Hafta letters: Talking points, empirical evidence and why explore space

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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I’m a big Hafta fan and listen to it every week without fail.

Lately, the discussions have been less fun. I am afraid the conversation loses steam when the issue is compared with something trivial. I appreciate Abhinandan’s humour, but sometimes it comes at the expense of a good discussion.

Also, the follow-up discussion on previous week’s Hafta letters should be kept to a minimum to avoid repeating the same talking points.

Dilbagh Singh


Hi Abhinandan,

Hope you are doing well. I am just writing this to request you to be a little cautious while sharing your opinions on things like Dussehra and Chandrayaan. People who have followed you and NL thoroughly might understand where you are coming from but mostly it is taken out of context and hurts NL credibility. I think Madhu would have advised you the same.

PS: I am writing this after defending you on Twitter after commenting on one of the posts of the “esteemed” Swarajya editor Swati Goyal Sharma.



(Proud subscriber and the guy who came from Bay area to meet you in Michigan)


Regarding Hafta 448: Anand said some disparaging stuff about democratic teaching. I understand he’s coming from a specific place. But, just saying, there is empirical evidence that participatory teaching methods work better than one-way communication. And that’s really what’s missing in the debate about teaching which was largely anecdotal. We need to follow the evidence of what works. Recommend checking out some of the work being done at Homi Bhabha Centre For Science Education in pedagogical research.



While Abhinandan keeps decrying the advertisement model and says news agencies who accept ads are all sold out, most of the recommendations that he makes are of the Economist, Planet Money, etc or there are Indian Express recommendations by other panellists. All these organisations liberally accept ads. So are these news organisations also sold out to advertisers?



Hi Abhinandan,

I had to clarify a few things, I am not the Dhiraj who stalks you on Twitter. Haha.

Second, you made my point in the last Hafta. You asked what ‘Artemis’ is. That is where a quick Google search or ChatGPT prompt would have done the trick!

The one thing you did get right was that I am a consultant.

But Udemy and Coursera are online classes to be taken at leisure, costing less than £10, and I know they have lower rates in India. Of course the trick is to buy it on sale to get these deals. Jaago Abhinandan, jaago. They have got great media courses as well.

Please take five minutes to have a look. It will benefit you and your organisation.

You keep saying cost-benefit analysis for a whole lot of things mate. A cost-benefit involves “return on investment” in the shortest time period. With other countries lining up to use Indian space equipment. In absolute terms unless you have social benefit parameters to override the costs, no way space will be beaten.

Best wishes,

Dhiraj Krishna kumar


Hi Newslaundry,

I subscribed a few weeks ago, and to be honest it’s Manisha’s repeated rant that made me do it.

Love your Hafta podcast, and the Dhritarashtra-Sanjay samwads are my favourite.

Few suggestions:

Please try bringing in as many experts as you can on the issues, because that makes the discussion very interesting and insightful.

Second, there are many issues other than politics, like issues related to finance, tax and development, that can be taken care of.

Recently, Hafta has become too much about Modi and the opposition. And you just forget about other things. Rest, keep the good work going on.

Regarding the screening of the documentary on Ravish Kumar, try organising one for your Bangalore subscribers too. The Koramangala Club has an auditorium, and can be a good place. Also, many well-off people come there, so, good chance of getting new subscribers.

Good luck!




Hello all!

I have been a very happy Newslaundry subscriber for the last three years. I have been living in the US for the last 11 years, and particularly, over the last two-three years, I have been listening to Newslaundry (I mainly listen to Hafta). It has provided a very good overview of all that is happening in India. I sometimes also watch Newsance, in which Manisha does an excellent job. I will try to watch that more frequently as well. 

Keep up the good work. I have meant to write a bunch of times before but never did, so this is the first of many hopefully!

In the last few episodes there was some discussion on Chandrayaan. So, I will attach this very nice 1970 letter called “Why explore Space” by Dr Ernst Stuhlinger. The scientist wrote this letter in his reply to a nun who had asked him why one must explore space when there are so many hungry children on Earth. A lot of those reasons are still relevant.



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