Hafta letters: South Asian passports, crime in UP, migrant exodus

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: South Asian passports, crime in UP, migrant exodus
  • whatsapp
  • copy

Dear Newslaundry team,

Anand Vardhan's recent article on the Covid-induced migrant worker exodus is a fine piece of literary gymnastics, dancing around the government's role while flaunting caste supremacy undertones. Instead of addressing the humanitarian crisis, Vardhan waxes poetic about "bio public" and weakened caste identities, conveniently sidestepping the migrant workers' plight.

The positive framing of the exodus and the government's "efforts" is another deft sleight of hand. It's as if stringent lockdowns and operational transportation are reason enough to celebrate, never mind the ongoing suffering.

His work makes for a delightful read, but with the razor-sharp clarity of a foggy night. One can't help but yearn for a more direct, incisive analysis of the real issues and the government's role in addressing them.



Dear NL team,

On March 17, I tweeted a thread in which I took all the references from the NL report on Navika's son's wedding. It is my bad that at first, I didn't even mention the NL report reference link. Later, after Ashwine Kumar sir's comment, I added that.

Sir, I seek my apology again. It will not be repeated again. I'm extremely sorry. After this incident I have gone through a great pain of self-guilt. 🙏

Thank you.❤



On crime reduction in UP, do you have reasonably independent data that supports that the POV? Can NL team find facts independent of propaganda, statistics independent of anecdotal information,

I can understand that specific community (religion, caste or ethnicity) that is in power feels safer but those in opposition feel unsafe! Question remains that what’s the bridge that makes a marginalised people like (Dalit, women, Muslims) feel safer?

May be unfair but people who search for facts have higher bar to cross. I put NL team in that space.



Dear NL team,

Long-time subscriber here.

Just a short note to tell everyone to watch the interview that Abhinandan did with Mehdi Hasan. Brilliant. Immediately bought his audiobook on Audible (where Mehdi reads the book).

Thank you all for the wonderful work that you do. Keep it up. Cheers!

Jonathan Benjamin


Hi NL team, 

Long time subscriber here. Having read a few works by academics on fascism, the way in which it usually ends seems to be war. I think Bangladesh and Nepal should be worried. What are your thoughts on the same? 





I’m a long-time subscriber and wanted to ask you to discuss travel racism.

I’ve been working and living in Ireland now for six years and travel fairly often, both for work and tourism. The number of hoops a south asian passport holder has to jump through as compared to my European/American counterpart is simply humiliating. 

The wait for visa appointments: Embassy appointments are sporadic and few requiring planning your trip months in advance. 

The amount of paperwork requested is balking with specific number of copies and varying instructions for photograph sizes. The whole process is in person (not online) during work hours at embassies that are open for barely three hours a day. 

After all of this, the issue of  visa is entirely discretionary to the visa officer. It is often issued for the length of the stay which might be three days!  I’ve seen many south asians lose out on growth opprtunities at work because of this, not to mention the lack of freedom to travel at a whim even when having the financial capability. 

Even in terms of work permits, the procedures are different for our people – tougher, rigourous and stringent. We have to be twice as good and then some to land the same job to justify being warranted the very same work visa that for example, a Brazilian or Spanish person would get much more easily.  

This limitation in movement is linked all the way back to colonisation. It was an exploitative tool to limit growth and exposure but unfortunately, still prevails! It’s been 70 years since but our govt hasn’t done much to change this. 

The South Asian presence on the global stage is not small and carries a lot of weight at NATO/BRICS etc with very strong diplomatic relations with most of the first world. Our people work hard and make up so much of the workforce in IT, medicine and so many other industries across the world and yet our governments do. nothing to ease this pain. Is ease of travel/ work not a South Asian right as well? 

Raghuram Rajan, ex-RBI chief touches upon this in an interview of his with respect to medical/CA and law exams for the US in particular. His interview seemed to have a few valuable and easy suggestions for our government to implement. Linking here:

I can assure every South Asian living abroad has atleast one painful story to share in this regard. Giving up my Indian passport isn’t really a choice for most of us. I hope someday it isn’t a necessity. 

Thank you for all your work!

Warm Regards,

Saloni Jain


Dear NL,

I recently watched a Speilberg movie The Post on Sony LIV. I was thinking of the NL team while watching the movie.  

The Post is a powerful story of the press rising against the political deceit and corruption in the backdrop of US-Vietnam war. If you love real stories, The Post packs a punch with conflicts and pressures that surround investigative journalism in unearthing truth. The closing lines – "The press was to serve the governed, not the governors" – steals the deal for me. Definitely watch, if you can!

May you guys continue doing the good work. Kudos to your team!




We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like