Hafta letters: Palestine and Zionism, college events, natural resources

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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General point about NL Sena. If there is a project that can be anticipated, then it should be set up a while before the actual need, so that people can spend a fixed amount of money for multiple months. For instance, NL-TNM fund was opened up in October. But it could have been opened a month or two before. Also, it is better to break down a big project into smaller ones so that funding can be simplified (not an issue of transparency). If you know elections are happening this year, regardless of when the dates are, you can make some estimates and set up a fund for the future (Just a suggestion, not sure it would work or change things). By the way, great work on election coverage, I have contributed to the project. Please keep up the good work.



Loved the Newsance show on the Indian coverage of the war in Gaza. What blows my mind is that on the other hand The New York Times, WSJ and others were doing such amazing news stories on breaking developments. Anyway, my question is – when can existing subscribers upgrade to the TNM plan seamlessly (hopefully) . Manisha is very Jon Stewart-ian in her takedowns, please keep it up.

Ganesh Kumar


(Hafta 461)  It’s honestly puzzling to me that people love destroying natural resources knowingly and deliberately when it comes to religion. Haridwar is the crown jewel of examples. People pollute the Ganga vehemently, throw all sorts of garbage in it, then bathe in it with their kids. I recently had to go there reluctantly for asthi visarjan. My family, full of doctors and scientists, had this to say when challenged with published levels of fatally harmful bacteria in Ganga – “it’s flowing water beta, it never gets polluted. It is medicinal, let’s drink that dirty dark brown Gangajal in the name of God.” Instead of funding the openly casteist industry of death, I wish our people had the sense to give all that money to schools, hospitals, farmers or forest communities. The onslaught of people going to the mountains to suck nature dry in the name of tourism and religion is nothing short of colonialism in my opinion. By the way, Manisha, excellent to suggest a psychologist for Palestine discussion!



Thank you for the article on AMU, which I’ve been seeking since Raman ji’s mention in Hafta. The suppression of protests and dissent at AMU through FIRs is appalling yet unsurprising. Reflecting on my time in an IIT, similar situations occurred, with abrupt cancellations of lectures by Irom Sharmila and Dhanya Rajendran. Regrettably, I didn’t stand against this. Such suppression of student voices, which hinders their awareness, is a grave concern. This hidden suppression contributes significantly to government propaganda. This is evident in the routine from the G20 logo in all administrative emails to the glorification of trivial achievements.

We urgently need more open discussions like Manisha and TNM’s interview at Osmania University. Do you have similar events/sessions planned? One easy way is to hold the subscriber meetings within a college. Counteracting the prevalent propaganda is essential for fostering well-informed, critical, engaged citizens!



Hi NL Team, firstly, I want to express my gratitude for the exceptional work that all of you have been doing. I’d like to specifically extend my appreciation for Jayashree’s work and voice within the team. While opinions may vary, I genuinely believe that the work you are doing is fantastic. After listening to the last Hafta episode and reading the article titled “Fools Rush In”, the points you raised strongly resonated with me. Differing opinions are inevitable, but rest assured, there are many of us who appreciate your perspective. However, please do consider doing a piece if you are at all invited to North Korea! All in all, the diverse range of voices within the team just make NL Hafta exciting and interesting to listen to. Keep up the good work!



Hi Abhinandan, you were asking why the topic of Israel and Palestine is so popular and widespread, I think one of the reason is that because of social media the world is able to see a genocide being done by some of the people who earlier faced the same genocide. This also points to how hypocritical are the rulers of Arab nations and how phoney is the stand of Western countries who call themselves the torch bearers of justice, human rights, democracy and all things just and righteous.



Hi Hafta team, long-time subscriber and Hafta fan. Love the podcast. Special shoutout to Jayashree who in my view is the only person yet to not have a bad take on any issue. And now that she got a new mike, the world can hear her exasperated “tch” sounds in HD. (As someone who’s been on the receiving end of these “tch”s from fellow South Indians a lot, I’d like to offer a rough translation to the northies on the panel. It means “you’re not getting this are you?”)

In last week’s Hafta, Manisha said that criticising Israel’s attacks on Gaza is valid, but does not need to be followed up with (and I quote) “Zionism is the evil here and Israel has no right to exist...” kind of rhetoric. I don’t get what it means for a country to have the right to exist, and I frankly don’t want to waste time discussing Israel’s (or India’s, or Azerbaijan’s) right to exist. My focus is on the Zionism part.

I pulled this straight from Wikipedia’s definition of Zionism: a nationalist movement that emerged in the 19th century to enable the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.

Does Manisha agree with this? If not, could she elaborate on her understanding of Zionism?

I think this is probably the most succinct definition of Zionism one could come up with. And as benign as it sounds to some, implicit in this definition is the establishment of an ethno-centric state that excludes Palestinians.

If I’m mistaken in the conclusion I drew from this definition, I would appreciate it if the panel could educate me.

Keep up the good work.




Hi, I’m a long-time subscriber. Regarding the analogy Abhinandan used with section D students, I was a section D student and I completely agree!!! From my limited understanding of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, one reason why people in India are jumping to take sides is that some of them, if not most, see it as a proxy for Muslims against another religion (Jews here), similar to what we see here now. Last, I love listening to Hafta. It’s like a great book or a movie, though I get to hear it weekly. I still remember the joy of finding it for the first time and I envy people who are gonna hear it for the first time.



Dear Newslaundry podcast team,

My name is Haneen and I’m a politics student at King’s College London. One of my professors – Dr Jerome Gunning is an extremely learned academic on the Palestine conflict and can provide you with information on practically any and every aspect of the issue possible. I heard the recent Hafta podcast where Abhinandan was speaking of inviting speakers for this topic and I thought immediately that Professor Dr Jerome would be a good person for that. His email is [removed].

Haneen F 


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