Hafta letters: Chandrayaan, poverty and Sudha Murthy’s cutlery

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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In the last four weeks, I’ve done two trips, scared and as a nervous wreck, one from Gurgaon to my flooded hometown in Punjab where my parents were stuck, the second from Punjab to riot-filled Gurgaon where my wife was stuck. 

I’m pretty sure this is the story of so many people right now and I just can’t understand why this has zero impact when it comes to voting results against the BJP. If the people of the country want this Hindu-Muslim divide then what’s the point of even blaming the politicians. As a country we are just rotten to the core.



Not particular to the last Hafta but something I’ve always wanted to ask you folks - I, like many of my friends, am at a point in my life where our trust in mainstream media and journalism is plummeting primarily due to narrative-driven stories and columns.

A lot of people my age (well maybe younger since I’m 28) would want to know more about the process and manner of validating stories and how one confirms the legitimacy of a particular event (preferably with examples).

The closest I’ve personally been to having a personal and independent opinion, and not piggybacking off of op-eds and newspaper columns was during the CAA-NRC phase because most people could just google the bill and its ramifications in both Assam, and potentially India.

Thanks in advance for reading this!


NL Hafta’s take on Delhi Services Bill?

Dhruv Agnihotri


I am no longer able to see Hafta show recommendations in the show notes. 

Puneet Baser


Whatever there is to be said about Chandrayaan has already been said in this forum and I don’t have anything better to add. However, I am a bit disturbed by Mr Sekhri’s use of “unable to prove the negative” argument, since he has used the same in multiple instances previously. I find it very problematic especially from a person who runs a subscriber-funded news organisation. Because when I try to convince my friends to subscribe to save journalism, and they say that we should use the same money to fund a political organisation instead (just an example), I can use logic to discuss this and convince them. But if they use this “unable to prove the negative” argument, everything disintegrates and no money is ever spent on anything. Because negative cannot be proven and no good can ever happen in this world. I humbly implore you to refrain from using that argument as a CEO of an organisation that asks for subscriber money and is trying to provide a genuine alternative to traditional journalism.



I didn’t understand your comparison of your carefulness with shellfish allergy to Sudha Murthy’s (née Kulkarni) cutlery choices. Using the same cutlery will not (physically) harm  Sudha ji, how will she even know if the same cutlery was used for non-veg? How are the two things the same? Since you have not made up your mind yet, here is a trick: whenever someone uses the word “pure”, it means they are trying to talk about “pure blood”. Since that does not look good in the civilised world, they use “pure vegetarian”, “pure merit”, or some other nonsense. Purity is bigotry. Sudha Murthy is bigot, Sudha Murthy is casteist, for God sake she went to meet, and even touched the feet of infamous Sambhaji Bhide. How much more clues do you need? BTW, I have seen her donning lipstick, and almost all lipsticks use animal parts.

Ashutosh Singh


Hi team,

Please make a video on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 on Cheatsheet or Tippani or TV Newsance. I appreciate that you talked about it briefly in Hafta, but I want something that I can share because this is a very big issue and it can easily go unnoticed if not shared.

No news portal is covering it – Godi and non-godi alike. Please consider it.

Also, are the change.org fundraisers legit? I saw one on this and want to support them but need verification.

Thanks and best regards,

Sourav Mahato



I am a long-time Newslaundry subscriber, and a US-based mathematician.

I am tired of the stupid rhetoric: “Eradicate poverty first, what’s the use of Chandrayaan?”. I sent an email the last time this issue came up; see my email dated September 16, 2019, regarding Hafta 241 (sent to contact@newslaundry.com).

1. There are *plenty* of well-nourished Indian children who need food for *thought*, some purpose, something to look forward to. This is one of the places where science, space, arts and humanities are important. There is nothing wrong about feeling proud about your country’s achievement and to feel inspired; it is only human!

2. You could pretty much use this argument about anything – what do poets, artists, abstract mathematicians, theoretical physicists and philosophers do about removing poverty? Nothing!

Demolish all basic sciences, humanities, arts institutes and use that money to eradicate poverty! Heck, I should even stop my Newslaundry subscription and instead feed poor children. I am pretty sure every rupee spent on feeding poor children has *far* more impact than every rupee that I spend on NL. No!!! We must also promote all of these things, because it is also important to build our civilisation and to give direction to our tribe.

I am pretty sure you guys will discuss the same things when Chandrayaan 4 takes flight, and I will surely send another frustrated email then.

Also, it is wrong to assume that the West has solved all their basic problems and that’s why they have a lot of short change to spend on basic sciences, NASA, etc. This could not be farther from the truth.

Shashank Kanade 


Hi NL team,

Just wanted to pitch in on the Chandrayaan and Sudha Murthy debate. Reason being we were accosted with the same question when we launched Aryabhatta and the famous photograph of the rocket parts being transported on a bicycle and how Ratan Tata being the most humble businessman and now ‘The Murthy’ couple being the new age Ratan Tata. The business elites are interested in one thing and that is to please their shareholders and investors, and nothing else. It is like Elon Musk is interested in the space programme only to launch his Starlink for high-speed internet and Space tourism, where other tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are also involved. But unlike these elitists, ‘The Murthy’s’ boast about a simple lifestyle, about having a hard time getting and remaining rich. One would have come across a relative or a friend or a social media influencer that he/she follows might share a sympathetic post about these business personalities out of some misplaced sense of empathy.

Like Gandhi said, politicians ought to make policies that reach the most underprivileged person of the society. I believe any stride in science should trickle down to the layman, like Shardool said. We are stuck in these debates because we lack scientific temperament and apathy as a society by large. I think that we shouldn’t have any qualms about any investment in any field as long as it benefits the common man and who knows the environment by large. Science can solve way more problems than our politicians can. The irony is that the government feeds 80 crore people on subsidised food and yet boasts of how our country is a pioneer in space technology. I’m of the opinion that we have two extreme ends of the spectrum to deal with, poverty and hunger on one hand and science and progress on the other, and both are equally important.


Chetan Bhaskar


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