Hafta letters: Gandhi, political activism and Science desk

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

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Recommending this clip by ABC News-In-Depth.

Also Abhinandan your old pal Vivek Agnihotri’s next film has journalist as a villain, so I wanted to ask if journalists hold that kind of power (for record, journalist not prime-time clowns).

Sam

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Looking forward to the discussion on the legal reforms next week. Furthermore, I think what would be interesting from NL would be to have a law-specific podcast/video series that covers what happened in the courts in the previous week. This is something that can have a large audience, but is largely untouched in India. 

I really enjoyed it when you had Apar Gupta, so he could be a potential great host, alongside someone like Gautam Bhatia, who has some of the best writing in the field. Anand as well, after he finishes his law exam. 😊 

Aryan

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With reference to Hafta 446, the discussion on Gandhi and distinction between public and private, and the idea of and search for equality within the plurality of beings. I would like to add recommendations of a book and two episodes of a podcast on this topic. In the book, the author approaches Gandhi and Ambedkar as theorists of political action.

Book: Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy by Aishwary Kumar

Podcast: Entitled Opinions part 1 and part 2

Anonymous

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Hi NL Team, now I’m not expecting NL to do monkey balancing as such, but you have to be fair. To put it mildly, your coverage on Nuh violence was one-sided. All the reports you uploaded are fine and have a reason to exist there, but what about a video where the Hindu victims get heard? Because let’s face it: most of the victims were Hindus in Nuh. Just as most of the victims were Muslims in Gurugram. It’s possible to be fair without coming across as anti-Muslims. 

Secondly, I still can’t understand what was the need to attack BeerBiceps and call him names (“chintu”) or questioning his intellect. It was such a thoughtless exercise. He’s not a journalist. He’s not supposed to question the government. Instead of attacking and alienating these platforms, why don’t use them to promote your POV and NL? BeerBiceps recently revealed that many leftists refuse to come to his podcast because they think of him as right-wing.

Please don’t pick these low stakes fights.

Raman

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I subscribed to Newslaundry recently, but I have been following your work since 2015. In the last Hafta, I learnt that you have a science desk, or are intending to have one. Just wanted to say that if you need an extra pair of eyes, I can volunteer and support in reviewing topics/stories. I am a scientist working in the US for the last five years, and have a cumulative research experience in genetics and molecular biology of about 11 years. Please keep up the great service, and proving sceptics of subscription driven-model, like me, wrong.

Meraj Rizvi

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This is my first email. I subscribed to NL from my first salary two years ago, and I am proud of it.

Thank you team for bringing attention to the FRA amendments. This is a larger topic and deserves a deep dive. 

A disturbing news is coming from Niyamgiri (battleground of FRA) in Odisha about UAPA charges being imposed on activists. It would be naive to not see the chronology of what is happening. 

I request NL to report on this issue, call experts who can help us understand the new FRA and report on the UAPA cases against the tribals. 

Vaibhav G

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Anand in Hafta 446 pointed out that “protests have lost its moral element in the public psyche and things are seen as performance …and earlier there was a moral resonance in protests.”

This, to me, seems to be a mistake to conflate protests with morality.

My question is: Does protest have a moral foundation? Does it only involve a conscientious objector connected to some morality? Which in itself is a negative phenomenon ie, it tells us what not to do than what to do.

Protest forms a part of political action, which doesn’t come from an individual moral actor but a collective group acting for political ends in a political way, an organised minority bound by common opinions rather than common interests (though goals do play a part) to change the opinions or thoughts of the majority.

Aren’t protests in a moral sense unpolitical and subjective? and hence, can’t ever be categorically proven and the same on entry into the public sphere immediately turns into opinions, which cannot be distinguished from other opinions.

The only way to prove moral principles within the public realm is being exemplary in nature, for example Socratic as he said “It’s better to suffer wrong, then to do wrong” or Gandhi’s principle of non-violence. These were proven as they staked their individual lives for the said principle.

Protests are an act of politics, it seems to be an act of dissent not a crime as the actor doesn’t hide like in a crime but acts in the public where his actions can appear, be seen, heard, and judged.

And actors act not out of personal interests but on behalf of a group whose opinions they have in common with.

Karthik Mahesh

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Hello team,

I would like to be a part of the Science Desk as well if there is still space! There is a platform that was launched recently called India Sand Watch that looks very interesting to me.

I enjoy listening to Hafta every week but a lot of times I find myself unable to understand the context since Newslaundry has been my only source of daily news for a while now. Everything else is just so chaotic. The Daily Dose podcast is lovely but I find that the audio format doesn’t work for me a lot of times and is hard to search through later as well. I was wondering if it would be possible to provide a transcript for it. 

I did write last week as well through the form on the website but I don’t think you received it, so writing directly this time.

Thank you for your good work!

Anushka Trivedi

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