Hafta letters: Bharat Jodo Yatra, incorrect lyrics, letters for Mehraj

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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I wanted to highlight the news outlet rest of world (restofworld.org) for their excellent articles. They report interesting tech stories from around the world primarily focusing on low income nations.

Here is a recent article about the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign.

Apologies if you guys already know about this website, not sure if I actually heard about it of Hafta, tbh.




Re the survey of CPR:

Of the five well-known think tanks today (CPR, NIPFP, NCAER, Vidhi, and ORF), CPR was the only one not under the government's control. NIPFP and NCAER are government-funded, ORF is Mukesh Ambani, and Vidhi is Vidhi. I don't think it was a matter of criticism of government policies, but the government not being able to deal with even the smallest semblance of a lack of control.



Abhinandan, the supposed part in the song Yeh Dil Deewana that salutes the queen goes like this:

"God saves the world

World saves the man

Man saves the heart

Heart saves love."

No mention of the queen here.

Also, while getting the subscription, is there a way of opting out of the goodies like laptop/car stickers?




Hi Hafta team,

Hope all of you are well. I have hardly missed any Hafta episodes since 2020. Also, it's a good way to know what my former colleagues are up to (hahaha)!

I'm facing some issues with most podcasts and videos lately. Especially with Hafta. NL generally uploads Hafta on Saturdays and I can't play it for the next 2-3 days. I prefer listening to Hafta during the weekend, and hence it would be great if the issue can be resolved! This has been happening for quite some time.

Also, is it possible to play it on Apple Podcasts?

I hope I'm not coming across as a whiny subscriber. You guys are doing a fantastic job! Loved Mr Ahluwalia's interview. It would be great if Abhinandan/Mehraj can do a longer interview with him. Linking a piece that my economics professor has written on the 1991 reforms. Would like to know your thoughts.

Keep up the good work!




Recent Hafta episodes have discussed the lack of consultations by the union government while making laws as well as dismantling of state agencies. The Law Commission of India hasn't been been active since 2018, which would have ideally provided some consultation mechanisms for "controversial" laws. I think the dismantling of the LCI is an important story, reflective of the government's attitude, which no one has covered.



I missed the part where any panellist discussed whether the Bharat Jodo Yatra is actually increasing in numbers or improving engagement with actual people on the ground before judging it. I feel it's okay to not go to Gujarat for this round, considering the hostility and possible violence they might face. If this yatra devolves into violence, I think the same people will turn around and say it's irresponsible for Rahul to take the yatra to Gujarat this early. I think a mass of lakhs of people entering Karnataka will have a bigger optical impact than 50 people getting arrested or thrashed in UP at the start of the yatra, and I guess that point is missed.



Hi Manisha,

I am a subscriber. I respect you, I love Newsance. I lost it when you said Bharat Jodo Yatra is for three weeks, though you said "I take my words back" after listening to others. Do you even watch news or only for content? I have already lost for Abhinandan which I expressed in a previous email. NL Hafta was kind of ojay, I could tolerate so for not anymore. Please come prepared and don't pello your gyan without information.



I listened to Hafta and then halfway through Charcha through my commute and nightly chores before going to sleep. The Hafta panel discussed the yatra while I listened up to a point of Charcha where they were discussing the fact that most of the country is young. I woke up the next morning giggling because I dreamed the yatra got hijacked by the youth of the country and they walked to Delhi with a huge swell and the slogan "Desh ko bachaana hain, buddho ko hataana hain". The dream ended there. I thought it was funny and just wanted to share. It's okay if you don't read it on air.

I also found it funny that you guys got scolded by the pronunciation police (especially on "Rushdie") and then agreed that proper nouns should be dealt with correctly, and Manisha in the end still mispronounced "Rushdie" while recommending the ninth season of some Larry David show. I do not care about pronunciation but laughed out loud when that happened.



I live another village in the UK, Southwick. I know quite a few people who are devastated by the death of the queen. I have seen a lot of people on the train glued to the funeral coverage. The most surprising thing is that the stories have put down their display of products in honour of the queen.

I agree with Manisha, and from conversations with local young people, that they have no awareness about all the ruin the British colonisation has done.



Religion makes good people better and bad people worse. Being a Tamil Indian Muslim, I am sometimes made to think that Islam lacks broadmindedness and Indian Muslims owe it to Indian culture which makes them nicer people.

Islam is a monotheistic religion but definitely not a monolithic one (despite efforts from the neo-Salafis to make it look like one), and it has imbibed for good reasons allowable practices from various cultures that it has been exposed to. Dr Umar dwells on this in this video.

To learn about religion, it's important to understand its theology. There are Asharis/Matrudis, Atharis and the Mutazilites. Blogging Theology (495) on YouTube is a great starting point.

The internet has thinned the line between mainstream and fringe. The Islamic narrative was easily being hijacked by neo-Salafis. Thanks to scholars like Abdul Hakim Murad, Hamza Yusuf, Yasir Qadhi and the like, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Muhammed Ibraheem


Again countering Mehraj about what he said last time (from 1:36:00). He quoted the article that I shared, which said, "Significant economic and educational disparities persist between the lower and higher caste communities in the countries highlighted in the report." This, Mehraj said, is the "defining feature of a caste system" (around 1:36:12).

But he forgot the report covers countries in South Asia, Africa and Japan, thus proving my point about the existence of caste systems outside India (even by his definition).

Moreover, one country covered in that report is Mauritania whose official religion is Islam. And there are a plethora of articles available on how Mauritania not only has a caste system, but a caste-based slavery system even today. So please, Mehraj, don't be denial of caste system amongst Muslims, either in South Asia or in Africa. This is my last mail regarding this topic.


Hi Hafta team,

I do my weekly jhadoo listening to Hafta. This week, I spent too much time doing it because of trying to listen and relisten to the aspects relating to Mehraj.

I can somewhat see his point that "caste" in the west is different to "caste" as applied in India. But having lived in the Middle East, caste is essentially what happens there. The "locals" are considered UC and everyone else is in a caste hierarchy with labourers at the very bottom.

What I am more annoyed about is that Mehraj continuously defends a statement where, in fact, there might be space for an insightful article to elucidate us with his knowledge.

One other thing that is staying with me into Monday: Two humans couldn't have doomed Libya. To be fair, it was no paradise before either. It was ruled by a tyrant for their own benefit.A society that has not built institutions to protect its own people will revert to chaos, this is as much true in Libya as it is anywhere else.

Rant over, Manisha doing a good job.


In Hafta 397, Mehraj mentioned that his community was previously a Dalit Hindu community. This article, which talks about caste in Kashmir, identities the Lone community as an occupational caste. The author places them above what he calls "service castes" in the Kashmiri Muslim caste hierarchy.

In the book The Valley of Kashmir, the author states that the Lone community had belonged to the Vaishya caste.

Neither of these sound Dalit.

I apologise if I have misunderstood or misread something. I am basing my comments on a last name, which could be misleading. My own last name sounds Brahmin, although I am not one. But I believe the Dalit identity should not be assumed indiscriminately as it could risk misrepresenting the lived experiences of actual Dalits.

I liked AS's suggestion of bringing an expert to discuss caste among Indian Muslims.

Anirudh Srivathsan


This might be a little blunt but I have to say this.

In the last Hafta, I could see how vehemently Mehraj was trying to defend Islam, playing on the semantics of the "caste" word. What everyone was trying to say is the discrimination that exists in any society, Indian caste system is just a form of it. And yes, it does exist in Islam as well. Everyone knows how brown-skinned Muslims are treated in Arabic countries. Catholic Christians would not treat a converted OBC/SC/ST as his equal. Discrimination exists everywhere in the form of racism, elitism, casteism, etc. Differentiating one from another based on subtle differences and semantics won't redeem any religion.

Mehraj's viewpoints are heavily overshadowed by his faith, which I don't see from any other panellists. I am not saying this based on just the last episode but over many Hafta episodes and LTA Religion. This might come out as rude but I am sorry, I had to say this.



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