header banner

Hafta letters: Pronunciations, contributions of Hindutva, and sexual anatomy

Table of Contents

    Feedback on the feedback letters:

    As some of the other listeners, I strongly dislike the new format where letters are only taken once a month. At the same time, I think the earlier system also was not perfect. Thus, I propose:

    1) Having letters every week but moving them to the start of the podcast. Then you can categorise them according to topics as well. 

    2) Editorialising the letters such as to a) grouping together letters that say/mean the same thing and b) not at all taking letters more than 200 words or at least editing them before they are read out. 

    I listen to some other podcasts that follow a similar format, referring to it as ‘follow-up’. So it then becomes a continuation of the discussion of last week and not just mere acknowledgment of a letter being read. 

    Feel free to editorialise this letter, but strongly consider the feedback. Happy to share more examples if interested. 



    This is in response to the discussion on the contribution of Hindutva to Indian politics. Manisha mentioned Gandhi in this discussion. That was precisely my point, there is obviously space for Hindu conservatism in Indian politics. But Hindu conservatism may not necessarily be exclusionary and those interests have been articulated by Gandhi without ‘othering’ the Muslims. But Hindutva not just today but even historically at its very core, and fundamentally, is exclusionary. 

    Also, Manisha said Jinnah’s problem with Gandhi was that he was talking about Ram Rajya and Jinnah thought “Ram rajya mein humaara kya hoga”. This is very misplaced. Gandhi very often talked about Khudai Raj as well. In fact, to quote Gandhi: “My Rama is another name for Khuda or God. I want Khudai Raj, which is the same thing as the Kingdom of God on earth”.

    Akshat Bhushan 


    I am sorry for belabouring the point. But all the sounds we make are learnt sounds. When we studied Hindi in school it was “ज से जहाज, jahaaj”. It was much later that we learnt that it was जहाज़ or jahaaz. When India was about to be independent, Rahul Saankrityaayan argued that we should not have these letters with nuqta as they are not native to Hindi. But today every media house will have someone correct you if you did not put the nuqta. Abhinandan loves to put them even when not needed. So it's obvious you learnt these foreign sounds, either when SRK said “Khan from the epiglottis” or when you heard Javed Akhtar, or Amitabh Bachhan pronounce words in a certain way. You are the Javed Akhtars and Amitabhs of the media. If you could learn Khan Abdul Ghaffaar Khan (ख़ान  अब्दुल ग़फ़्फ़ार ) - which in Hindi should have been (खान अब्दुल गफ्फार ), why can't you learn ‘zha’, because if the argument is that it is not there in your language, neither is ‘gha’, ‘fa’, ‘za’ or ‘qa’.



    Abhinandan bhaiya ko kitne khokhe chahiye to start something like “NPR Indicator” on Newslaundry?

    Inder (A&A veteran)  


    In reply to a letter, the Hafta panelists had discussed the contribution of the right-wing or the lack of it to India. Similarly, please let us know what is the contribution of the left liberals to India, both during the freedom struggle and later. Also, specifically, since the contribution of Hindutva was discussed (zero contribution or even negative contribution as per the panelists), perhaps the panelists could discuss the role of Islamic scholars and thinkers  to the Indian polity over the years. Can the panelists also discuss the status of jails in which top Congress leaders were kept and the jails where Savarkar was incarcerated. Also, is there any record of Congress leaders undergoing torture in these jails?




    This isn't a full letter. I'll write it some other time when I'm not as lazy.

    But I suggest that if only six subscriber letters are read out each Hafta (which is the option I support too), the 200 word limit should be increased to allow for more nuanced opinions.




    Hi Team NL,

    Wanted to add my two cents on the pronunciation issue. In isolation, it obviously seems trivial. But consider the context. Due to the three language policy, school kids in Karnataka learn Hindi as part of the syllabus. So, the Karnataka government, using taxes paid by Kannadigas, is supposed to teach Hindi, and Kannadigas need to learn Hindi. And it is considered acceptable to expect this from us.

    However, if a Kannadiga was to ask someone to say *just the name* of his language or state properly, even while the person is in Karnataka, that is considered too much to ask. So a Hindi speaker cannot apply even a second’s effort to say *just the name* “Kannada” instead of “Kannad”. But Kannadigas must apply much more effort to learn *an entire language* of Hindi, that is fine.

    This is IMO the issue: there is a one-way expectation of respect for languages. Everyone must respect and speak Hindi, but the bare minimum level of respect for a southern language is considered unjustified.



    I wanted to express my keen interest in learning through ground reports the Kashmir atrocities that took place in the 1990s. Despite conducting extensive research, I have been unable to locate the Newstrack coverage that you and others have recommended. It would be kind if you could please name the repository or source where I might be able to access it?



    Dear Newslaundry, Indians have a bleak future if they don't start listening and/or reading the news that you deliver. Keep up the excellent work, Newslaundry. Proud to be a subscriber!!!



    Hi everyone,

    Great job guys. Just wanted to share a fact. The number 786 has no real significance in Islam. The number symbolises Bismillahir Rahmaan Nir Raheem. If the numeric value of each letter in Bismillahir Rahmaan Nir Raheem is added up, it comes up to 786. However, the practice of substituting Bismillahir Rahmaan Nir Raheem with the number 786 is not substantiated by the Hadith nor the Quran.

    Read more here



    Stating that there are only two sexes is not denying the existence of people with ambiguous gender identity, just like saying that there are only two faces to the coin does not deny the existence of the edge of the coin. Biologically there are only two gametes, a sperm and an egg. There is no “third” type of gamete, and in humans the anatomy of the body including the brain has evolved around the need to produce these two gametes for sexual reproduction, and thus, it defines the sexes. The sexual anatomy like any other part of the body is not perfect. Therefore, there will always be a small percentage of people, where the anatomy would not be clearly male or female or even functional to successfully reproduce. But that does not mean they have third, fourth or fifth sex. They are the edge cases of biology. And, since humans are more than gametes and reproduction, they form a valuable and important part of society. But that should not mean we deny the existence of sex binary and invent new sexes in defiance of facts.



    Hello NL team, hope you're doing well. I recently attended an event marking 1,000 days of Umar Khalid's incarceration. The event was to happen at Gandhi Peace Foundation, but was later shifted to Press Club of India because the Delhi police's asses were on fire. My question is how long can Umar and other students like him be kept in jail without any trial, considering the government wants to make the UAPA law even more strict than before. Keep up the good work!



    Article information

    Author: Daniel Nicholson

    Last Updated: 1699574408

    Views: 896

    Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

    Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Daniel Nicholson

    Birthday: 2006-01-01

    Address: PSC 0541, Box 8945, APO AA 55317

    Phone: +3709625727936580

    Job: Article Writer

    Hobby: Baking, Ice Skating, Coin Collecting, Coffee Roasting, Playing Piano, Horseback Riding, Cycling

    Introduction: My name is Daniel Nicholson, I am a audacious, enterprising, cherished, Adventurous, Colorful, irreplaceable, accomplished person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.