Hafta letters: Lithium reserves, question paper leaks, series on historical figures

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Since you guys always recommend great videos and podcasts, I'd like to recommend to you to watch Hasan Minhaj's interview of Kevin O'Leary on the Daily Show this week. Kevin O'Leary is the stock market expert guy on CNBC, etc. It's such an excellent way of critically interviewing a public figure while making jokes. I did feel that some of the comments were almost a personal attack but a lot of it were a fair criticism. 



Hi NL team,

A significant reserve of lithium was found in Jammu and Kashmir this month. See here and here.

Worth getting both these guys to have a discussion on Hafta? Disappointed that this was not newsworthy to be mentioned on Hafta. Can you have somebody covering this on what will happen over the next few months?




In India, the BJP currently governs six states and it has also had a government at the centre for almost nine years. Can this be a cogent reason for media organisations like Wire, Caravan who claim they only "speak truth to power", and mainstream media including Indian Express and the Hindu have become the arm of Modi government to ignore opposition-governed states?

The foremost priorities of an outlet like Caravan are the RSS, Delhi police, central agencies (NIA, ED). Hence it has done cover stories on union ministers (S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Adityanath, Tushar Mehta). Caravan also reports on my home state Jammu & Kashmir (whole reportage pertains to Kashmir, our region Jammu has been completely snubbed).

NL, through its shows Newsance and Tippani, flags that the TV media doesn't conduct primetime debates on education, healthcare and unemployment crisis. But a section of digital media doesn't give two hoots about issues that impact the life of an ordinary citizen.


Email 2

In continuation:

The question papers of government recruitment exams are being leaked both in BJP- and opposition-ruled states (J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka). When the assembly poll was held in Gujarat, NL did a story on paper leaks. I urge NL to do a Sena project on youth unemployment. The Modi government says a government job cannot be provided to every jobless individual. But at least it can fill vacant posts. Some data on vacant government posts in the union government is as follows:

Out of 40 lakh sanctioned posts in the union government, more than eight lakh are vacant. 3.5 lakh are vacant in the railways. In central universities, out of 18,956 teaching posts, 6,180 or 33.2 percent are vacant. The average vacancy in faculty positions across the 18 AIIMS, other than AIIMS Delhi, stands at 45.7 percent. In the IITs, out of 8,153 teaching positions, 3,253 or 40.3 percent are vacant.

In the central armed police forces, 83,127 posts are vacant.

Email 3

In continuation:

I would like to end my very long letter by quoting an article by IIT Bombay professor Anurag Mehra:

The other buzzwords doing the rounds are “start-ups” and “entrepreneurship”. It is one thing to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurship but quite another to promote the wholesale hype that surrounds this. Start-ups are not – and never will be – a solution to the unemployment crisis. Merely establishing innovation councils or organising hackathons does not do anything to unleash any real innovation – a word used so widely so as to make it devoid of any original meaning. There is a pretence of being great disruptors, but the “dream” is mostly to make “millions of dollars”’ by being bought out quickly. Unsurprisingly, in almost all cases the great “innovative idea” of the start-up has nothing to do with the engineering discipline the student comes from.



Thank you for some excellent podcasts, interviews and the jewel in the crown newscance. You chided your colleague for not starting the Hafta with angrez apna lagaan…Could you explain to a largely ignored South Indian what it exactly means?

Also, why don’t you guys talk about Andhra? It’s in deep financial shit, employees are not being paid, pensions are being cut or not even being paid and the voice of the opposition is being stifled. Is Andhra not important enough for you northerners??

Keep up the good work.

Vinod Vattikuti


Hi NL team

Great idea to start a series on historical figures. Much needed. Given the revisionism of history going on at the moment, it would be good to move beyond the usual suspects (heroes of the freedom struggle), and also go to the period between 1500-1800 AD. So guys like Babur and Akbar and Aurengzeb and, if you can handle it, a deep dive into Shivaji, with all those contradiction. People need to learn to approach history with nuance, and any dent in the superficial analysis and narratives that goes around will be a huge thing.




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