asking whether they do it, the answer is yes.

1) Vedanta Foundation

2) Reliance Foundation

CSR activities are done by many of these companies. The question is really how much. Sena project, maybe!!!

Social media has brought us closer and that is why you hate Chaurasia so much. Look at the Indian joint family with 25 members. Anybody outside the house will not know who hates whom in that house. Social media has just bought "Ghar ke andhar ki baat" to "Ghar ke bahaar ki baat". Anyways we can agree to disagree on this.

But I have a grouse. When somebody like Meghnad leaves, shouldn't he be given the opportunity to say goodbye to us, the paying subscribers on programmes he was a part of – Hafta, Charcha, Newsance? This should have been done even when Madhu left. Tip for the future.

Best regards,

Dhiraj Krishna Kumar


Hi team,

I have been following Zubair's arrest and it is pathetic that the case is being argued by the solicitor general himself. It clearly indicates what the government's priority is. However, this did make me look up Tushar Mehta and I found the Indian Express profile of him very insightful.

Newslaundry also did a profile of "top cop" KPS Malhotra recently, which I found interesting. From a big picture perspective, I think NL should regularly do profiles of higher level people who execute the government's punitive actions. I think as readers we would like to know who these people are and how their personal style affects what are often very volatile situations. Maybe looking back we will also be able to figure out why so many people were so willing to carry out actions that were so wrong. Thank God NL is not one of them. Keep it up.




Hi Newslaundry team,

I've been using the app since I subscribed earlier this year. It would be great if you can add a search tab in each of the subparts of the app (like under videos, podcasts, etc). I love listening to and watching your previous work and it’s a pain finding it on the app, and I end up going back to YouTube!

You guys have been doing great work and are one of the very few Indian news outlets that I follow and I've already recommended quite a few friends to have a look at your work!

Missed the meet-up in London, hope to join the next one.

All the best guys! Keep up the good work.




During episode 387, Jayashree went on a rant (her word, not mine) that since the Democrats are in power, they could easily codify the right to abortion into law but do not do so because they want to use this issue to create fear and horror and improve their chances in the midterms because they have nothing substantial to offer. And that they are more like the Republicans than they care to admit. This is a staggeringly ignorant view. Yes, the Democrats are in power at the federal level but since it now takes 60 votes to pass a bill, the Republicans defeat almost any and every bill in the Senate. This isn’t so in the House and the Democrats have passed bills codifying the right to abortion multiple times, only for the bills to die in the Senate. As far as not having anything “substantial” to offer, the Democrats are the only ones championing policies like universal child care, gun control, carbon credits, etc whereas the Republican have doubled down on God, guns and gays.




My 2nd feedback is the use of the term “pro-abortion” repeatedly by Manisha. The correct term is “pro-choice” which means that the woman should have a choice of whether to have an abortion or not and that decision is hers alone. The term “pro-abortion” is a trope used regularly by right-wing media in the US to portray abortion as a casual, frivolous act carried out by women of loose morals without any compunction. It also furthers their white, Christian, male view of sex, sexuality and the role of women in society as a "carrier". Nothing could be further from the truth, hence in this case calling it by its correct name REALLY matters. I am not a woman, but I am a parent so even as a man I can understand just how difficult and agonizing such a decision must be for a woman which is why the term pro-abortion is NEVER used by abortion rights supporters. I am actually a fan of Manisha’s work, so I am sure she will appreciate this not-so-nuanced difference in terminology.



Dear Hafta team,

Recent decline in the quality of Hafta discussion is disquieting. I have provided some points (with examples).

No consideration for suggestions from listeners.

• Excessive interruption during discussions is appalling. For example, in episode 386, Manisha interrupted Sudhir 13 times and Abhinandan interrupted him 11 times in 55 minutes.

• Multiple listeners have asked to not use random Hindi phrases in the middle of a discussion.

Lack of respect for guests. Examples:

• Constant interruptions.

• In Hafta 387, Raman brazenly asked Amit Kumar if he was invited last year to discuss the Assam floods or someone else! (It was Samrat Choudhary.)

• In previous Haftas (365), Manisha even mentioned “improving” the quality of guests (while guests were still on the podcast)!

Dismal preparation of the panellists on discussion topics. Example: Episode 387’s discussion on Roe v Wade was unprepared and unintelligent. (Second time.)

Please reflect to improve Hafta.



Hi team,

I remember there has been disruption in recurring payments due to the change in RBI guideline multiple times in the past. Do we have any sense of why RBI is issuing such changes which keep breaking recurring payments? I am sure a lot of businesses like NL must have gotten into trouble due to such changes. Is there any data available indicating impact of RBI's guideline change? Is it worth it to do a story on this?



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