Hafta letters: Against labels, language chauvinism, communist propaganda

NL subscribers get back with brickbats and bouquets!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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In Hafta 405, I loved Abhinandan’s exasperation at how Bongs at a workplace start chatting in Bengali. I guess this is the common experience of non-Hindi speakers at all workplaces where Hindi speakers expect everyone else to join in Hindi. Then, even if you try, they will crack a joke at the earliest opportunity – “train aata nahin aati hain”. I guess someone got a taste of their own meds. 

On a serious note, I am wondering if you will consider releasing some periodic content in Bengali as I really want to share it with my parents and friends in Bangladesh. Hope you see the business sense too as Bengali and Tamil are the only international Indian languages. OK, that line was a bit stretched. Needless to say, I am a bong. Keep up the good work!

Satwik

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Hi team Hafta, 

Ardent listener and reader of NL reports and podcasts here. Truly appreciate the work you guys do, as thanks to you, Indian journalism is off the ventilator but still in the ICU.  

My question is on the US midterm elections, in which many candidates backed by former president Trump did badly in polls but also showed how divided the US really is. Are we just as divided as the US? What does that mean for far-right politics globally?

Keep doing the work you do and hope you get a much-needed respite from the toxic air in Delhi.

Cheers,

Sean

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Right-left, conservative-liberal labels exist only in a liberal-democratic system birthed post enlightenment..Right believes individual acts beget a spontaneous order which get enshrined in local culture. On extremes, left is authoritarianism of dogmas and right is anarchy. Left is expansive and globalist, right is inward looking and localist. Together they form a system. Everything else is collectivism…Modi is certainly a collectivist-statist, he is dictating a centrist moralistic dogma and curbing rights. Indian conservatism is dying and with it liberal democracy too. “Save the right” should be the war cry. Love to NL.

A from Bay Area

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Hi NL Team, 

Myuresh's anecdote from the village at Karnataka-Andhra border – where a Kannada speaking person not only understands a Hindi conversation but also intervenes with a dissident view – is a window to the world outside the English-speaking-elite-Tamilian bubble. The suggestion that English is a better link language than Hindi is ludicrous. Few facts adjacent to the anecdote: 57 percent of India identifies Hindi as their first, second or third language and if you add 5 percent of Urdu native speakers, Hindustani communicators would cross well beyond 60 percent. English speakers are a measly 10 percent. From personal experience (I can read Kannada, English, Hindi, Gurmukhi and Korean), I believe that language is analogous to water; you may try to create barriers of cultural chauvinism in its way but it floods nonetheless…And Jayashree, Chennai is only six hours away from Bangalore by car and trust me languages travel faster 😉.

Mayuresh’s ground report on Bharat jodo yatra was insightful, looking forward to more such reports on Hafta including more facts and statistics in support of arguments. Loved Manisha’s interview with Tavleen. It was brave! Would love to know if it had an impact on Manisha. Did it change her perspective? Also, why no discussion on Iran protests on Hafta?

Uddalak Aruni

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The Kerala governor was mentioned again. There's a contrast between your views, and that of the select local media that I follow.

My impression: he is trolling. And while that is pushing Kerala towards a constitutional crisis, it is not of the governor’s making. Or, at least, his sin is smaller. The VC appointments were made over his protest. Now an SC ruling declared one of them procedurally invalid. There are widespread allegations of nepotism in faculty appointments – of spouses of CPI(M) leaders. 

He “advised” VCs to resign; media reports mistakenly present this as a demand. Similarly, his letter to the CM was expressed as “hope” that action would be taken, not as a directive.

Ergo the governor has acted “correctly” and the government hasn't. That he is purposely tripping up the government is “irrelevant”.

Please discuss this with a local language journalist. I think this might blow up into something quite big.

Vijay

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Hi guys, 

I have been a strong 💪 supporter and subscriber for the last two years. 

I always feel sad and get a kicking feeling in my gut when you guys talk about reporters you need to send out and subscribers not topping funds up. 

While I am not rich yet, I am an entrepreneur, and all I can help give is an idea for more monetisation. 

You can start building an offshoot of Newslaundry, a dedicated web portal for start-ups and entrepreneurship. Companies do pay for real news there, and all of us have a subscription of the Morning Context, Crunchbase and all such entrepreneur-focussed portals. 

I could help out more if you guys need any sort of help framing this. The word limit lets me give you only a gist. Love you all. Stay blessed.

Ashish D

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Hi,

Abhinandan keeps telling the story of villagers who ask the landlord how he got the land, and the landlord eventually says one of his ancestors fought a war for it, and the villagers say that they will fight a war for the land now. I hope Abhinandan realises that this story is commonly used in communist propaganda. Why just stop at an inheritance tax? If you believe in this story, then you must believe that all property is theft. So, naturally, you will believe in the state nationalising all private companies and expropriating all private homes and land and wealth. And still you have multiple times claimed to support the free market. Are you just internally conflicted because of your privilege or are you trying to keep both liberals and leftists happy with your commentary? 

Anonymous

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Hello,

If no balance is needed between economic efficiency and social justice, what's the argument against nationalising all private companies, expropriating all private wealth and implementing 100 percent caste based reservation (in proportion to your caste population percentage) across the board? Basically making India a Communist state with 100 percent reservation. 

Don't you think if the courts don’t stop this, and India continues to be a democracy, politicians will eventually do everything I have described above? India is a very left-wing country when it comes to economics. Nationalising, expropriation and 100 percent reservation would be extremely popular, at least in the short term. Don’t you think this is the biggest fear that upper castes and rich people have? And doesn’t it make sense for them to support a right-wing dictatorship that respects private property because democracy is always going to be a big threat to them?

Anonymous

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