Hafta letters: Justice for Rohith Vemula, Revanna’s escape, nuclear energy

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
Article image


I hope you will read my letter on Hafta. I have been following NL for the past five years, and I am a huge fan of your reporting. I see Newslaundry growing and doing ground reports, and I really appreciate your reportage.

Also, congratulations on winning the Ramnath Goenka Awards.

I was a student when I started listening to NL, and your constant support and emphasis on “if you’re a student, don’t buy the subscription, that’s ok” made me buy the annual membership immediately after I got the job. I keep emphasising to my friends that they too should follow NL for factual news.

Naveen CR 


Dear Newslaundry team,

I hope this letter finds you in the midst of a spirited debate over yet another perplexing news item. This week’s highlight: the uproar over four students who, in a bold display of religiosity or perhaps just sheer desperation, wrote “Jai Shree Ram” on their exam papers and were rewarded with 50 percent marks.

Now, let’s not get bogged down by the nitty-gritty of academic integrity or the subtle nuances of the separation of religion and education. Instead, let’s marvel at the creative genius of these young scholars! In a world where plagiarism and cheating scandals dominate the academic landscape, these students dared to dream differently. They didn’t resort to the worn-out tactics of crib sheets or clandestine whispers; no, they boldly proclaimed their devotion to a divine power in hopes of divine intervention in their grades.

But alas, dear Newslaundry, it seems our educational institutions are not ready to embrace such unorthodox approaches to exam-taking. Instead of celebrating the ingenuity of these students, they’ve been met with skepticism and controversy. Shouldn’t we, as a society, applaud such innovation? Shouldn’t we reward those who think outside the box, even if that box happens to be an exam paper?

So, let’s propose a toast to these four trailblazers. May their “Jai Shree Ram” battle cry echo through the hallowed halls of academia, inspiring future generations to think creatively, write boldly, and, if all else fails, invoke the blessings of the almighty for a passing grade.

Noaman Khan 


Hi NL Hafta,

That was a spectacular takedown of Rushdie on last week’s NL Hafta. Brutal yet respectful, I’m sure that even Rushdie would have a chuckle if he listened to it.

1. Recently, the “proud passport” thing blew up on social media thanks to Palki Sharma’s Ekta Kapoor-esque style of narration on how she was fidgety and ashamed while producing her passport at airports before 2014. Now, we all know this is bullshit, but this bullshit is quite old. Many years ago, I was watching Anand Patwardhan’s War and Peace, and in that, I came across a section where Pramod Mahajan was narrating a story on how Pokhran nuclear tests solved the personal problem of one student in the US, ironically named Amit Shah. So the passport thing was actually conjured up 25 years ago and is still being bandied about. I wonder if we are such big fools, because clearly the current crop of WhatsApp uncles would have heard this in 1999.    

2. On a fellow subscriber’s letter on involving the BJP people on the podcast so that they put across their point of view. Well, I think inviting political parties to Hafta is a bad idea. They are wedded to their narrative, which is usually based on falsehoods, and then they are out to defend it and deny somebody else’s narrative. That’s their modus operandi for debate. There are enough people doing that on TV and YouTube.

Kumar Aditya



After watching the second episode of Claim vs Reality by Sreenivasan Jain, I think people are mixing two different issues. One is of a family holding complete control over a party vs family members joining the same profession, there might be an overlap in scenarios, but I think they are different issues. You can watch the latest episode of Unfiltered by Samdish with Tej Pratap Yadav, where Samdish asks something along the lines of will there ever be a time when someone outside the family will lead the RJD, and you can see Tej’s reaction there. There is always a question of merit where nepotism is involved, and the BJP is hypocritical about it with regards to its allies, but I think dynastic politics is a completely different issue. The entity is not controlled by a family, I’m not sure, but I think the most recent example of JDS would also fall under this category. I would like to know your thoughts on it. Keep up the good work. I’m finding the election coverage by NL and TNM to be good.

Vivek Ashokan


I am writing this letter to request an investigative story on the Rohith Vemula case by Newslaundry. Rohith’s father’s caste the “Vaddera” is considered OBC in Andhra, and it seems that this fact has been exploited in the police investigation. On The Wire, Srishti clearly covered the complex aspects of Rohith’s Dalit identity. In Karnataka, the “Vaddera/Bhovi” community is categorised as SC. So, if Rohith was born in Karnataka, he would have been a Dalit? The caste system and Dalit realities are complex, and it requires a heart with empathy and sensitivity to even try to understand the issues. Smriti Irani was out of her cave with Arnab to discuss not Prajwal Revanna but to attack RG after the clean chit.

Rohith Vemula deserves at least truth, if not justice.



The most horrific thing about the whole Prajwal Revanna sex tape is that this guy is from the family of a former Prime Minister of India. Such crimes are often brushed aside, saying illiterate, poor people do this, who do not understand consent, and all that. But this is so horrific. This guy, who grew up with possibly the best education and social and financial means, comes from a respected background. Just how such a person could commit something like this is beyond my understanding. Also, he entered Germany using a diplomatic passport; Germany would not allow anyone to enter using a diplomatic passport unless the Indian government notified them in advance – that’s a rule in the Vienna Convention. And Germany, out of all countries, is more strict when it comes to such rules. It’s obvious that the foreign ministry of India did notify the Germans of his entry. Germany even follows these rules with other developed non-EU countries; I doubt they would make an exception for India.  

Manan Shah


I see you skipped my last mail. I was trying to be sarcastic. Nevermind. Abhinandan, there’s a lot of fear mongering regarding nuclear energy.

There’s not much that humans have created that can survive an earthquake of magnitude 9.1 on the Richter scale and a follow-up Tsunami. Also, small scale nuclear power plants are not nearly as dangerous and can’t be contained in the event of disasters.

Nuclear power is needed in a lot of industries to replace fossil fuels because renewables just won’t be able to generate the consistent voltage required in those industries, like in the steel and aluminium industries.

The problem is that nuclear power plants can't be left in the hands of the private sector. The government has to own those projects completely, or be in a partnership with the private sector because nuclear power plants can go wrong in ways other power plants simply can't.

But, currently, our government is in the mood to privatise everything, so we have to change that first. “A government has no business in not being in business.”

His last email: 

This is to that muchhad,

You get a lot of those hopeful subscriber mails, so let me ground you a bit. I bought the NL subscription with the “well-being allowance” that I got in my first job.

I had around Rs 3000 remaining in that allowance, and if I hadn’t used that money in time, my company would’ve eaten it up at the end of the financial year. So, I had two choices – Hotstar or NL. Hotstar is easily pirate-able, so I went with NL.

This year, I’ve already used up my allowance, so tough luck. I’m also planning on quitting the job for higher education, so I’ll have to survive on meagre savings for the foreseeable future, so no subscription during that period either.



We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like