Hafta letters: Native languages, employability, Tata controversy

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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New year greetings. I wish you more subscribers and improved journalism.

In continuation to last week’s letter on the root causes of unemployment in India, I mostly agree with what you have said regarding the investment in the private sector. Can people be employed in the private sector if they have technical skills but lack the knowledge of English? Take the example of our biggest IT service sector. Who are they serving mainly?

Do foreign investors care about services for Indians in their native languages? As Abhi said, if there was as huge investment between 2012-2014 in media/journalism, would all those companies still survive only by relying on English speaking Indians? Would the NL model survive if you work mainly in Hindi, given the majority population. Or is it that the money is only with English speaking Indians - where all the market lives! Can we say that the K-shaped growth is basically English speaking vs the rest? Coming back to the root cause - education in native languages.



I would like to point out two recent examples of prejudice against the current government in the NL Hafta panel. Couple of months ago, Abhinandan was berating that our sports ministers don’t play any cricket but meddle in it. Let me inform you about the illustrious career of our sports minister Anurag Thakur. He started as a cricket selector of Himachal Pradesh despite his father being the CM of the state. He then fired the captain and selected the best player around as the captain: himself. Then, he duly scored a 0 and retired. This is only a small part of his legendary sports career which Abhinandan and others should learn about before making the irresponsible statements in Hafta.

Secondly, when our PM in 2019 said that selling pakoras should be considered employment, everyone had a laugh at his expense and moved on. Now that Anand described the phenomenon as a crisis of aspiration and ambition, it suddenly becomes intellectually interesting to discuss over multiple Haftas!

Mohit Singh


Hi there,

Apologies for extending the employment debate! But I wanted to put this out.

Mr Narayan Murthy - I pity him. He has been propagating this bullshit about the unemployability of graduates and others for a long time now. And his views are parroted by other honchos.

Some homework - Take five companies including yourself if you want to.

Take a TOI and say The Guardian UK and check what kind of training and learning is provided in the first five years of employment and then say 10-15 years.

If you find that better T&D (training & development) was provided in India and despite that the people are unemployable, then I shall cede. I am talking only about unemployability and not unemployment.

Who will spend so much? Isn’t it?

Then Infosys should stop comparing and crying about the available pool of talent without T&D in India.

On another note, sorry to hear about the demise of daily dose.

Since you already have a team, can you make it weekly or even a monthly recap. Will make a great podcast.

Dhiraj Krishna Kumar


Regarding the conversation about local language signboards, I believe it might pose a challenge for Hindi speakers to get the nuance. As a third-generation Mumbaikar with a mother tongue other than Marathi, I can’t speak definitively for other states. However, I’ve often sensed among Marathi speakers a perception that for others, Marathi – a profoundly culturally rich language – is merely a tool for communicating with labourers or domestic helpers. Being a Marathi speaker is sometimes regarded as inferior. Introducing local language names on signboards is a way to assert the language’s significance. Interestingly, despite this being viewed as a nativist stance, objections to English signage are almost nonexistent.



Hi team! Great podcast!

I’ve been following NL for the past 2–3 years. I used to rely on gift subscriptions for access (as I was a student). I made a promise that, from my salary, I’d subscribe to NL. I’m happy to see my Rs 3,000 being put to use!

Abhinandan believes that “a large chunk of the population doesn’t subscribe to the Sangh”. Please help me find them, because day-by-day it’s getting tough to even sit with friends. It's always a chest-thumping conversation about Modi or the Hindu identity. I don’t see BJP going anywhere now. They are changing history as well. The Babri demolition is lost in the dark, and I do feel the same for the secularism ideas that were forged during independence. I have grim hopes for the INDIA alliance to win; what do you think? Whom will you go with, electorally speaking? Because it’s imperative for them to be thrown out, only then narratives can be reversed. I hope it’s not NOTA.

PS: Can we have a video format of this podcast on the application?

Anirudh Singh


How does our PM garner such a major army of celebrities/sportspersons to speak out in support of him? Even if for a second we keep what the Maldives minister said to one side (it was abhorent), the ability to almost martial these many social media bigwigs at the drop of a hat is a big thing. 

Why are they doing this though? Is it personal interest? Is it fear? And why has no other political party gone down that avenue and shore up support this way?



I wanted to express my genuine appreciation for the insightful discussions and the ending with recommendation and the song. This week’s song 'Aqsa beach' was quite humorous and perfectly complemented the discussion. 

Chacha with ‘chai’ and ‘bhai’ will be happy. ;) 

 You guys put a lot of thought into curating the whole show.



Hello Team,

This is regarding Hafta 466 where you discussed the issue of TATA paying militants. During that conversation, Abhinandan compared Newslaundry’s situation to TATA’s. In this comparison, you have missed one critical detail. A company owner has responsibilities towards two major communities. First, are the customers and second are the employees. If the quality of the product is not compromised during the said transaction of protection money then the responsibility towards the customer is fulfilled. So, TATA shouldn’t close the business and make people unemployed. It is the extra cost they have to pay and can recover from customers. In Newslaundry’s case, the government wants to compromise the quality of the product, so Abhinandan’s decision to close the business and make people unemployed is justified. The more balanced comparison would be that If the government decides to tax Newslaundry more by 5-10 percent in return for letting you run the business, then you can compare your situation to TATA. So you will increase the subscription fees by that much amount and business as usual. So, my final feedback to Abhinandan is that being a CEO you should always put your product before your morals. I know paying militants is against morals and the constitution but everything is not perfect. A company’s first duty should be toward their customer rather than an individual’s morals. Keep doing the good work.



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