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Hafta 476: Electoral bonds, BJP candidates, CAA implementation

The podcast where we discuss the news of the week.

WrittenBy:NL Team

Hafta 476

Abhinandan: [00:00:00] This is a News Laundry Podcast and you're listening to NL Hafta.

Angreze News Laundry Apna Chhodte. Welcome to another episode of NL Hafta. We're recording this on Thursday, the 14th of March at 4pm in the afternoon. Let me introduce the panel to you. And then we shall get into what has been making the headlines and the news. It is very exciting news week and weeks. In fact, in the studio with me is Shardul, Shardul Raman sir will be on church this week and Manisha is on leave.

Joining us on zoom from their respective homes is our wonderful, Hi, Jayshree. Hello. Who's joining us from Chennai and Jagdeep Chowkar, sir, who has been on Charcha week before last. This week he's on Hafta. [00:01:00] Welcome, sir. Those of our listeners who have been listening to our podcast consistently for the last few weeks.

No, Mr. Chowkar. Those of you who may not, he is the founding member of Association for Democratic Reforms. ADR was the petitioner in the recently concluded, well, not concluded, the case has another In related matters, uh, about the bonds, the electoral bonds, he was professor of management and organizational behavior at IIM Ahmedabad from 1985 to 2006.

And he's joining us on the hafta today because we will be discussing the bonds because that is some, that ongoing saga has not been finished so far. Also, a couple of announcements. We have a few election fund projects. Thank you so much for all the support that you have given us on the election funds.

The News Minute and the News Laundry will be covering the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections together. Our teams have already started some work. In fact, one of our joint investigations on election funding, uh, you may have seen. It's a four part series. We'll [00:02:00] be doing many more such reports. So I do hope you'll tune You will contribute because you don't take any ads and this election season, you've seen every newspapers full of ads from every political political party.

You can't watch any news without political ads coming. We take no ads political or Mr. Adani's or Mr. Ambani's. Which is why we didn't cover the Anandam Vani, whatever pre wedding extravaganza. So do contribute. It is important to do because when the public pays, the public is served. When advertisers pay, advertisers are served.

Uh, so let's get to the headlines, shall we? Jayshree, will you do the honors please? Yes,

Jayashree: so here are the headlines of the week. The State Bank of India submitted details of the purchase and redemption of electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India on Tuesday. This is after the Supreme Court dismissed the SBSP seeking an extension till June 30th.

So we're expecting these details to be published on the EC website by March 15th, that is tomorrow.

Abhinandan: But some of the arguments given by Mr. Salve were [00:03:00] Phenomenal. I mean, I was just blown away.

Jayashree: In Haryana, the BJP leader Nayab Singh Saini has taken oath as chief minister. This is hours after former chief minister Manoharlal Khattar and all his ministers in his cabinet resigned from their posts.

Yeah. He also won the floor test in

Abhinandan: the state assembly. In fact, the JGP, uh, 6th MLS denied, defied the party whip. Yeah. And they showed up. They basically broke the party. So basically they're saying fixed match hai, fixed match hai. This

Shardool: is targeting the amount of states, the number of states BJP has been

Abhinandan: doing this.

Yeah, it's amazing. Brazen.

Jayashree: On Monday, the union government issued rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act four years after the controversial law was passed. So yes, this is big news. Just. As soon as the electoral bonds news

Abhinandan: broke as well. And the, one of the voices of dissent that's saying the CA is not a good rule law is from Arvind Kejriwal who has pulled off Donald Trump.

They're bringing [00:04:00] rapists and murderers.

So he has done a super googly of everyone's opposing, not everyone, but the ones who are opposing it. Like apparently Delhi University, there was a protest of some students who were not allowed to protest. Uh, ironically, they were not to protest against the CA, but people who are protesting against KGW being allowed to protest.

Uh, who are not from, uh, you know, who are like refugees, but, um, everyone's, you know, saying that it is bigoted. It is, you know, inhuman, et cetera, et cetera. He has gone to the other side. He says, let's dehumanize.

Jayashree: Okay. Meanwhile, I think, uh, West Bengal, Kerala have all said, They will not implement in their state, but also, I don't know. I mean, it's symbolically, it's a great thing to say, but at the end of the day, I think citizenship is domain of union government.

Abhinandan: No, although there was in the earlier draft, uh, the first, uh, I mean, wherever you appealed or you asked for citizenship, it was at [00:05:00] the state level in the final notification.

That has been removed. So earlier, actually, if a state said we will not do it, they could because the first application would come to them. But now with that being removed, they are out of the picture completely.

Jayashree: Yeah. Now they're saying the applications, I think, will be processed by the postal department and by census officials.

And security check will be done by the intelligence bureau. So, the

Abhinandan: funny thing, the scope for

Shardool: local cops, funny thing is Modi ji came to government saying that minimum government and maximum governance, the government and scope of corruption is increasing every day. Now, post office

Abhinandan: will do it, right?


Jayashree: Anyway, so a high level committee on one nation, one election chaired by former President Ramnath Covind has presented its report to President Draupadi Murmu. So it recommends holding elections in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies together as a first step. Municipal corporations and panchayat elections will be synchronized later.


Abhinandan: Which, which actually, which also doesn't make sense. I was seeing, uh, in fact, we'll get a choker subs. We also in this, I was [00:06:00] seeing, um, Qureshi subs interview regarding this, he says, you know, from the point of view of, you know, holding the simultaneous election, there is a, you can say, okay, fine. It is logistically possible, but the amount of EVMs you'll need, it'll take a minimum of two years, if not four to make those many EVMs because you need more than he says, you need triple the amount of EVMs that you have right now.

That is part one. Secondly, uh, he says, if you want to do this other election, a hundred days, that makes no sense because in a hundred days you have to recreate the entire logistical. So that's a hundred days of 400 days. It has absolutely no impact on cost or convenience or anything. It's logistical chaos.

Yeah, it's a hundred days is two. It's like a full new election. So it doesn't really make any sense. But what is your view on this, sir? One nation, one election, Shoker

Jagdeep: Saab? My name is ep.

Abhinandan: Okay, sir. Okay. EP done.[00:07:00]

Done. Anyway,

Jagdeep: the, I am totally against this one. Nation won election and I had written a 44 page, uh, issue paper for the Hindu Center for Politics and Public Policy about. In 2018 on this issue, the whole premise, uh, that this will reduce expenditure is not only laughable, it is shameful to say that we should have the cheapest possible democracy rather than to have the most effective democracy.

To me, it's a,

Abhinandan: it's a, it's a, sorry, democracy.

Jagdeep: I mean, yes. Yeah. That development and democracy are entities of each other. The money that we will save on elections will be used for development. I mean, I, there's the le, [00:08:00] the less I say about this, the better. Mm. The other issue is that the model code of conduct stays in force and the government cannot do anything.

Model code of conduct only says no New schemes, which have a potential to influence the result of the election should not be introduced. It does not say all existing schemes should be stopped. Right. Number three, they say people get busy in the election when government work does not stop. Who gets busy in the election?

Four or five leaders of every political party. If the election is happening in a municipality in Kerala, the whole central cabinet does not have to go there. There are local people who should campaign in local elections. And I go to the extent of saying that when the ministers, et cetera, whether of the center or the states stop doing their ministerial work for which they have taken an oath of office, they are [00:09:00] violating that oath of office and they should be prosecuted for violating the oath of office.

The whole premise is absolutely crazy and it hurts or it hits against the autonomy of states. These states are an independent chapter, independent section of the constitution. They are semi, semi autonomous entities. They have their own rhythm of the election. And I just don't understand what, I mean, we have one nation.

And we have one election for the Lok Sabha for the nation. We

Abhinandan: already have one election. Yes, 29

Jagdeep: states.

Shardool: And the other thing is in 1967 till 1967, there were more or less one election because Congress was all over. So how do you decide election cycles? Look at BJP, they keep dropping governments. Like, how would you have elections?


Abhinandan: the whole thing that the, when the election [00:10:00] happened, if a, if one assembly gets dissolved, the election will only be for the remaining term. I don't see how that makes sense. So that means if there's, if it falls before six months and there'll be an election only for six months, then there'll be yet another election.

And then

Shardool: would you reschedule the whole nation? And the other thing is let me attempt a bad attempt at humor. I think they're talking about their own expenditure of campaign. They'll campaign all

Abhinandan: together. Also, it'd be a big disadvantage for regional parties because of the purely because the funds, but I have an announcement before we move on.

Uh, you may have noticed the hafta has been free. It's been outside the paywall for the last four or five episodes. Uh, that is partly because we'll not partly almost entirely because we have been facing, uh, DDoS attack. Uh, and we are figuring out where it's coming from. We will be filing a complaint, et cetera.

And because of that, our app was facing some issues. Therefore, we put everything outside the paywall. But now that it is outside the paywall, we are continuing to keep it outside the paywall for another two episodes. So if you've [00:11:00] discovered us through Hafta on YouTube, well, this podcast is a freewheeling discussion on all that made the news, stuff that should have.

Stuff that shouldn't. And it was an exercise in transparency to begin with, so that the editorial and the management team of News Laundry's politics is transparent in front of you. But over the, you know, almost decade that we've been presenting it, many people listen to it as a source of news. So therefore we try to give as much information as possible.

So if you've discovered this, Through Hafta, it is free for the next two weeks. After that, it's going to be back behind the paywall. So do subscribe. It's only 300 rupees a month. We do ground reports. We do lots of podcasts on pop culture. There are Hindi podcasts. There are two English podcasts on specific issues.

We have ground reports. We have video shows. And all this, we do without cash. Any advertising. So do contribute and pay to keep news free. And as long as this podcast is free and outside the paywall, share it with your friends, relatives, et cetera, so we can get them hooked onto this and then they can pay once it's behind the paywall.

On that note, Jayshree, over to [00:12:00] you.

Jagdeep: Can I, can I say one thing before we move on? Please, sir. Uh, I was saying that the so called one nation, one election is a Is an attempt to move towards the presidential form of democracy through the back door. I have no problem with the presidential form of democracy, but if we want to do that, we should discuss that.

And not bring it in the guise of one nation, one election.

Abhinandan: But I had a question, uh, because you know, this is something clearly, it was about centralizing power. If they do one nation, one election, it doesn't actually, it won't curtail powers as it's exists right now in, you know, what's on the concurrent list, what's on the central, what's on the state.

Jagdeep: It will not curtail powers. It is a question of When you have the simultaneous, et cetera, is or one nation, one election is a misnomer. When you have elections in all the states and the Lok Sabha happening at the same [00:13:00] time, the answers are that people will be swayed and they may vote for the same party in both consistency.

Correct. And therefore, the uniqueness of every state is likely to be. You know, overshadowed by a larger, uh, national, uh, uh, narrative

Abhinandan: or persona. In fact, that's the slogan also not double engine key by center and state

Jagdeep: and therefore the power of the states will be curtailed in that manner because the people wielding power in the states.

We'll follow the dictates of the center. Sure.

Shardool: Dilution of local representatives. We

Jagdeep: will be, we will perhaps be back to, if you guys are too young, when Congress had the government in the center and in all the states. So we want to replicate that situation.

Abhinandan: Clearly.

Jayashree: Yeah. I was going to say exactly that, [00:14:00] which is that.

I think the BJP possibly believes the national election and national issue will predominate rather than local ones, right? Yeah. So it's basically a homogenization of national issues with state issues. Pretty much. I should, should also add that last month, Tamil Nadu had passed a resolution for whatever it's worth against One nation, one election saying it was impractical, not enshrined in the constitution.

I think there would be five amendments to the constitution that would have to happen in order for it to take place. But also I think the BJP is brazen enough that it would. So 2029.

Abhinandan: Bad election. That bridge is still some distance away.

Jayashree: Yes. Anyway, on March 9th, Election Commissioner Arun Goyal resigned from his post, days before the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule.

So meanwhile, according to Congress leader Aditya Ranjan Choudhury, the Prime Minister led three member committee has picked former IAS officers as the new election commissioners. This is Gyanesh Kumar and Sukbir Singh Sandhu.

Abhinandan: Um, yeah, and some of the newspapers have already done a profile on him. [00:15:00] Um, uh, Mr.

I'll just check whether it was Sandhu was the one who was, um, set up the, that the Ram Janbhoomi Trust. I did not know that. He was the bureaucrat in charge of whatever department that was at the time. So yeah. That's worse.

Shardool: I just knew that they were bureaucrats in the government when this is like a special

Abhinandan: one.

In fact, he's been reporting to the home ministry for a while before his retirement. Good times for

Jayashree: us in Bangalore. The administration has banned the use of potable water for purposes other than drinking. This includes cleaning vehicles, gardening, construction, entertainment. This is because there is a severe drinking water crisis in Bangalore owing to rising temperatures and a decrease in groundwater

Abhinandan: levels.

So I was reading somewhere that some hotels are offering rain dance and Holi party in Bangalore. Uh, and of course it was a news article that in this time they're doing that. First of all, I don't know when did they start celebrating Holi in Bangalore? Cause I remember when we were in college, [00:16:00] Holi was such an alien concept that Two friends of mine, rowdies from North India had gone to the National Law School in Bangalore, which had just opened, was about three or four years old, and during Holi, they started throwing water.

Their parents are called, college students, that please take your child back. They're suspended for this strange thing they're doing. What is this? This is Holi. There's no one plays here. Please.

Jayashree: In Chennai, when I was in college, we had Holi parties, even though we don't celebrate them at all. No,

Shardool: Holi is fine.

I mean like Your friends are excited. Acceptance of Holi is

Abhinandan: fine in the South. They don't play Bangalore. They don't play Holi. We don't at all.

Shardool: That's not my point. My point. My

Abhinandan: point is still have a party. Okay. So, so it's not like it's being played on the streets. No, no, no, no.

Jayashree: It'll be like very specifically a hotel will organize a Holi party on property.

Because they know people want to get drunk and like play and things. So

Shardool: that's it. The thing is like you accept Holi. Holi, in my opinion, is the

Abhinandan: best. It's the best festival. I

Shardool: agree. But when there is water scarcity,

Abhinandan: right, then don't do it. [00:17:00] Yeah, absolutely. I have no quibble with that.

Jayashree: That's why they're doing it.

No, they know people will pay enough money for the excitement of at least being able to have a rain dance.

Jagdeep: I also want to object to Jayshree saying that people want to get drunk. Getting drunk is not the only objective. So the

Jayashree: Trinamool Congress has declared its full list of candidates for West Bengal's 42 Luxembourg seats.

This was announced at a rally in Kolkata. The Congress has also released two lists of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. Rahul Gandhi will again be fielded from Wayanad. In Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu Desam Party, BJP and Pawan Kalyan's Jan Sena have formed an alliance for the upcoming polls. And in Tamil Nadu, Kamal Haasan's Makkal Nidhi Mayam has joined the DMK alliance.

I should add that he has been given no seats, no ticket, by the way, he will get one ticket for the 2025 Rajya Sabha poll. But for this one, he's [00:18:00] willing to sit it out. He said that he's doing it for the welfare of the

Abhinandan: country or something. Somewhere there is some welfare because clearly in Bengal, the whole alliance didn't work.

It's gone. Then the

Jayashree: Madhya Pradesh High Court has ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Bhojjala Temple cum Kamal Maula Mosque. Within six

Abhinandan: weeks. So I'm guessing this is going to happen on every mosque in every state, every notable one, at least, or anyone when it goes to court, if someone goes to court with a, that please do a check of this.

Jayashree: And in Pakistan, the Pakistan people's party co chairperson Nasif Ali Zardari has won a second term as Pakistan's president supported by the coalition in a vote by parliament and regional assembly. And he has

Abhinandan: very magnanimously said that he will not draw salary because of the terrible economic situation of Pakistan.

Uh, I guess not declaring the house he has in London and the billions that he has tucked away. In fact, there was a time where the [00:19:00] speculation was, Zardari was the richest, uh, politician in, in, in all of South Asia. He had even outdone some of the corrupt ones of India, but he will not be drawing a salary.

So Pakistan people should be very happy. Government salary. Government salary. Yes. Now, uh, so let's start off with the, uh, electoral bond issue. So Jagdeep sir, you know, just, I mean, if you could just explain to our audience, one is When Mr. Salve said that they don't have, you know, it'll take very long, all sorts of excuses are given.

Some of them were laughable, but basically the Supreme Court, uh, has is satisfied that fine. You make the deadline. They will put out all the bonds that were sold for how much and the people who bought the bonds right now, which political party they went to will not be available from the website, but how difficult will it be to actually decipher [00:20:00] that for a pool of journalists or regular people, uh, if they want to do that?


Jagdeep: see, the first of all, the first thing that we need to remember that the Supreme Court judgment on 15th of February gave certain directions. The state bank of India in its wisdom or lack thereof decided that they will not follow those directions. They will go several steps further, which will take them three and a half or four months.

They could have gone even a few steps further and they could have said it would take three years.

The initiative and the great desire of the state bank of India to serve the people of India a rose only On the 4th of March, 17 days after the judgment, they didn't say so in those 17 days. And when they said that we want to do this matching, this [00:21:00] matching can actually be done in two days, but they decided to devise a procedure to do the matching, which will perhaps take more than three and a half months.

So Supreme court said, thank you very much. We don't want your, uh, additional help. You do what we had asked you to

Abhinandan: do, which is put out the, uh, the how much has been sold? How much worth of bonds have been bought? By who? Basically.

Jagdeep: Yeah. Number of bonds sold, bought by whom in what denomination on what date.

Okay. Right. So, and, and parallel information. Which bond was encashed by which political party on what date and for how much.

Abhinandan: Right. So I guess if one was to actually, and you know, just to tell our viewers, uh, the news minute team, the news team and the scroll team, the three of our reporting team are together, uh, all set.

We're going to try to decipher all as much as this as possible, [00:22:00] because I think they are foreseeing about 22, 000 names being dumped because those are the 22, 000, 26, So, uh, group of 25 reporters has already been put in place as soon as the information is out there between Scroll Newsman and News Laundry, our reporters are going to be working together to get this

Jagdeep: information.

Let me, let me now tell you, it is not only the three of you, the reporters collective have put out a news, uh, electoral bond tracker, right? And there are several other organizations. Not necessarily in journalism, if I may submit, there are also organizations like ADR who are planning to do this. So tell me, tell me some, no, no, no.

And also the so called mainstream media such as the Hindu, the Indian Express, the Times of India. Everybody's sitting on it. The first thing that will happen is that the election commission website is going to crash. Yes. When it [00:23:00] gets up, then the action will

Abhinandan: start. Now, tell me something, sir, would it only be circumstantial?

For example, this, the information you get is that which party in cash, how much on what day? On what day? Who bought how much? So I guess it's only circumstantial to say that suppose Shardul bought an electoral bond on the 1st for 5 crores and I and cash something on the 2nd or crores. It is probably that that has come to me, but it won't be conclusive, right?

It will only be circumstantial. Whatever

Jagdeep: information will be conclusive, it can never be right. Nothing can be conclusive because Shardul after buying the bond could have given to Jayshree. And I said he could have given to me and I could have given to XYZ and then that XYZ could have given it to you as a political party.

Right. So there is going to be many such things. But while we look at what are the drawbacks or the pitfalls [00:24:00] in this so called matching, we should also remember that the window between a bond being purchased and the bond being redeemed is only 15 days. Right. And the location where a bond is bought and where a bond is redeemed also has some information value.

So what exactly would be possible to do And what exactly would not be possible to be done. And only be known when we physically had in possession of that data before that it is all speculation. And I can give you thousands of permutations and combinations, which can reveal X, Y, Z, and which can hide ABC.

All this speculation is actually not leading us anywhere. We have to hold our horses, wait till the data becomes available, and then look at it and try and find out [00:25:00] what we can make of it, rather than what a lot of people today are doing is what we cannot do with it. Right. So, and that will happen only when we have the data.

So let us see, there is a company which has got a 10, 000 crore contract. And that company made a donation. Uh, of a significant amount a week or 10 deals or a month before. So all that will have to be correlated. There will be donations made possibly by shell companies, and it would have to be found out who is actually behind the shell company by, uh, the expression goal lifting the component.

Well. Hmm. So a lot of things can happen and we will have to then focus on what we can get. In case there is some major roadblock and nothing can be found out, then, of course, the Supreme Court is always there because the fundamental rationale of the court in a judgment was elect the [00:26:00] electors must know who has given how much money to a political party.

That objective will have to be met. If it cannot be met by the modalities listed out by the court in its order, then new modalities will have to be worked out. Then the court will have to permit that.

Abhinandan: Right.

Jayashree: Right. Out of, out of curiosity, this, um, so electoral bonds, but they wouldn't be safer. The BJP, for example, they wouldn't be their primary.

I mean, they'd be a much smaller source of their funding, right? There are likely to be much bigger ones that. We wouldn't really

Jagdeep: know. No, that is another, uh, huge story. The secretary to the former secretary to government of India who started this bond scheme, Subhash Garg, is on record saying only five to seven percent of the money that is used by political parties is ever declared.

Jayashree: Five to

Abhinandan: 10%

Jagdeep: ever. Five to seven. Five to seven. My God. I was on a discussion with [00:27:00] him, with . He said this in my presence. Hmm. Though electoral bonds are a part of that five to 7% right there. There is a huge. You know, 200 ton elephant. We are only looking at one 10th of its tail.

Abhinandan: Yeah. And just imagine that the size of the political economy is just enormous.

But, uh, you know, the last time when we recorded this thing, this was the judgment had just come out. And I think, uh, Jagdeep sir was on Charcha that week and General sir was on Hafta. Yes. And, uh, I mean, there was, I mean, one was foreseeing that they will try to dither and they'll try to get out of it. But I think generally Vendulsa was quite confident that the Supreme Court would prevail.

But from here on, what are the, by the way, did Shardul, Jayshree, did you see the court proceedings? Did you see Mr. Salve arguing? You did? Yeah. So your takeaway is [00:28:00] Shardul, why don't you go first? Then we'll come to Jayshree. I

Shardool: have so many things to say. Please do. Initially, I was. Like everybody else, like, like most people, very offended and, you know, sad and sad is not the right word, but dejected that look at what SBI is doing.

But then I was happy for the look at the balls on these people. This is the highest tier of hierarchy in India. The Babudham. Essentially, they were telling Supreme Court, Come after lunch.

Abhinandan: That is

Shardool: exactly what they were doing. That's what SBI has been doing to people all along. They were telling Supreme Court of India, Like, the gall on these people is amazing.

And for once, it was out in the open. And court said it, like, We never asked you to match it. And Harish Salve, he didn't look like Harish Salve, he was looking like Harish Salve, but he didn't sound like him, because generally he makes very, like, cogent and intelligent arguments. And he said, my lord, we will [00:29:00] not be able to match, and Justice Gawai sort of interrupted him, we never asked you to do it, the judgment precisely says what you have to do.

Jagdeep: Uh, SPI must disclose details of each electoral bond in cash by the political party, which will include date of in engagement and denomination of inach of each bond. The only problem, which we are now trying to collate the information and create it because well not, we are having to actually reverse a whole process.

If you see the directions, which we have issued at page 76, ot, we have not told you to do the matching exercise. We have asked you for a plain disclosure. Therefore, the ground on which you seek an extension

Shardool: of time to make

Jagdeep: the disclosure. Does not accord with the directions

Shardool: in the judgment at all. The other thing is what, what Joker sir said, irrespective of who bought the bond.

So there are angles there. It can be a legit buy or illegitimate buy. Illegitimate buy can be a shell company or just random representative, which we have seen so many times. Our politicians are not smart. They are just organized. So maybe it's a [00:30:00] carpenter. Maybe it's their Mali.

Abhinandan: But even during that entire that Vasu NDTV, when they had done that story on Gatkari's companies, it was a drive.

The directors were drivers. Yes. So

Shardool: this is a problem. The other thing is I was listening to somebody from ADR. I don't know which program and who was that, but it was not Joker sir. That the electoral bond is like a bearer bond essentially. And it had a hidden number which could be read under the UV light.

Right. But they are not mentioning it on the data. They're releasing it. That number is not mentioned.

Jagdeep: So

Shardool: have they destroyed those bonds? Because we should not make like,

Abhinandan: so after it's been cashed, I mean, is there any record of that number is what you're saying? Alphanumeric number. The question in

Shardool: my head is like Joker server saying, let's say we are not able to find out.

And it again goes to court. Have they destroyed those bonds physically? Because otherwise they can be read.

Abhinandan: Right. So that, that if, and if they have, then there's no way of really knowing which bond [00:31:00] can be matched with, otherwise it's

Shardool: all conjuncture and understood. And one last thing, and I'm really happy about for once in this country, people would be applying their minds collectively.

A large number

Abhinandan: of people. Yeah. I think that is what's most exciting. The collective action of different organizations, teams. journalists, academics, you know,

Shardool: and all of us who fancy ourselves as Sherlock Holmes or Edgar

Abhinandan: Allan Poe. I think that's fantastic. I think because that is something that was missing in our general overall social and political discourse of different teams working together for something.

I think after a long time, something like that is happening. Jayashree, your takeaways from what we have seen in the Supreme Court play out?

Jayashree: I mean, I think it went along expected lines only. I think I Did, I was surprised that the court finally, uh, which has sort of steadfastly stood behind the government in so many issues of importance, I was surprised it made a very correct and democratic Sort of decision, which is great.

So, you know, shouldn't critique it. Uh, on the court hearing, I mean, I saw something funny online, I [00:32:00] think, which said, you know, so as we are saying the PDF file file needs a password, what does the password will be shared by our website and the website OTP. Then to get an OTP, you'll have to have a phone for the phone.

You need an app for the KYC. So finally at the end of the day, the Supreme court will have to go get its KYC details and then you'll get it. So basically the FBI tried its best just to slime out of it. And you can see what a dishonest plea they were making. I mean, this entire thing about information silos and all that, that's absurd.

And then as soon as the court said no, it produced the data very promptly. And it has produced data very promptly also in the past when the union government needed it. So why was that plea filed at all if the data was ready the very next day? I mean, this is just sort of attempts to conceal, and I think these are the questions that, you know, the media should also be asking.

Um, also, I feel like there are, I mean, I know everyone's very excited, and we're wondering what form this data will take and what patterns will, you know, sort of identify, but I feel that there are so many, you know, Small stories that are going to come out like the very one, for example, will be the IFP agro in Calcutta, which has said now that it's [00:33:00] paid 40 crores in electoral bonds in the first nine months of 2023.

And this amount is three times it's after tax profits and it's disclosure to the National Stock Exchange had said that, uh, This was done in the best interest of the company due to excise related issues that the company is failing. Oh God. There's even a video from the, there's literally video from the AGM where the Joint Executive Chairman, um, Bikramjit Nag is saying, we bought bonds on instructions from the government.

It's something that we as a company have not done before, but we have been made to do it. And this is public information. There is a copy of its letter to the National Stock Exchange. And this is just one of the very, very, very many I mean we're focusing obviously on the BJP because it's gained the most but I think there's so many stories like this and I think it's well worth remembering that even the parties that we all Admire and respect or whatever, everyone has benefited from electoral bonds for sure.

Sure. Every single party

Abhinandan: except the ccpm. So the ccpm is the only one. In fact, on a related case, this, the president of the Supreme Court [00:34:00] Bar Association, A yes. Oh my God. Who wrote that? President. That guy is nuts And, and such a point is, and yesterday, Vishnu, and we did a full, you know, discussion on this with him sitting there says, I have not written this on behalf of.

Bar Association. This is my personal capacity, or I can do whatever I like. What a, what a side show, a relevant show. But

Jayashree: they were trying to make, but anything you need to know about that guy can be summed up by the fact that he has written Co-authored a book called nmo, a Charismatic and Visionary Statesman

Abhinandan: Okay, so we must, I think that tells you everything. So basically, so many

Shardool: oxymorons in one title,

Jagdeep: Iman, if I may use the term loosely, , is also. He claims to be the president of something called the All India Bar Association. And the letter that he wrote was on the letterhead of the All India Bar Association.

Right. He also happens to be the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. And below his [00:35:00] signature, he had written, uh, president Supreme Court Bar Association. There are 150 odd members of the Supreme Court Bar Association. I have written, uh, to the executive committee and they have suggested a resolution that he should be removed from the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Oh dear. So it was not that he was doing it in his individual capacity. There is some institution called All India Bar Association of which I am not aware. Although I am a member of the Supreme Court Bar Associations and the Delhi High Court Bar Associations. But I have not heard of this All India Bar Canfield Association or whatever it is.

So he holds another office and he tried to use that office. And let me, let me add here that what the logic he has given is that people who made these donations, uh, assuming that they would be confidential because that was the law at that time, their right to privacy is now being infringed [00:36:00] because the law has changed.

Now this question had been raised even earlier in some discussion with me also, and I've said it on record that anybody who feels. His or her privacy right to privacy has been violated is actually within his or her rights to go to the Supreme Court and say, this has happened and I should be given relief.

Nobody can do it on that person's behalf. This is an individual or a corporation which is a artificial individual. The person who has suffered has to go and complain. You can't file a PIL on this. So what this gentleman did was to take up this cause in what he thought was a formal way and a big way. But as far as I know, nothing seems to have been

Abhinandan: happening to it so far.

And even the president doesn't have the authority to just stay a Supreme Court order. There is no such provision also. No, [00:37:00] no. He,

Jagdeep: what he has asked the president to do is to make a presidential reference to the Supreme Court, which is allowed under the constitution. The president can refer a legal matter to the Supreme Court for the Supreme Court's opinion.

Right. President cannot stay a decision. There's no question. Right. President also will make a reference when the president sees some merit in the suggestion. Yeah.

Abhinandan: But I mean, although of late presidents also conduct is been kind of depressing, whether it is holding up bills, um, or passing the ones with super, you know, Oh, but

Jagdeep: in this issue, let me add the president does not make these decisions themselves.

Yes. President also has a legal advisor and the president would ask the legal advisor what to do with this. And depending, I mean, depending on how good the legal advisor, he should be able to tell her that this is not something you can do legally.

Abhinandan: So I'm hoping next week we'll have a lot of electoral bond [00:38:00] related stories and reports because there's so many organizations, news organizations, journalists, loose conglomerates working on this.

So I think it's going to be a heavy news week. We may have to do a separate podcast just on everything that comes out of the electoral bonds. But, you know, staying with election, um, the. Lists are out in Delhi. The BJP has replaced everyone except Manoj Tiwari. Yes, basically. Yeah. So I'm just wondering, and this question is to the panel and, you know, let's start with Jayshree and then go to Jagdeep sir.

You think a BJP in its third term is trying to say, okay, we've done our, our base is happy. We've cracked that. Now we are, we will show that we also, I'm not going to just be putting out The, the worst, the biggest haters amongst us, because that's a lot of their hate mongers who've been dropped on. There's like, that's about eight of them.

Eight or nine.[00:39:00]

Jayashree: Isiliye

Abhinandan: love jihad karne walon ko love jihad jaisa uttar do.

Jayashree: Apni ladkiyon ko surakshit rakho. Apni ladkiyon ko sanskaarit karo. Apne ghar mein hatyaar rakho.

Abhinandan: And right now more, there will be more. I feel that's a very

Jayashree: optimistic take. My very pessimistic take is that I think the BGP this time is. Trying to set aside anyone or almost anyone who has an established track record and base, and therefore bring in maybe someone more young and inexperienced, mostly because then, uh, the thumb, you know, the thumb of the center is firmly in [00:40:00] place.

And I think we saw that in my deputation Rajasthan after the polls, right. And there were no really established leaders at the helm of PGP states anymore. And I feel this is something that they might be trying this time around also. And I think I will be proven right. But I should say that, uh, In Tamil Nadu, it's all very depressing for the BJP.

I feel like I say this every week, but I might as well. So Modi is coming, I think for the fourth or fifth time. And, uh, so far, nobody has come into alliance so far. So this is like my weekly update on the BJP in Tamil Nadu. So only the Tamil Manala Congress, which is DK Vasan has joined hands with the BJP so far.

So in his previous visit to Tamil Nadu, I think Modi tried to make a little, some overtures to the AIDMK. He used pictures of Jayalalitha and MGR on campaign material, but the AIDMK was wildly unimpressed and has angrily called it cheap politics. So, uh, Rift between them has grown

Abhinandan: even wider. Speaking of, you know, what's happening in the court today, the Supreme Court, the Ajit Pawar versus Sharath Pawar [00:41:00] faction matters in the Supreme Court, right?

Yeah, the Supreme Court told Ajit Pawar that you can't use Sharath Pawar's photo because they were using his photo also in there. I mean, with the election symbol. He said, yeah, you've got the symbol. She was like, you can't say we also use his photo. So, but, uh, That's what you call gut. But Times now is doing its best to, you know, do the BJP campaign.

They did that big town hall with, uh, what's his name? The BJP guy who's supposed to be making the BJP a force. Yeah. The former cop. Annamalai. Annamalai. Annamalai. So they've had this big Annamalai thing. And as if he's like second Modi, the man spearheading BJP's big Tamil Nadu campaign. Push. He takes whatever, uh, Rahul Gandhi to the cleaners.

He was making fun of everyone, all these youths. He says even Stalin was a youth leader. 10 years ago, he

Jayashree: was a former cop. So he's a former cop. So he already has that sort of persona and presence, right? Like the others. He's a bit of a motor [00:42:00] mouth. He says a lot of rubbish. He's very rude to journalists and also he's clever enough to sort of keep himself in the news, but he went on this three month yatra,

Abhinandan: which was, I mean, that's such a big event for him as if like, and I mean, the way the times was pushing it and of course, after saying that Rahul is not a youth leader, Stalin is not a youth leader, he says Modi is a youth leader because he talks the language of the youth.

I don't even know what that means. But anyway, that was that. So what do you think of the list? At least the names that have come out, you think BJP is going for a softer image this time. You

Jagdeep: see, I normally don't comment on individual parties, right? Given what you have said, I think what is happening in that.

BJP is that the central grip is being increased in every state party. You have chief ministers who people have not heard of. So I think it is whether [00:43:00] it is removing motor mouths and bringing good people. I don't know how many of these new ones are going to be motor mobs, right? Number two, this youth business.

It is. I see it as a move towards centralizing the whole thing and nothing beyond that, of course, winning the election is obviously the overall goal. And in that also, I think the the campaign by that party is important. Entirely centrally driven. There is very little initiative with the states as far as I can see.

Abhinandan: Oh yes, absolutely. In fact, Kumi Kapoor's column in the express, I don't know whether you read it this week and that they had a committee for the Lok Sabha distribution out of which I think it has five chief ministers, which includes Yogi Dittinath, it includes Himanta Biswas Sarma. It has five chief ministers and it has Nadda, Modi, Shah.

The chief ministers were kept waiting for three hours. Because the Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah were in another [00:44:00] meeting. So they were, uh, whichever the BJP secretariat, wherever the meeting was, they were waiting there for three hours, five chief ministers, among other people. And then when the meeting started, list was prepared.

Basically, it had already been prepared. Parliamentary board. So, uh, so yeah, I mean, clearly it is already centralized to an extent which, Other than the two big, Mr. Shah and Mr. Modi, no one matters at all. Yeah.

Shardool: I mean, in decision making, yes, but like you'll remember we had discussed on our podcast, like they are, like, if you look at the picture, there are a lot of people who are generally not known in journalistic circles.

They are organizational secretaries, which move from organization to organization. But my, I sort of fall on more, more on Jayshree side, but not pessimistic, more jaded. One, Mr. Modi has been changing candidates since he's been fighting elections every two or three. This is how one, he tries to tackle this sort of anti incumbency and the staleness of the candidate.

[00:45:00] Second, no matter how centralized it becomes, like you understand it more than most people. It is a working Carter based organization. And I know for a fact about Prya, a lot of local people were very unhappy from her. I see. Because there was a lot of organizational fiction within the car. Because I mean, she was not maybe doing

Abhinandan: work or

Shardool: I used to be from Al, but that's X now

Right. But the point is that, that she was not one helping the Carter. And two, she was quite , impersonal, like she was not a pleasant

Abhinandan: person to talk to. But, but I mean, like perma. Yes. You know, what's his name? The guy from Uri Rami Ram Uri being dropped. Hans Raj. Hans Hanrahans was a non performer. I'm guessing he wasn't a motor mouth, but Hegde was a motor mouth.

He used to say all sorts of stuff. No,

Jagdeep: no. The the, the point is what has been just being said, uh, [00:46:00] it is a database party. It is a very disciplined party. Now, how does one enforce discipline and how does rigid discipline compare to democracy? And I have

Shardool: one other sort of guess why they're changing. If you understand how that organization works, like people invest lifetimes, there may be some people, and it is my conjuncture of how I look at the organization.

Once you become an MP and you complete the term, you have pension for your life. People are being settled also. There might be some people like

Abhinandan: that. Sure. Yeah. You have, in fact, other than pension, you also get medical benefits for life, right? I don't know about medical, but Of course, that's huge. I mean, get having medical benefit for life is a big deal.

Is, is is

Jagdeep: okay? No. Let me again. Yeah. I am sorry to disagree with you on almost everything, but people get, uh, people are for life, not for [00:47:00] BJP. They are database for the parent organization for life. Mm-Hmm. not committed to BJP for life. Right. People are known to have left BJP, gone back to the parent card and also moved to other parties.

Yes. BJP members are not for life. In fact, this is another organization is for life. I

Abhinandan: think this is one of the few BJP regimes where the loyalty to the party is almost as solid as a loyalty to the, like often heard about the, Friction between, uh, Atalji's, uh, BJP and RSS, you know, it was not even under harsh tones.

It was reported in papers. Out in the open. It was out in the open. And I guess every BJP since, but this is one BJP where I think that overlap is almost complete and it's not BJP, it's Modi and people have loyalty to Modi rather than BJP. Because he was a pracharak. I mean, yeah, but so was Atalji,

Shardool: right? No, [00:48:00] but like Atalji was a different kind

Jagdeep: of, like he was a parliamentarian.

You have corrected yourself, Abhinandan. The loyalty is not to the party, it is to a person. Exactly, yeah. Yeah, yeah. And a person oriented leadership. Is as far as I know, the anti thesis of RSS

Abhinandan: is the focus. So, which is why they're in this tricky situation where it goes against everything that they stand for, but they've got the most this time than they'll ever get.

Like they've made so many gains. Which is why you keep hearing, oh they're unhappy with him, but they're happy, but they're unhappy, but they're happy, but they've never had it so good. But, you know, just, you know, moving on to, because we have another topic. 15 minutes or so. I just want to get the panel's views on this whole CAA, you know, that has been enacted.

How many, it is only just for our audience. It is only valid. That means people who came in as refugees to India from our neighboring countries, but only minorities, which means non Muslim because Bangladesh is Islamic country, Pakistan is Islamic country, Afghanistan is an Islamic country, um, will be [00:49:00] given citizenship, but, uh, no one after 2014, December 31st, 2014 is the date.

So, uh, now. A, is it an election issue? Can it become an election issue? Well, I understand that it is, it polarizes, but I'm just wondering how many people actually vote on this issue? Is it, are both BJP and the opposition overthinking this as an issue? Or is it one of those things like Kanhaiya had once said?

I think very accurately said that whenever, you know, Modi ji wants to distract everybody from something, he'll just throw football and the main issue we won't talk about, we will talk about something that has no relevance to anything. Do you think CA actually, both, uh, the BJP and the opposition is making too much of something that actually will have very little significance?

In the lives of most people, or even as a voting choice, like even Arvind Kejriwal's doing a Trump, that they are rapists and murderers. And your daughter in law will not be safe if they come [00:50:00] to your locality. How many people are actually going to vote on that basis?

Shardool: In my opinion, this is a way. to mobilize and sort of enthusiasm, you know, fill your carter with some sort of enthusiasm, like we have done it.

Because if you look at it, they passed it in 2019 and the date is 2014, but they notified it in 2024. So essentially 10 years have passed. Anybody who came after December 31st, 2014 will not be covered under CAA and you're notifying it after 10 years. The citizenship time limit is 10 to 12 years anyway in India.

So this is

Abhinandan: essentially useless. The person would have already got citizenship anyway without or with or without this law. Yeah.

Jagdeep: So this

Shardool: is, in my opinion, just For mobilizing their carter and vitiate the environment more because we must accept the hate for Muslims in India has become [00:51:00] mainstream. Yeah, people are so openly talking about these things Which it's disturbing but

Abhinandan: the three channels shows have been pulled on by an association that they are a part of and those guys Still have shows.

I mean it is so brazen that The editor doesn't even feel ashamed that let me take this person off air. I mean, they took Rajdeep off air for a month because he said something about some, something that was hanging in the Rajasthani Bhavan, the portrait about Savarkar, which was untrue. On this, the guys haven't been taken off.

So, yeah, you're absolutely

Shardool: right. It's mainstream. And so they are trying to sort of mobilize, like, charge their, the people who are in

Abhinandan: support of this. Jagdeep sir, what do you think? Is it, is it an issue that impacts enough people for it to be an election issue? It

Jagdeep: depends on how you define an election issue.

I agree with Shardul in this case. It is not an issue on which people will vote for or against a particular party. This is, you know, raising momento. [00:52:00] Raising morale, uh, making people enthusiastic, as you said, uh, mobilizing people and giving them something to feel good about, et cetera, et cetera. This is a.

Uh, mahal hai. It is not a specific voting issue. It's

Shardool: sort of a macabre, sadistic happiness. Those who can attain it with this will do it and they'll be really happy. And it's happening online. A lot of people are really happy and sort of rejuvenated their social media activity because CA has gone. Oh sorry, CA

Abhinandan: has been notified.

Jai Shree, what do you make of it as a No, I mean, news event. I think the

Jayashree: election is already so polarized, right? This is not the issue that is a tipping point. I think the tipping point was reached a while ago. So, for example, I think in Kerala, it is, it has become an election issue in that both the CPIM and the Congress have been holding huge protests and all, but Kerala is also a state where the BJP is Unlikely to score any sort of victory, as in it will be [00:53:00] versus the Congress and the CPM.

So I don't think it will influence the election to that extent. I did want to bring up though the very peculiar, uh,


Jayashree: release that the Press Information Bureau put out 2 days ago. And then I think they deleted it and they put out another version. That was, uh, it headlined. Positive impact of the Citizenship Amendment Act, and it said, so basically it was pages and pages on why Muslims shouldn't worry, it said how they're going through so many perverse things in life, and this is the way to make sure that the CA is here to make sure that they'll be happy.

It was very strange and very bizarre sort of phrasing, but then they deleted it and they sort of replaced it with another more sanitized press release on how, uh, this is just a positive narrative for India. So. I think the people for whom CA matters, I think, would not, are not possibly voting for the BJP anyway.

I don't see this as changing too much ahead of the election. I do think of it more as a distraction with the timing. I mean, you're saying the SBI electoral bonds verdict and then that this came along so [00:54:00] simultaneously. I think that would be more questionable rather than. Will this really take off in any sort of big way?

Abhinandan: Yeah. Also the protests outside Erwin Kejriwal's residence of the, you know, people from neighboring countries who have been demonized by him as rapists and murderers. They were, there are more people who are playing cricket in the park outside than who had gathered for that protest. So I'm wondering, is it, how big is this whole thing really?

I mean,

Shardool: I mean, the refugee problem is a big problem in border state, especially in Northeastern. Sure. That is understandable. The plight of people who especially in Assam were subjected to all this process. The funny thing is that whole circular asks for documents and the law is for those people who don't have documents.

So that's an

Abhinandan: oxymoron itself. There's a, I mean, even with the NRC and CEA, the contradictions that exist are significant,

Shardool: but I forgot what I was thinking. Yeah, it was a 44 page document, but Jashree was mentioning from, from MHA, but they deleted it. I don't know why.

Abhinandan: Clarification of the clarification. So, uh, so [00:55:00] before we say bye to Jagdeep sir, just want to ask.

So our audience, some of you may or may not know, even the rule, that is also a Supreme Court verdict that, uh, anyone who contests an election has to declare, file an affidavit with their assets, liabilities and any criminal cases against them. That was also, uh, following a legal intervention and a litigation that ADR had only initiated.

And now it's the electoral bond one. What is the next big project ADR is working on, sir? Yeah,

Jagdeep: ADR. Takes things as they come. ADR took up electoral bonds because they came. ADR up. When Electoral wants to take them on .

Abhinandan: I see. So anything else

Jagdeep: that we are, no. We are currently following up on the appointment of election commissioners, et cetera.

Mm. Uh, we had filed an application day before yesterday saying, uh, in the Supreme Court requesting that the appointment of these two election [00:56:00] commissioner be held according to the. Uh, Supreme court judgments order, not by the law that was made because we have challenged the law already. And our appeal against our petition against the law is already pending, but that application was mentioned in the court yesterday and the court said it will be hard on the 15th, but the appointment has happened

Abhinandan: today.

Yeah. Very quickly before that could be heard.

Jagdeep: Yeah. So therefore, uh, we are, I think we might file an application. For staying disapp appointments, although that is going to be very difficult. So we will continue to work for the correcting disapp appointments, uh, situation. And we, even the criminalization thing, we have a lot to do because when we started doing that in the percentage of mps in the LB was 25%, then now it is 43%.

So our efforts [00:57:00] are trying to reduce criminalization, have. And opposite results. So we need to do something seriously different and we are working on it and we continue to do things. Uh, I mean, there is no big project identified per se, but we, we, we react to the political situation as best as we can.

Abhinandan: Right. So speaking of the election commission, uh, the team. Um, one of the two, uh, commissioners, which is the Sikh gentleman, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, he is actually a doctor, MBBS doctor and a master's in history. And of course, he's a former IAS, I mean, he cracked the IAS. And the other gentleman, Mr. Gyanesh Kumar, uh, who's a Kerala carder.

He is the one actually who had, uh, who was, uh, I'll just read it out. He played a key role in setting up the she. Ram Janbhumi Teerth Kshetra Trust when he was in the Ministry [00:58:00] of Home Affairs under, uh, Mr. Amit Shah. So these are the two gentlemen. So, unka,

Jagdeep: unka toh naam chahiye aap?

Abhinandan: Yes. So on that note, thank you so much, Jagdeep sir, for all that you are doing, for the work you do and for joining us and always taking out time for News Laundry.

We are forever grateful. Uh, and also I'm sure our audience who are getting This outside the paywall free second appearance by you on our podcast, but two weeks to go after that. We'll be pulling up podcasts behind the paywall. So do share it with as many friends, family, et cetera, as you can till then. So before you say, thank you for being there.

Thank you, sir. And, uh, Uh, any, anything that you think you watched or enjoyed in the last week or two, any film, any book, any article that you want to recommend? Well, I don't see films. Oh, you don't? Okay.

Jagdeep: No, I don't see films. I, I see very few, uh, what I'm reading is something really heavy [00:59:00] and difficult to read.

Abhinandan: Well, we would not expect anything less than an I am Ahmedabad professor, but it

Jagdeep: has to do with the origins of tyranny in the world. Oh, I

Abhinandan: see. Okay.

Jagdeep: It is a classic book by Hannah Arendt. A R E N D T. Okay. That's, uh, that's what I'm reading, but I would not recommend it to too many people because it takes a lot of effort.

Uh, but I, what I want to say is that a lot is happening. Right now in the country, the election commissioners have been appointed today. The electoral bond data will come tomorrow. The elections may be announced any day. So we as citizens have to worry about, uh, as not being misguided or misled. For example, on this electoral bonds issue itself, [01:00:00] the number of times I have been asked, we will not get this.

We will not get this. We will not get this. But nobody has ever thought, what will we get? But the whole narrative is how this is not going to work. Right. We as citizens have to think at making correct things happen rather than thought to prevent that from happening. There is a narrative.

And we have to be careful about. What do we believe I would be an amount of information that comes across, which is, uh, which is incorrect and sometimes motivated. We have these citizens that we very careful all of us. That we don't get misled into things which are simply not correct.

Abhinandan: In fact, you know, I mean, you're so right because there was one, this, um, just today it's been put up on [01:01:00] scroll, uh, the Pew research, which they do at this annual poll of, that 85 percent of Indians support autocracy or military rule shows Pew survey.

So in, in such a listing, one has to kind of try to get public to start thinking that what you can do and what you can change rather than just accept things as they are. And I think this comes from that. But thank you, Jagdeep sir. Have a fantastic weekend and we shall hope to see you around sometime soon.

All the best. Thank you. Bye bye. Bye bye sir. And before we move on, Dhanya Rajendran is going to be in Michigan, uh, in the, in the first week, actually on the 7th of April, and we, she will be having a joint subscript subscriber meet. Of the News Minute and Newslaundry Subscribers and she'll be telling you all that we are planning to do, all that we've been up to.

So do join her on that subscriber meet. Uh, you can mail us at subscription at newslaundry. com if you want to attend that subscriber meet. It's going to [01:02:00] be in Michigan at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor I think it's called where I was last year. Uh, so if you're a News Minute member or a News Laundry Subscriber, do mail us at subscriptions at newslaundry.

com so that we can plan for, However, many people are going to show up. It's a fantastic thing to attend these subscriber meets. You meet a lot of people, like minded people who you haven't met, who you live close by to, uh, it's a great way to spend an evening and to make social connections, especially if you're overseas.

So you have people, you know, like minded people. So you can attend that event and also do chip in to our. News Laundry and News Minute will be doing a whole lot of coverage together. And we have a very ambitious plan. So we need all the resources we can get. So do contribute. Uh, now we'll be reading emails.

We only entertain the emails of subscribers. So if you're a subscriber, you can write in to us at podcasts at newslondon. com. I repeat podcasts at newslondon. com. [01:03:00] Please keep the word count below 150. Many of you haven't. In fact, the first letter is 581 words, or you can just click on the link in the show notes below it opens out this little window and you can just write in your feedback there.

Any criticism you have, critique you have, suggestions you have, appreciation you have, all of that, but you have to be a subscriber for us to entertain your email. Uh, so you want to go first, Jayshree? You don't have to read the full email, which is so long, just the overall what he's trying to say.

Jayashree: So this is from, is it Commander Shepard?

I think it's Commodore Shepard. It is from someone called Shepard. So, your electoral bond articles are really fast and good and what I assume is a low budget, so congratulations. I agree with the host that when criticizing, we must have an idealistic view of the situation. Otherwise, what are we even striving for when critiquing?

It's even more appropriate to criticize from an idealistic viewpoint when the situation has already happened. We have the knowledge and experience from our past to know where it's heading as a collective. Thank you. Coming to the counter that was given to this [01:04:00] argument, it's only appropriate to bring out the past and the things that lead up to it when there's a good faith discussion to solve a problem.

The right wing uses the good faith, good faith practice as a means to dodge accountability and then it just devolves into whataboutism. He's linked to a playlist which explains this in a better way. Also I don't know why no one has caught on to this fact but what's happening in India has already happened in the US.

The only reason this isn't one sided in the US as compared to India is because of their centrists and few leftist propagandists. India has no propagandists on the other side. I know comparing US to India is not correct as regional politics holds more power in India but I want to show how BJP treats its propaganda.

The Sourav's media control is originally anti semitic. It started in the US. The Foxification of Indian media is also taken from the US. And first let me explain about myself so you get where I'm coming from. I got an internet connection during the early 2000s. I like learning new things. The amount of useless things I know scares me sometimes.

I read on world history, world politics, domestic American propaganda for kicks. [01:05:00] I've told my sister many times that Arnab uses American propaganda and just copy pastes it on his news channels. Started with Fox like debates, devolved rapidly post 2014. Your Let's Talk About Israel was very good. I will use it to explain to people the issue.

As you can see from above, I'm not so good at explaining things. One suggestion I would make is to explain and spend more time on the Sykes Picot argument and also the World War I shenanigans. Agreement. That was the moment for me. Sykes Picot. Which

Abhinandan: put everything in perspective. Agreement, yeah. Not argument.

So. Yeah. I can answer that.

Jayashree: We're not done yet. I'm brought out the real fact of the matter, painted the issue more as a freedom struggle rather than an anti Semitic one. Enjoy my zoomer brain fart.

Abhinandan: Thank you.

Jayashree: There's a chaotic but entertaining email.

Abhinandan: Yes, chaotic but entertaining. You were saying? So,

Shardool: uh, Shepard, we did not include World War I, much from World War I and this agreement era because, one, we had limited time.

Two, uh, our guests, the one we conversed with, [01:06:00] did not reflect on this time period because much of it, much of the problem began after World War II. Sure. Thank you. Yeah. This is why we excluded it,

Abhinandan: but thank you. And regarding that, uh, the falsification media, you're absolutely right. That whole that they've just taken Fox and copy pasted.

I think this has been, you know, observed about how a taken it to the next level, but I think more important than that, uh, why I think that comparison doesn't work that institutionally America is extremely strong, which is why I think the, this comparison doesn't work because institutionally America is so strong that.

Someone who is, you know, the richest guy, who is an immigrant, uh, who's not even, you know, Native American, though none of them are, but not even American by the modern American standards, which is Elon Musk, can daily, you know, provoke Biden or, you know, during Trump's time, someone like, I mean, the kind of stuff that they can say on TV, if you said even a quarter, [01:07:00] 1 percent of that here, you'd be in jail.

Not only would your industry be taken over by the government, you'd be in jail. So. Institutionally, media, industry, federalism. Institutionally, America is extremely strong, and no matter how much you may hate it or dislike it, its institutional structures are very solid, which is why it's just not the same.

You can't compare it to India at all. Yeah. I

Shardool: mean, American politics has its own problems, but to say that you can compare it to Indian ones is not right.

Abhinandan: No, no. Also just institutionally why, because you know, specifically talking about the media that you can get away with this, you can get away with that here.

Institutionally, their things are very, the autonomy that, you know, different.

Shardool: The article one, the absolute freedom of speech and the very adherence to individual freedom is a lot there and people value

Abhinandan: it also. Sure.

Jayashree: Yeah, I mean, I think, I think everyone knows how much I hate America, but then you look at things that we [01:08:00] sort of What's it used to in India?

Like, oh, yeah, there's an IT raid on a media organization, you know, people barge in. So, you know, the sort of things that we assume just happens on a daily basis with a government that is angry with media houses of a particular quality. That stuff will not fly. Like, that stuff you can't do. Anyway, the next letter is from Nithila.

Who says, I appreciate Sudeepto's points last hafta. I think he was being misunderstood by the rest of the panel. To acknowledge there is a general trend of psychofancy and dictatorship in history that brought us here is not to say that what is happening now is okay. Nor is it to deny that the scale and methods of today are different.

We like to imagine an India pre 2014 as somehow being more secular and more fair, but that wasn't ever really the case for Dalits, Tribals, or even Muslims really, was it? The ugliness is out in the open now. But that doesn't mean it wasn't under the surface before. Some of it is manufactured, yes, but a lot of it is pre existing.

In general, wanting an end to conflict makes us reach for viable and practical solutions, something familiar that's already [01:09:00] existed. But most times that was never fair or just to begin with. It's imperative that we collectively imagine more just and equitable futures, complex as they may be, given current

Abhinandan: scenarios.

Very well articulated, Nithila. Simply done. In 178 words, Nithila has communicated such complexity. I'm sure you're a Presi teacher. So, please, everybody, learn from Nithila's mail. See, in 178 words, you can make such strong points and so well done. Yes, I agree. Yes.

Jayashree: The next is from Aridaman. Aridaman. Yes. Hi Newslaundry team.

I've been a big fan of your work, a proud subscriber for the last eight or nine years, but something has been bothering me for the last few days. It's the amount being raised for your Sena project, Modi 2. 0 report card. It is 6, 32, 498 rupees. Every time I see this figure, I wonder, why did they not make it 6, 32, 500?

It is just 2 rupees extra. I know I sound weird, but I feel a sense of discomfort each time I see this figure. I keep wondering, why are they not raising extra 2 rupees and making it even? [01:10:00] To the point I am compelled to write this letter and ask for an explanation. Can you please explain how you arrived at 6, 32, 498?

And why you decided not to make it 632, 500

Abhinandan: interesting. I mean, I mean, then it's stumped

Shardool: before you say anything. This letter is such a wonderful window into how human brains work. That shit sometimes just bothers. There is no rhyme or reason.

Abhinandan: Actually, usually, earlier I used to sit on the overall budget, I don't anymore because I always used to round it off.

But I think what happens now is that because I'm CEO and I would just say, okay, round it off to this, if it's come to 632, I wouldn't have done 500, rounded off at 634 or something or the other. I think basically after Chitranshu and the team make the budget, I think accounts adds the 18 percent GST because as we have, we have to pay GST.

Well, Print doesn't pay GST. Anyway, so I think in the GST calculation, all the round figures go off. So rather than [01:11:00] rounded off there, they go with as is because I, but yeah, we should round them off. No, no, it's fine. Why it comes to this is because the, after the rounded off figure has been shown to accounts department, then they, when they do the 18 percent GST addition, then it.

It's no longer round.

Shardool: No, no. We should keep it like that. I am always against uniformity. Meet this

Jayashree: thing. It's beautifully precise. Just 498. Cypria Goha says, I've gotten used to hearing many mispronunciations on NL, such as Wednesday for Wednesday. But why does Abhinandan say Madras with a soft duh? I assume you say Madras.

Madras. Yeah. And why is no one on the panel correcting him? I say

Abhinandan: Madras. What is it? Madras. It is Madras. Madras. It's a duh, not duh. Oh, I thought it. No,

Jayashree: but that is the North Indian way to refer to us as Madi. So I get

Shardool: it. You should not say that. I am becoming tired of the modernization of North Indian, like you're talking about more than 600 million people.

Abhinandan: Yeah, you've done it. You've done

Jayashree: it. All [01:12:00] 600 million

Abhinandan: of you. I am one of them. You've done it. You've done it. No, pick up to you at it. Pick up to back to you. But

Jayashree: I mean, then it's not one of the 600 million because you are half a Madrasi

Abhinandan: Madrasi myself. So, yeah,

Jayashree: you are the closest person to, uh, you're the closest other Tamil person in this organization.

There's otherwise

Abhinandan: just me. That's right. Shit. I should be ashamed. Yeah. In fact, our guest last time was so disgusted when I mispronounced her name. She says, yeah, you North Indians can't understand. Actually, I'm half Tamil. She could not. Radhika Ramaseshan. Yeah, that's correct. Radhika Ramaseshan.

Jayashree: So the another very thought provoking email is from Cyril.

Who says, what is up with the interior design in your studio? Looks, looks like the interior designer, wherever he or she may be, selected the colors right from the German Nazi

Abhinandan: flag. Is that right? Is it black and red? Yes. Oh, is it?

Jayashree: Yes. Yes. On a more serious note, thank you for the [01:13:00] investigative pieces on political funding through electoral bonds.

I hope the SC forces the SBI to reveal all information related to electoral bonds in the public domain. Fingers crossed. The next letter is anonymous. Says you completely glossed over my letter on suicide murder of Siddharth, the student from the Kerala Veterinary College. You may check the story was akin to the Nirbhaya case and made worse by the political angle to it.

You haven't answered how your South correspondent or the News Minute also didn't feel the story was enough to be discussed on Hafta. Please Google the story, it's astounding and so very tragic. Your partnership with the News Minute should bring up the Southern state stories, but this time, as in the earlier times, they are very selective.

Uh, so Well, the News Minute has covered it in detail. Yeah, the I think we republished one of their stories as well. So

Abhinandan: Yeah, yeah, Anonymous, I'd just like to say, you know, didn't mean to gloss over it. I mean, I think your email was accusatory rather than Suggestion. Uh, but I checked the news when it has actually done more than two very detailed reports on this.

So [01:14:00] the news when it has covered it. So it is incorrect to say that it hasn't covered it. Why was it taken up in the hafta again? I repeat, it's a I've read the details of the case. It is a horrible case, you know, but I do think it is not the kind of thing that hafta would take up. You know, because here it's something that has an impact at a much bigger level, whether it is, you know, constitutional or election or secularism as a concept.

But yeah, it has been covered by News Minute. And, and the, the, we'll give links to the News Minute stories on this. Have we republished any of News Minute stories of, of this issue?

Jayashree: I think we republished one this week, if I remember correctly. I need to

Shardool: check though. And the other thing is like Anand has said it many times on Hafta and Shalsha too.

It's just the banality of crime. Like individual crimes are really horrible and, you know, heart wrenching, but there's nothing to discuss about them as such. Right. Of course, there are political angles and all that, but everything is so obvious. It's just horrible.

Jayashree: Right. [01:15:00] Next email is from Prasad, who says a few episodes ago, there was a conversation on how Hafta subscribers are well read and well informed.

I'm guessing the suggestion is hence they are anti BJP, but there must be smart people voting for the BJP as well. I see very few honest assessments as to why the BJP is popular apart from some lazy analysis, like Indians do not value democracy. This feels like Bollywood directors looking down on their audience because their movie failed at the box office.

I'm sure caste privilege, left leaning people like us reading three newspapers a day are not the only saviors of democracy. Also, I hope there are more topics of discussion in Hafta other than the usual left versus right debates.

Abhinandan: So, Prasad, on this, I will cite the Pew Research, the latest episode, the latest version of which is out, a total of 54 percent believe that elected representatives do not care about what people think of them.

85 percent of Indians support autocracy or military rule and the link will be in the show notes below. So, there is data, however credible or non credible you [01:16:00] may consider, that Indians don't value democracy. And as far as, I mean, I think you, uh, might be conflating being literate with being educated. Yes.

Uh, I mean, for me, being educated is being aware of, like, for example, I will not name names, but some of the Colleges I've been to which have technically cracked the most difficult exam there is to crack in the world to enter those colleges are so clueless, it is embarrassing. I mean, I know school children in Delhi who know more about the India and the politics around it than some kids who are doing a, you know, top, like, chemical engineering degree in some of the top colleges in India.

So, it's got nothing to do with science. That kind of, but I think, um, yes, there definitely is a tendency and, and I don't think one, one should actually pretend that's not the case. There is a correlation between education and uh, being aware of your rights, or [01:17:00] seeking accountability from your government.

And I think that it's a way of you get empowered. And I don't think one need to, like, pretend that it's, it's a patronizing attitude. It's not. It, there is a direct correlation there. That's all.

Shardool: So in my opinion, when you mentioned that Pew Research, people in India support this because they don't actually know what it is, how it will be.

And the second part is, um, It's partly, I think I mentioned it in the very first letter I wrote to you that it's a very structure of our society. You are not supposed to ask questions, the amount of beatings I've had just because I asked

Abhinandan: questions. In fact, that's the next mail. Yeah, but the

Shardool: point is like you are encouraged to not ask questions and follow commands verbatim.

And that's a learned behavior since childhood. Most

Abhinandan: people do it. Yeah.

Jayashree: Yeah, so this is the letter. It's also anonymous. Hi Niltim, thoughts from me from the last hafta. Abhinandan said that something about how there's a lack of ideology. He used the example of [01:18:00] Ekalavya and how he gave, he gave his thumb without question.

The analogy was not very clear to me. So if you can explain your point again, that would be helpful. The way I did understand what you said made me slightly disagree with you. I don't think there's a lack of ideology at play here. The Mahabharata, of course, has different accounts of writers perspectives.

I've read it quite extensively. Some say Ekalavya knew exactly why Dronacharya was asking him for his thumb. He could see the malice in his guru's mind. And still he gave the thumb anyway, as he was adamant to follow his ideology. Which we still see today in our culture. Respect gurus, teachers, etc. I don't think it's a situation where he doesn't have a strong ideology.

Drawing a comparison to the current world, what today's ministers lack is self respectation and thought. If you ask them about ideology, they're the first to say Hindutva, or anything of the sort. But then you ask them their position on economics, markets, welfare, health, etc, whether they're religiously left or right, economically left or right.

Socially left or right? I'm sure they won't be able to answer. In fact, I'm sure, I'm quite sure a few of them brand everything as leftist. For example, if you look at the BJP's politics, they may be very hard on [01:19:00] right wing politics on their religious scale, but economically they launch welfare schemes, which may say they are more centrist economically.

But unlike Ekalavya, none of the MPs I feel would be able to have strong opinions about what they actually stand for, which is why we see Hoss trading. Lastly, feedback. Tipani has become very irregular. If you have Avinandan backfiling for Manisha, please shower love on Tipani too and get someone to cover for Atul.

It's the first thing I see on a Wednesday.

Abhinandan: Wednesday. She pronounce it correctly. Oh, Wednesday. But okay, maybe when she's not there. We'll try to convince UL to do pon when Atul isn't around all of this week. Next week I will be doing nuisance 'cause man has on leave on the, uh, you know why It's a regular, uh.

Atul lost his father a couple of weeks back. So he had gone back to his village and his father had been keeping, you know, ill health for a bit. That's why he was, uh, it was irregular. Uh, but on what you said, actually it was the context, anonymous was not ideology. It was, uh, we were talking, Siddhartha and I was [01:20:00] talking about that it is impossible for there to be a revolution, no matter how much injustice we see in India.

It is impossible for there to be a revolution because it is very deeply ingrained in our psyches that this is how it is. And that was the example I was giving, that in our country, people will be okay with Sindhiya, people who are bound to rule will rule, whether it's the British, whether it's the Congress, whether it's the BJP.

Like, all these guys sided with them only, no? They sided with the British, when the British were around, they sided with the BJP, when the BJP was around, they sided with Congress, and all their rulers are okay. I'm saying, if tomorrow Nikki Haley says, you know what, forget it, I don't like the Republicans, I'm going to join the Democrats.

Her voice would abandon her. Yeah. Your people go with you no matter what you do, because they don't think ideologically. They are just sworn to the loyalty of one person, and that is the example I gave. Eklavik should have told him to fuck off. There's no way I'm giving you my thumb. Why should I? But that is seen as something that is great ideologically, like you've said, it's not.

So [01:21:00] that is the point I'm making that it is impossible for there to be a revolution here because the Eklavvya mindset is very deep in us. Like this JJP, by the way, I was wrong, not six MLAs, four MLAs of them defied the party whip. But even if six had, it doesn't matter. And

Shardool: you know, I want to mention this and it's just my anecdotal, Indians do have a tendency of becoming.

self centered really quickly. And I used to give an example, Rick, I used to watch lawn tennis. So Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodford used to be number one for consecutive years again and again. And Bhupati and Leanderpace just came up and gave them Sort of the challenge for a couple of time and their internal frowt was so much

Abhinandan: that the pair separated.

There's a documentary on that also.

Shardool: And I don't understand, but this is a very Indian thing to do, to become very individualistic and not trust people around you, even in your community

Abhinandan: or just your community. I think just the whole of not questioning [01:22:00] authority is, is a follower of the caste system. And therefore, we.

We accept anything that a king does. Um, then Subhash Vankade says, Hello NL team, given the electoral bonds theme, I have an interesting link to share from my news feed. This talks about the EU's new rules of transparency and targeting of political advertising. Please take a look before the episode. Uh, sending a whole team wishes for the spring.

Thank you so much Shubham. Uh, we shall share this with the team and maybe they can watch it. Uh, the link to what Shubham has sent us is in the show notes below. EU

Shardool: introduces new rules on transparency and targeting of

Abhinandan: political advertising. Right. So thank you Shubham. Then Dheeraj says, Hi NL team, loved Sudipto's point of views as a fellow Kannadiga and was happy to hear him talk Tamil.

Next time Sudipto make your points in Kannada. Haha. English, English, Hindi, English. Hi. Hi. India people are not capable of revolution. I am not going to say 1857. A revolution does not need to be bloody. Mayawati, Mamata and even the rise of BJP is a revolution [01:23:00] enough, don't you think? To know more of Hindu atheism, I am not playing with words here.

It is Hindu atheism. Or the more known Gnostic was a philosophy. The etymology of Gnostic will take you to

I'm not an expert, but this is what my research has come up with due to my own aesthetic beliefs. Sorry. Atheistic beliefs. Can you please have a look at ITC's Ichhwapal and does it really work? Cooperative using innovations. About Empire podcast, Sajid William Dalrymple is in Delhi. Only you can collaborate with him also.

No, I mean, sure we can collaborate with him, but he's just the host. It takes more than just a host to do a podcast. The amount of research asked, uh, uh, young Shardul, the amount that goes into it is significant and the Williams podcast is in collaboration with and the rest is history and the resources and the time they take to make a podcast is how much we take to make 10.

So, uh, it's, it's not just [01:24:00] William being accessible to us and he's accessible to us. But you know, to your point, I won't call Mayawati and Mamata revolution in the sense of what, you know, what we were talking about in the context of there being a complete social uprising that is also about an identity.

Uh, Mamata can make her party do what she wants to do. Look at Mayawati. I mean, she has done a disservice to her cause. Like more than any, you know, Savarna, I'd say, in the last five, seven years, but yet her base won't abandon her. So in fact, you're just making my point and 1857 was not a revolution, by the way.

I mean, let's just be clear. I don't blame, you know, Raleigh, Lakshmibai or anyone else for that. They were not fighting for India's independence. They were fighting for their rule because had the doctrine of laps not come in, which was basically that if you do not have a successor, the British will come and take it over.

Yeah. You know, LaVar, British doctor, you know that like they've, you know, everyone is fighting. That we want to be our own kings. They weren't fighting for [01:25:00] India's independence. So let's, I mean, we've been taught the mutiny of 1857. The Pandays, like Mr. Mangal Panday itself, did not decide to do mutiny when they were asked to shoot their own countrymen.

Yes. They decided to mutiny when they were asked to bite a bullet which had beef in it. As long as they were being asked to shoot Indians, they did it. When they were asked to bite beef, they didn't do it. So, this whole 1857 was a revolution. It was Every kingdom was fighting so that they could continue to live lavish lifestyle while their kingdoms were in utter poverty.

So there has never been a revolution in India and there can never be a revolution in India. And I mean, it's too easy an argument to win. I mean, I can just go on and on.

Shardool: No, but here's the thing. We can call it revolution with the benefit of hindsight. They were not doing revolution. That's the point, right?

I think you're trying to make, I want to talk about this

Abhinandan: Hindu. Even in hindsight,

Jayashree: it's not revolution. I mean, he's totally correct. It was [01:26:00] just individuals fighting for their own glory and

Abhinandan: gain. That was

Jayashree: the first thing you're not supposed to say. No, you're supposed to be like, Oh my God, salute our martyrs and all.

But no, at the end of the day, what were these fights about? They were just for their own kingdom. India is a loose sort of amalgamation of. Entities that are sort of brought together by force. And Mangal

Shardool: Pandey sort of broke the discipline. Like, because of him, it was not successful, right? He preempted it because he was too offended by

Abhinandan: the By the beef thing.


Shardool: The Hindu Atheism thing, we were discussing on that matter also. Like, there are many, many branches of it. Yes.

Abhinandan: Right.

Jayashree: Next email is anonymous. He's talking about episode 474, where the guest was questioning why farmers from only one part of the country are protesting. First thing, this question is actually covered in detail by the Red Mike, who has done brilliant coverage of it.

Secondly, should this question really be one for a farmer to answer? If tomorrow there is a new tax introduced for hospitals, will we start this divide and rule on why X hospital is protesting and not [01:27:00] Y? Regardless, this has not been a question of farm laws anymore, but of oppressing the rights of citizens.

There is a 21 year old kid who died and frankly no one was surprised or bothered by it. Heck, I'll even go ahead and say farmers are in the wrong when it comes to their protests, which they're not. But they deserve an audience. For years, the government has quartered on its promises that it made to the farmers previously.

Question the government why it has done jack before we start the nuance of whether farmers demands are right or wrong.

Shardool: I think everybody made that point on the podcast.

Abhinandan: I don't quite recall all that was discussed, but yeah, possible.

Jayashree: Next one is also anonymous. Recently, during one of our English literature classes, we delved into Salman Rushdie's The Free Radio.

Our professor provided historical context, particularly focusing on the forced sterilization campaign led by Sanjay Gandhi. In her discussion, she asserted this campaign unfairly targeted a specific community within India, specifically Hindus. I found this assertion troubling and wondered about its veracity given some prior questionable statements made by this professor.

Previously, our professor has made [01:28:00] unsubstantiated claims such as labeling Arvind Kejriwal a communist and suggesting the current government in Karnataka shares communist ideologies. Furthermore, she says states governed by communist parties perpetually remain impoverished due to their supposed dependence on poverty.

To challenge her assertions, I presented data regarding poverty rates in Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, which seemed to provoke her ire. Unfortunately, these instances are not isolated. Many professors in our English department at Delhi University seem ill equipped to deliver accurate information or even proficiently communicate in English.

As permanent members of faculty, that lack of teaching skills is increasingly hindering our

Abhinandan: educational experience. So, yeah, I mean, I, I hear you anonymous because even I'm shocked by some of the professors that I meet. Uh, and the thoughts they have. In fact, that horrible book that was written on the Delhi riots, which Op India had, you know, I think, I don't know how Op India was involved in it, but the launch of that was, I think, covered by Op India.

Kapil Mishra is his name? Two of [01:29:00] the co authors of that book are teachers in Delhi University. I mean, and how can you write that kind of stuff? It's so, I hear you, but, um, I mean, I don't know how your teacher was saying that poverty rates in Kerala, communist countries are higher, but people use communists very, you know, very loosely, but just so that, uh, you can tell her that in fact, Sanjay Gandhi was the closest there was to the RSS because he targeted a specific community, right?

It was the Muslim community. Yes. And in fact, if you read, uh, a Fine balance, who's the Parsi author? Who's written that? Hin? Mystery. Roan. Mystery. Roan. Forever Depress. Don't read it. If you're in a bad mood, you'll jump off a building. So when you're very happy, he'll bring you down to depression level. If you're depressed, he'll make you suicidal.

But if you do read Roan Mystery and the Turman Gate Sterilization disaster has been written by. about by many authors in fiction, non fiction, both. Uh, in fact, if you read Ram Guha, so [01:30:00] the entire sterilization was targeted more at Muslims. And there was a huge episode at Turkman Gate, which still, you know, is one of the most horrific and blots on Indian

Shardool: democracy.

Yeah, I mean, the visuals are there, the newspaper clippings and photographs,

Abhinandan: the bulldozer. Yeah, the bulldozers, etc. They're all there. You have photographs. I'm sure there are archives also of footage.

Jayashree: So the saddest thing is, this is not about facts. No, I understand like a well intentioned student trying to explain that, well, you're saying communism is responsible for X and Y and then giving you data, but that is not what you're Professor clearly wants to hear.

They're sort of bought into the idea of commie as an insult, you know, secular as an insult. So I'm assuming that is where she is coming from. Yeah. But I think syllabuses are now changing. Textbooks are being rewritten. So. You'll see

Shardool: a lot of it and the additional heartbreak, at least for me, is like, there are so many talented people who don't have work and these not jobs are sitting

Abhinandan: there sitting there.

Correct. In fact, someone had prepared that that grid know of all the propaganda movies that have [01:31:00] come out from Kerala story to know bus, their story to this story to this file to Tashkent file to a file. There's just one after the other, all these, in fact, we should do an awful and awesome of the propaganda film over the last two years.


Jayashree: new one is coming, no? The JNU, Jehangir University one. JNU, yeah, yeah,

Abhinandan: correct. They released the poster for it. Amrit, uh, that, uh, whatever, Shah, Shefali Shah's husband is I saw the poster, it was like Piyush Mishra is associated with that film, yeah, the biggest revolutionary of the 80s Mandi house. He's written plays and books about Bhagat Singh and Jab Sheher You hear the lyrics of that, uh, Gulal.

I mean, it is, I mean, it makes your hair stand on end. It is entirely a call out of, you know, the whole, Jab Sheher Hamara Sota Hai. The whole song is about how when revolution came and people were dragged out of their homes. Houses and killed and they were like, why us? They said, because you were [01:32:00] sleeping when all this injustice was happening.

Now you pay for it with your blood. That guy now is a cascaisso of Modi. So, dude, everyone has changed. Yeah. I mean, I've I knew him when he was here famous. I'm ashamed of you. I mean, how people have paltode and money makes you do that. He's starring in this movie. Yeah, apparently.

Jayashree: Anyway, next letter is from Shashwati, very short.

Hi Anil, lots of us have abandoned twitter slash x for blue sky. The musky, mucky smell of X is too much for us. Could you guys please at least post your links on Blue Sky?

Abhinandan: Oh, interesting. We shall tell Shwet, our young social media head. He has one more social media platform not to take care of. I've never even heard of it.

Have you?

Shardool: I've heard of it, but I, you know me, like I don't like

Abhinandan: interacting with people.

Jayashree: Uh, this Bandana. Hi NL team. Very disappointed with the discussion on electoral bonds in the last hafta. The panel had done no homework. The Supreme Court [01:33:00] never ordered the matching of donors, bonds, and recipients.

Therefore, the very premise of the SBI's extension plea was based on an incorrect interpretation of the order. In fact, the gentleman from ADR on Haftar posts the order. Had said people like them will do data analysis once it's disclosed by the SBI and EC. Also, someone from ADR was on Mojo Story along with Mr.

Garg, where he mentioned the News Minute has already reported on 30 companies and their donation patterns. However, he said the same cannot be presented in court as the accuracy of the report cannot be validated. When people make such claims in interviews, it puts a question on the genuineness of the report as well as the news platform.

You guys need to find a better way to present such reports to stakeholders like ADR and other social enterprises and activists. Also, you need to get Sudipto back. I didn't agree with some of the things he said, but he brought in new perspective and energy.

Abhinandan: We'll definitely get him back, but, uh, which Mr.

Garg is this who said that it cannot be presented in court? So

Shardool: he was making a legal argument because we cannot ensure that this happened. We can only indicate a pattern. It's not a, it's not [01:34:00] an evidence. It cannot be presented as an evidence. Yeah.

Abhinandan: I mean, it can, but it's up to the court to reject it just because Mr.

Garg said that doesn't mean it's true. I mean, when. You know, I have been in court on several cases and there have been news reports that have been presented as evidence. The Liberian Commission, the Babri demolition, the most compelling evidence was news track tapes. So it really depends on whether the court takes it or not, just because Mr.

Garg said that on Mojo's story doesn't make that true. Uh, so that is one thing. We, I hope, uh, So, Vandana, today's hafta made up for the ill preparedness of last week's hafta since Mr. Chokhar, Dr. Jagdeep Chokhar came and told us all that the court had said, all that how it's interpreted, what they said. I think a lot of clarity is provided by Jagdeep sir today.

Yes. I'm hoping. Yeah. Right. On that note, uh, let's get the recommendations for the week. And Any feedback for us, you can mail us at podcasts at newslondon. com. I repeat podcasts at newslondon. com, but better still just click on the [01:35:00] link in the show notes below. And there's a link that describes that this is for mails, subscribers, and click on that.

And that's a more efficient way of doing it. Jashree, how about you? What's your recommendation for the week?

Jayashree: Yeah. So first, since Raman sir is not here, I will recommend a movie that I watched a movie. So it's a very strange one. It's a, honestly, it was a movie that I was like, I will absolutely not watch it.

But then I was very drawn in. It's like an experimental Soviet silent documentary from 1929. I know I sound very pretentious, but like, it's basically urban life in Moscow, Kiev and Odessa. So it was just this man with his camera who was wandering around shooting stuff and apparently when he put it together people were a bit like disgusted by it and they were like what is this nonsense it looks like rubbish but it's just basically like a day in the life it starts with you know scenes from streets and factories and labor and then it moves to recreation beaches and then a soundtrack was added once the film was remastered and it really Thing is, it's only 61 long, but it's a very fascinating sort of glimpse into life in 1929 [01:36:00] in Russia.

And I think for me the most shocking thing was that it was short a hundred years ago, but it also felt so contemporary, like almost modern. Our lives just seemed the same. I mean, also, of course, very different, all the rubbish, but it just seems so similar. So this is called Man With a Movie Camera by Ziga Verto.

My second pretentious recommendation, I'll explain it in some detail, but it's, uh. So it's a very fascinating nonfiction book by journalist Vincent Bevins on the role of the United States in mass killing of communists, you know, from Indonesia in the 1960s, the military coups in Latin America, from Guatemala, to Iran, to Brazil, to Chile, whatever.

So, it's a very tragic, but also very thorough documentation of how, like, fledgling countries, Which is really not given a chance to sort of explore themselves because at the time, anything that they, so whatever they said, so they expressed very anti colonialist. Sentiments at the time because they're just sort of being freedom, but in America, a lot [01:37:00] of that was construed as communists.

So it was a very scorched earth approach by the CIA to annihilate all these countries. And there are these really amazing little snippets like how the CIA was so angry with President Sukarno in Indonesia. So they brought in and I lived in Indonesia. So I had a very like, for me, the stuff was just so fascinating.

They brought in Bing Crosby to provoke to produce a pornographic film Starring an actor who looked like Sukarno and they showed him hooking up with a flight attendant, who then turned out to be a member of the KGB. So that idea was that this was shame Sukarno so much in his home country, except in his home country, his sexual proclivities were a sign of his masculinity.

Shardool: And

Jayashree: then there's also another great story about how Jawaharlal Nehru, um, He once hosted a young politician, quite unknown at the time, called JFK, who was traveling the world. And he came to Delhi, and he had dinner with Nehru. And he was trying to ask Nehru, like, what is the deal with Communism? And Nehru was a little patronizing, and he gave them a little lecture.

And [01:38:00] he said, Communism offers the people of the Third World something to die for. And that is why it matters to us. It's just, so then young JFK went back home and he sort of revisited his ideas of communism. So, just a fascinating book. It's called, um, The Jakarta Method by Vincent Devins. Yeah. So read it.

Abhinandan: Very good. Thank you. Chardul.

Shardool: I had an abundance of recommendations today. In fact, I added one more because during the conversation, so I'll begin with my personal thing. So two days ago, there was 20th anniversary of one of my favorite games, Monster Hunter. So you play Monster Hunter. It's a very skill based game, like the skill ceiling is really high.

One that, the second is about Haiti. A lot of things are happening in Haiti. In fact, it's related to what

Abhinandan: Jeri said. In fact, now the, the president is stepping down. Prime Minister, prime Minister is stepping down and the US has set up some sort of committee to

Shardool: run it. The president [01:39:00] was killed two years ago and like he was, the person who was convicted was a c uh, CIA asset who was convicted in Florida in code.

Abhinandan: The main, uh, don that is in is barbecued, you know,

Shardool: because he, he barbecues people

Abhinandan: that's why it's called barbecue

Shardool: on street. So, and I was fascinated to find out that Haiti paid reparations to France, a 560 million, because this is the only country where slaves revolted and gained their independence. And this is why they are so hated by colonial world white people.

So an article in New Yorker, our gang's about to take over Haiti. The second one, the third one, which I added while talking to Mr. Choker is a 19. I don't know when the poem was written, but the poet was a little weak. Canary itself. It's a comedy poem, like in Hindi. Um, mujhko sarkar banane do. About elections and how netas are.

So it's a very funny [01:40:00] poem. You read that. And, one other thing I want to add is chupke chupke, I met a couple of people yesterday. Day before yesterday who had never heard of the original chupke chupke and they were

Abhinandan: talking about the film. Yes

Shardool: Yes They were talking about that the Shahid Kapoor chupke chupke and we were sort of Like lost in translation for a while and the rest and like okay this needs to be rectified and And I'm trying to find positive things in life because everything is so fucked up these

Jayashree: days.

So should I mention now that I have no idea what Chupke Chupke is?

Shardool: Will you guys hate on me? No, no, no. So it's, it's Hindi. So you don't know it, but it's a brilliant movie about the, you know, Comedy on language. It's

Abhinandan: basically about, uh, it's, it's a very Shakespearean comedy of errors means to be or not to be, what does that just the way you like [01:41:00] it?

Just you like it. What does that as you like it, as you like it, you know, it's like one of those, the one person pretending to be another person and pretending to be a driver, but actually being a Hindi professor and a botany professor,

Shardool: it's basically a mockery of a comedy. character in the movie, who's the primary character, who's a language puritanical.

Abhinandan: Yeah. He's a Hindi, he's a Hindi puritanical. Okay.

Shardool: So yeah. So these are my four recommendations. And if I forgot the fifth one, I forgot it.

Abhinandan: So my recommendations, uh, podcast, uh, the BBC podcast, this is on how to win an Oscar. It's, I mean, I guess something we kind of know, but it's just interesting to see when they give examples and specifically, um, the entire campaign.

It's like an election campaign running for Oscars is like running for an election. Yes, the budgets you have to have, you have to make all those interview appearances and, you know, because it's a voting process right by the academy. So therefore you have to suck up to everybody and wine and dine. And so, yeah, that's where they [01:42:00]

Jayashree: and that's what Jimmy Kimmel also said in his monologue, right?

He said, uh, yeah. Oh, I know everyone's upset that Greta Gerwig didn't get a nomination for, you know, Barbie, best director, but you guys didn't vote for her.

Abhinandan: So it's on you. Yeah. So that is one. And the second is I highly recommend everybody read this. This scroll report, it's basically based on the Pew research and, uh, it's just disturbing and the number of people as a percentage who think that, you know, India's okay as an autocracy or a dictatorship is increasing.

It's not going down. Like we are really going backwards, man. It is. It is. I, I

Shardool: remembered my recommendation and it was related to you. I, and I forgot, and Joshua will like it. So it's a business insider report. Mm-Hmm. And, and title is constantly pretending your bosses dumb jokes are funny, can lead to emotional exhaustion and lower job satisfaction academy.

I have to say something.

Abhinandan: I'm not trying to say, can I, are you? After this podcast, you're [01:43:00] fired.

I was watching, uh, yeah, on the contrary here, they make fun of my uncle jokes, but I was watching this video. And don't ask me why I was watching it because I have no idea how these videos are suggested to you. But, uh, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and sons. Promotional videos from when he had, you know, he released a film.

Yes. OMG or whatever it was

Shardool: called. OMG. No,

Abhinandan: Messenger of God. MSG. So he had done these video promotions of it. And I don't know why they were popping up on my YouTube. And dude, there is this one video promotion where he's, I don't even think he's trying to like, I'm sure he wants to turn around and tell all those his, his human beings or his kids.

Anything he says, The whole bus starts laughing and it's not even, there's no punchline. And I'm like, dude, this is like, like, what the fuck? Creepy. It's, yeah,

Jayashree: it is. Are you, are you [01:44:00] saying you want us to start doing that to you on the podcast? You

Abhinandan: just say the words. But, but for that I have to sit in sleeveless with hairy shoulders.

So let me get there then first. Good thing I'm remote.

Shardool: For the record, I, But this report is interesting. Like you should read it. Right. Yeah.

Abhinandan: These are my recommended. But, um, yeah. So on that note, thank you, uh, to the panel. Thank you, Shardul. Thank you, Jayshree. Thank you. Uh, thank you to our producers, Aryan and Prashant.

He was here yesterday. So we hang around, but I don't know whether he's been involved in the production or not. Thank you to our sound recordist, Anil. Uh, and thank you for those of you who are subscribing. Hafta will remain free for another two weeks. This is the time you have to please recommend it to others, share it with as many people as possible.

And then you put it behind the paywall. We leave you with this song that was written by Piyush when he was still a revolutionary and not actually cursing revolutionaries from stage while hailing Modi. Anyone can change to such an [01:45:00] extent, which means anyone can change this way or that way, which is why I should never give up on people.

Have a fantastic week.

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