Hafta letters: Privilege, prep for 2024 election, collaborations

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Privilege, prep for 2024 election, collaborations
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In the last Hafta on the issue of the central government not allowing anything against Modi, most panelists missed the point that even in state governments, the CM or party leader cannot be criticised by anyone without inviting the ire of the state government. Can one criticise Stalin in TN by calling him names? Could anyone criticise Jayalalithaa? So it's not limited to one government or one person. The panel should correct their views.



Dear Abhinandan,

Your March 2016 article and your response in the last Hafta – "you need to make them suitable for job...to balance privilege" – only makes sense in the context of quotas in educational institutes. The issues of quotas in educational institutes and reservation in jobs are different in important aspects. It's true that the demand for both stem from same grievances but the moral calculations are very different. Unfortunately 150 words are not enough to elucidate the difference.

My last letter was in only in the context of reservation for actual jobs. For example, when you want to hire someone to fix a bug in the Newslaundry app, do you check their coding skills or their caste? I am sure you can get a willing person from an underprivileged caste and "make then suitable for fixing the app" but that would take years and the app needs to be fixed now! 

Do you spend Newslaundry resources in searching for underprivileged techies or do you look for the cheapest techie with the best coding skills? Please answer.

Email 2

Privilege is a concept popularised by US scholars of grievance studies in the late 1980s to assuage white guilt over the unequal outcomes for blacks despite the end of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the civil rights movement. In the context of Indian society, this concept is as redundant and irrelevant as the Marxist concept of class. Caste hierarchies in Indian society subsume privilege, class and much more. 

The popularity of fashionable western concepts like "privilege" among today's Doon-educated, English-speaking elite circles is quite understandable as they have a higher affinity towards western culture than most Indians. Just like in the 1960s, the concept of "class struggle" was popular among Bengali elite's sons, but outside these circles in broader Indian society, these concepts do not have much validity or currency. Abhay Kumar Dubhey can explain even better why you can't just lift popular western terms and use them for indian society. Please call him.



Hi everyone,

Opinion polls are a big primetime show. Have you noticed there have been no opinion polls on Karnataka '23? I have received the C-voter survey two times in the past six months. However, I am yet to see the results of any opinion polls on television. I am not sure if they can be telecast during the election code of conduct as it may kick in anytime soon. Wouldn't you agree that results not being telecast is very intriguing and mysterious?

Abhinandan, I would differ on your opinion on Kantara. When was the last time any movie spoke about tribals and untouchability in a movie? These are shown in a subtle way in the movie. You are treated well as long as one believes in being unequal. The scene of the hero sitting on the table for the last meal with the landlord breaks the hegemony of the landlord. People who understand the culture well would appreciate the movie better.


Asli Batman


Hi Abhinandan,

General election 2024 is 12 months away. Have you guys started the process of budgeting the costs to cover the2024 election? As the project is going to be huge with travels along the length and breadth of the country, budgeting should have been completed and the NL Sena fundraiser page should have been up and running by now. Please note that bonuses are due in April and people might be ready to spare extra money towards this project. If the NL Sena fundraiser is online for six to nine months, people might be willing to contribute to it more than once.




What is stopping educated southern political leaders, such as KTR and PTR, from becoming national leaders of this country? As a north Indian with an obsession for national economic prosperity, I can clearly see that south Indians are destined to become the country's growth engine. This trend has already started and the gap is only going to widen by the turn of this decade. Why aren't north Indians pushing enough to give southerners a chance to lead India for a change?



Wanted to run two questions by the panel.

1) Do you think the PM or HM is personally directing all the vendetta politics, be it the ED raids or arresting Pawan Khera or the conviction/disqualification of RaGa? I can't imagine that they have that much time to sit and plot these actions.

2) How important is Savarkar is you want to win the election in Maharashtra? Is RaGa damaging himself by repeatedly insulting him?

PS: Really enjoyed the India Today Conclave ki dhulai on Newsance.

Email 2

I would like Hafta to invite a journalist/legal expert from Israel to discuss the contentious judicial reforms that has created a storm of protests in Jerusalem. One of the planned reforms would allow the executive greater control over who gets to be a judge by increasing their representation in a committee that appoints judges. This is of importance as the current BJP govt also wants something similar.




The NL team is doing a great job of presenting news and views to the discerning. Congratulations to the entire team for the great work. There are many YouTubers who are doing an excellent job to share content with the public. Many of them do so under adverse circumstances, with no funding, equipment or sponsors. They are there because of their willpower. Many have overcome personal adversities to share content. One such channel is Chamka Math (@chamkamath6066). The content and presentation of this channel (run by an acid attack victim) is excellent. I suggest that you share at least one such content creator in each edition of Hafta so that it can not only enrich the listeners but also (literally) enrich the content creator. Best wishes to you all.



Hello Hafta team, 

It seems that Amritpal has been para-dropped in Punjab to create chaos. My thought is Bhindranwale was created by the government at the time and likewise Amritpal has been created by the current government to divert attention. I fear that these political machinations are going to again harm Punjab.

I am based in Brisbane for the past 10 years and am a proud Indian Sikh. Most of the diaspora asking for Khalistan are second (or more) generation immigrants who have hardly been to India. Also a few new students are joining in for the hope of getting residency via asylum. These people have no idea about the dark days of terrorism because they were either born after or were living overseas at the time.

Having said that, I do think this is all an offshoot of rightwing politics being practised by the majority party in the country. Branding a community gives rise to discontent, creating space for characters such as Bhinderawale and Amritpal to be created.

Most of the diaspora asking for Khalistan are second (or more)generation immigrants who have  hardly been to India. Also few new students are joining in for hope of getting residency via asylum .These  people have no idea about the dark days of terrorism because either they were born after or were living overseas at the time .Having said that I do think this is all an offshoot of right wing politics being practised by the majority party in the country. Branding a community gives rise to discontent creating space for characters such as Bhindranwale and Amritpal to be created . 




I'm Idris and I have been a long-term subscriber. I have thought of writing in several times, but have been lazy! I got hooked to you folks a few years ago when Madhu and Abhinandan used to put up Clothesline. It was the most humorous satirical take on the status of media and politics in our country for its time. Of the existing shows, I love Tippani, Newsance, Awful and Awesome, and Hafta as well, but I wish we had the resources to do more coverage, both on ground and in interviews. I'm surprised that we don't get conversations in more often, especially with folks from all ideological backgrounds. 

Anyway, writting in with a few suggestions.

1) Can the team extract audio from all videos/YouTube content and upload it to the podcast section under appropriate headers? This'll enable listening to interviews and conversations without the need to keep the phone awake.

2) Look for more collaborations. Recently Tippani had collaborated with the linguist and put up a couple of phenomenal shows. Perhaps there's benefit in reaching out to YouTubers like Sarthak Goswami, Varun Grover, etc to further improve content quality.

3) I understand that ours is a media-focused platform, but there is a dearth of political interviews from across the spectrum across all media platforms. This is because, for folks like me and I'm sure many others, subscriptions have become expensive affairs, and spending the money would make more sense if the collection of news was more complete as well.


Idris Hajee


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