Hafta letters: Modi rajya, farmers’ agitation, Israel-Palestine

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
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I’m intrigued by the trend in Bollywood over the past decade, where a significant majority of big-screen releases, including films like Pathan, Tiger 3, Fighter, and Article 370, along with forthcoming ones like Yodha, heavily feature themes of hyper-nationalism, patriotism, or religion. It seems the industry is moving away from authentic storytelling. I’m curious about Raman Sir’s or any panel member’s views on whether Bollywood will continue to serve as a political tool, especially with election-oriented releases like Yatra movie in Andhra Pradesh.

Lastly, I wonder if there’s been any analysis on the political inclinations and expectations of the 18-28 age group regarding the 2029 elections. Are they being exposed to a diverse range of political ideologies, or is there a predominant lean towards right-wing politics?

Thank you for considering my thoughts and questions.

Jeevan

***

It’s surprising that in H-473 and H-474, there was a complete disregard for 20th-century history as panellists discussed collectivisation of agriculture and price control as if they were novel concepts. The USSR, China and even the African nations have implemented these policies, leading to disaster, famine, and poverty. Almost like politicians in Bihar and elsewhere advocating for liquor bans seem oblivious to past failures. The US prohibition era in the 1920s resulted in the growth of mafia and black markets, like the consequences seen in Bihar.

Moreover, the discussion overlooks the lack of innovation in agriculture, particularly in India, and to some extent even in Europe. Uncertainty in any industry can only be reduced by technology: fintech (contract farming, futures trading), biotech (GMOs) and advanced irrigation, automation etc. Government controls hamper these innovations; not markets.

Can you Imagine NL without market-funding and with price controls? It would be Prasar Bharti.

Uddalak Aruni

***

Hiiiii NL team,

Thank you for the fantastic work.

Love reading, listening and watching NL Hafta , Newsance, and daily reports. I feel better informed with all the daily reports.

It looks like you have unlocked an achievement, which is a DDoS attack. Someone definitely is upset with you and is spending money to DDoS you 24x7. It's probably an institution with deep pockets. Hats off to Chitranshu and the team on mitigating it.

(The attack might have put a financial burden on you by the web hosting company. I hope the hosting company didn’t charge you for the malicious traffic.)

Thank you Manisha for documenting the degradation of media over the years through Newsance. I am sure, in the future, we will look back and see how the TV media failed a nation.

Keep up the phenomenal work!!

Warm regards,

Srikanth

***

There was a suicide in a Kerala college of a boy who was allegedly tortured by SFI goons after being kept naked and hungry for there days. The Malayalam media ran several stories yet the same was not even mentioned let alone discussed in Hafta. Is it because of bias? Isn't the horrible things happening in Kerala or TN important for your team? Can you let the listeners know how many wrongdoings of governments in Kerala and TN has your South reporter or even your collaborator The News Minute reported on Hafta. And then you say you are independent and unbiased. Non-BJP parties get such kid gloves treatment.

Anonymous

***

Sudipto bhai, please do a video interview series. Ben Stokes maja aayega dekhne!!

Bruised Wayne

***

Regarding the discussion in Hafta 474 and The News Minute chap’s contribution. The whole issue was a complete farce. Positions were made by J & A and it was clear that Mr Mandal had a different position. But he kept arguing about what happened when the Congress was in power and would not just let go. 

Mr Rathi’s video spoke about many reasons asking the question is India heading towards a dictatorship,  whereas both Mr Mondal (not The News Minute chap) in his letter and subsequent video stressed more about what Congress did and that the present government is doing less of it. Is that even an argument? I cannot understand why the discussion was not cut short by Abhinandan. We have heard dissent in Hafta and I enjoy listening to different opinions but this was  a bit too much. The redemption was the clip on Buddha at the end and the relief that I did not need to hear Mr Mandal anymore.

Jaya Aiyengar

***

I had to binge hear some Haftas due to an issue with my subscription, and a few weeks ago, when some of you were sick there was a casual discussion on antibiotics (with amoxicillin thrown in for good measure). I would like each one of you (including any panel members) to answer this question: What is antibiotics and antibiotic resistance? Please wait for responses.

Now, please evaluate how many of you said this: Antibiotics are drugs that are consumed to treat infections caused by bacteria and does not work in case of viral infections such as flu, common cold and such. Antibiotic resistance is resistance of infection causing bacteria against the antibiotic being consumed and is exacerbated by irregular or liberal consumption of antibiotics when not required (such as during viral infections or as a comfort food) and through failure to adhere to the antibiotic dosage plan as prescribed by the doctor to the end.

There is very little awareness about this in India.

Anuni Nonymos

***

Dear Abhinandan, your LTA on Israel-Palestine issue was very disappointing; 1) There was no clarity of the chronology of events. One second you were discussing the October attack, the next you were discussing the Arab-Israeli war. 2) Please compare this to the Empire podcast which gives us a step-by-step context of what happened. MY BIGGEST CRITICISM IS; 3) Extremely biased panel with the exception of Stanley Johnny, who truly gets the subject but is still slightly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. The Israeli journalist has been sympathetic to Palestinians all his life, Indian Ambassador could not give specifics about how Arab-Israeli citizens are second class (not factual). Why could you not find a single person who represented the Israeli state/Jewish nationalist side? None of the views expressed by your panellists were challenged by people sympathetic to Israel. I assure you, there is a WHOLE other side to this story which your LTA missed.

Dr. Skeptic

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Sudipto has got to do video podcasts, interviewing people, because:

  • The way he makes his arguments/points is subtle and grounded in logic.

  • The way he speaks is calming yet probing.

  • He looks dashing.

Rohit Mehrotra

***

Hi Team,

Can you please ask your video editors to add the name of the soundtracks that they are using in the videos or podcasts in the description?

It’s a real pain to search for them via Google or Shazam.

Also, what’s the soundtrack used in:

1. Teaser of Israel and Palestine, and

2. During Abhinandan’s epilogue in Israel and Palestine?

Sourav

***

This is a short follow-up mail to my last week’s letter (reproduced below) on farmers’ agitation. In that letter, I had questioned the basis of agricultural policy expert Devinder Sharma’s statement that average income from farming in India is Rs 27 per day. In response, Abhinandan had quoted the Situation Assessment Survey of farmer households, and the government website that has the relevant figures. If you go through the website, you will find that in 2018-19, for agricultural households, the average monthly income is Rs 10,218. Please note that it is the monthly income that works out to about Rs 341 per day, and not Rs 27 per day as the expert had claimed. Moreover, this number is over five-year-old, and doesn’t tell us anything about income disparity among different agricultural households or regional disparity.

I reiterate my earlier point that while taking up an issue please exhibit healthy skepticism, politely, and explore different aspects dispassionately leaving the viewers/listeners some space to reach their own conclusions. Else, it becomes an echo chamber as had happened with last week’s discussion on farmers’ agitation. As a supporter and admirer of NL’s objectives and passion, I seek your indulgence to say as I see it. Bash on!

Sudipt Roy 

***

Hello, NL team.

I’m addicted to both Hafta and Charcha, and this feels like I’m writing to friends. I’m very sorry about the length of this letter, but it’s hard to be angry in short.

While I completely support Sudipto’s view that Dalits have been oppressed under every ruler, I disagree when he says that Modi and Indira Gandhi are the same.

I was five-year-old when the Emergency was declared, and grew up during the peak of the Indira years. All my life, I’ve seen a robust culture of dissent and protests. As a Muslim, I saw hints of discrimination, but none of my family could have ever imagined the naked hate that we face now. Activists, students, ordinary folk at work - everyone around me is despondent and fearful.

I’m very sure that any child raised in this Modi rajya will have a very different life from mine. It’s FAR from the same thing if you only look beyond your own narrow identity politics, Sudipto.

This is exactly like Sanders supporters in the US, who enabled Trump’s rise by refusing to vote for Hilary Clinton, declaring that they were both the same.

On another topic, I wonder where exactly the Ambanis “rescued” those elephants from. Since Gujarat isn’t an elephant habitat, the animals must have been captured and transported from quite far. How is that legal, or good in any way?

Jabeen Merchant 

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