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This is a news laundry podcast and you're listening to and I'll have the ungrazed up now, Lagon or Newsround up now after cabinet short. We are back on the half hour before I introduce the panel.
I would like to apologize. I see the ignorance that one has of cost privilege. We didn't have any external panelists last time. There was just the four of us in house. So I had introduced us as the channel. SHOCKLEE That is a cost. USLAW I wasn't even aware that channel is actually a car. It is a cost, so I would like to apologize for that. I shall not describe our in-house panel as that in future. So yes, as my Buddhist friend used to say, recall UNcancel, I said, what does that mean?
That means you've pulled your words back from the universe and cancel them.
I said, OK, fine.
So this podcast is being recorded on Thursday, the 16th of July at 12, 15 in the afternoon. This time we have much more accomplished panel with two people. Joining us from outside the office, we have Suhasini Haidar joining us from her home in the Soviet Times, High Heaven.
And then you, I'm sure all our listeners already know who you are, but we have to follow the formality of introducing you as a diplomatic editor of Hindoo. You write on foreign policy issues. In fact, you have been a foreign policy expert for a long time. Your foreign affairs editor and the prime time anchor for India's English Channel, CNN. Ibn, in fact, you had a show called World View with Suhasini Haidar, and you have also won the Green Party award for print journalism.
So welcome. And you have written a couple of pieces, in fact, in the last two weeks on a several foreign policy issues. We shall discuss that a little more detail. We also have joining us on Avadon from partner. Hi, Anand. Hello. Anand is an accomplished writer and he is also a teacher and Guruji. Is that Ghana? Hamouda, the welcome Guruji, I believe, although the numbers of covid in Bihar are certainly alarmingly going haywire.
Why is it more testing or is there something has happened to three factors at work. First year testing has scaled up and yesterday was the first day when 10000 tests were carried in a single day.
There is also a perception that the lockdown was ASLAK and relaxed.
It was a period when you must make a graduation reverse migration to be how it happened. And that was not the time for the lockdown to be relaxed. And since the contribution of migrants returning is high in the number of infected cases, there is a correlation being established between the two factors I see.
So in-house we have Rahmon graupel. Hello, Garageland. Hello, Manisha Pandey. Hello.
And I'm up in Zekry. So before Maneesha gives us the headlines, just a couple of announcements for the next three or four weeks, how stars will be free. They will be outside the paywall. I hope this doesn't disincentive those of you who are subscribing and paying.
We have thousands of paying subscribers, guys. We can only exist because of you. So don't step more forthcoming than stopping. This is happening because as you know, we've moved to new content management system. We are moving to a new website, a new Yueyue X in the process of that. Just the the process by which subscribers get to the top behind the paywall has become a little patchy because our podcast player is not like integrating so well with our new website.
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God, can you imagine this generation of entitled salary, vontez, all U.S. pilot types.
But the problem is wage slaves, which OK, which slaves. And meanwhile, we have another NLC, a project. Coming up, the brutal killing of Geroge eldest son Bannocks and Tamilnadu brought the spotlight back on custodial. Let's put a recent report. India saw on average five custodial deaths every day in twenty nineteen, which why is this such an endemic problem? And we are going to be launching and Nelsan, a project to do a deep investigation into this.
And Romancer, a managing editor, is an expert in doing stories that involve the police.
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On that note, let's have the headlines, Manisha.
Yes. Game of Thrones, season five or six. I don't know what this time.
And I think the recent development on that is that the rebel leader, Sachin Pilot, has been sacked as the deputy chief minister and removed it as the state party chief. And Rajastan assembly speaker has also sent notice to pilot and 18 of his MLA allies demanding response and duties or risk disqualification. This is pertaining to Aguillard scheme that he has two of two families from pilots camp on phone, negotiating with the BJP, toppling the government. Meanwhile, in my day, British Cynthia is having a good time.
She razzing Jon allocated portfolios and his camp has got key ministries on the stand off. There's news now in the there was there was a report in the press that said that the first in Belen Palicki mid-April, long before the ping pong clash, India and China will hold its fourth round of consultation. First phase of this engagement is completed now focuses on the second phase. Also on the ALYSSE standoff, officials have said that months of planning and coordination preceded Chinese border movement.
So it's going to be probably tough to negotiate them to go back. Iran has dropped India from the Shaba Rail Project and cites funding delay. That's big news. That didn't really get much coverage, but it's big news. Meanwhile, a comedian in Mumbai agreement shows a female comedian, she got rape threats and she was really harassed and bullied for jokes involving Shivaji Maharaj. I think she may also face legal action, at least that's what the has minister said.
Blacks have been displaced in Assam floods. National parks have been hit. This is a really sorrowful phenomena in the delicate. In my case, the court has allowed foreigners from five countries to walk free with fine attardi minister has launched World's Most Affordable covid-19 Tasket, developed by Idee Delhi. I didn't know that.
Hmm. In fact, I was alone, close to the shore.
Meanwhile, in Nepal, Prime Minister Gopichand myself, Lord Rambos, Nepali, not Indian.
I thought there was confusion about Visita was born and I think that was Nepal. But I don't know. There was a confusion, Rama also of Nepal and India and about it today.
There was no Nepal and India back then.
Google to invest in dual platforms education. Bonnies become the sixth richest person in the world, says you has developed 5G from scratch in India. Great news for international students and even Indian students studying in the US.
The whole policy on having to go back if there's an online class has been revoked by Trump after so many universities and a letter by inviting opinionated, nobody was created.
A lot of flutter on Twitter. Maybe you can discuss that.
She's quit the NY Times. She was one of the conservative operators and she cited bullying by colleagues in an illiberal environment at the NYT, probably one of the worst columnists New York Times has had since I started reading.
I don't mind. I like some of his natoli. I would say dumb them in the writing is so lazy and cliched and I mean so in fact, we'll talk about that.
And I would like to. But I want to start off with this piece that Suhasini wrote in The Hindu Iran Drops India from the Shubha Rail Project Sites Funding Deal.
Now, in context of this, Suhasini, there is much speculation happening. That is our handling of foreign affairs been, you know, really good that we have a new place and respected in the world. In fact, recently, another journalist, I think it was Shivam, if I'm not wrong, and tweeted a quote of it wasn't Bombay, but someone in the White House who said that, you know, Trump will decide whether he wants to back China or India in our skirmish.
I mean, of course, it wasn't an official.
I think it was John Bolton who said. Right, right. I'm not sure which way Trump would be.
Right. So now why is this Iran deal so, so important and has yet got such little airtime on our prime time? Is it significant as far as foreign relations goes?
Well, let's first understand and thanks so much for pointing out my story, because as you as you did say, a lot of foreign policy issues don't get as much coverage. And then suddenly when things blow up, people say, where is this coming from? I don't mean blow up, literally. I just mean when a story gets bigger. So basically what happened? And that was. A story we did was that in 2016, India and particularly the Indian Railways construction company Eircom, Finding Nemo, you with the Iranian railways in the presence of Prime Minister Modi when he had gone to Tehran to say we would build this railway line for the railway line goes from the heart port, which is, of course, is a very important project for India, for a number of strategic reasons, which is in Iran's southern coast.
And we essentially are building one terminal over there right now and we have another domino to build. So we are going to build this railway line that goes from the southern coast of Iran to Afghanistan. And if you've got a map in your mind or in front of you somewhere, it can also then extend up to Turkmenistan. What this essentially means is there's nothing on the land right now. There's nothing on the ground, nothing on paper, in fact, at that time, but that this could become India's geostrategic doorway to Central Asia, to Russia, a way of bypassing Pakistan, which is always a troublesome neighbour.
So a lot of different reasons why this railway line could open up a lot. But nothing happened for four years. We didn't move. Some say it's because the funding took a while to work out. Some say it's because the Iranians kept changing the terms of contract. Some say it's because of US sanctions and the idea that even if the US had given us a waiver to build the line to buy steel, you need a different kind of permission to get banking loans.
You need a different kind permission or whatever reason for four years, nothing. And then suddenly and after many, we heard many warnings of threats from Iranian leadership saying we need to move with this real project. We suddenly saw last week that Iran actually went ahead and began the tracking for Java houses on on their own. And that that was essentially what my story was, that Iran decided to go alone. And they told us officially that they were actually going to build the railway line on their own.
And India, if it wants to join later. But India had not shown any interest. Why this hurts India, why it affects India, or should we care about it? I think there are two parts to it. One is you don't want to be cut out of any geo strategic game at this time. And so there is the kind of formal, if you like, the fear of missing out Iran, especially when a country like China is signing a massive deal with them.
But there's also the more significant part that this was going to be your work around Pakistan. So what happens to that grand plan? The third is a reputational damage because India is loved around the world. We have a lot of goodwill. But there is this idea that Indian delivery on its promises is not very good. And this looks like one more reason to say so. Finally, the fact that Iran didn't actually wait for us essentially means that somewhere there we've lost influence as that influence being lost because of domestic factors, because Iran has made a lot of comments on Yarmolenko speeches and on the CIA and all the rest.
Or is it essentially because of India's positioning with the United States and Iran is putting Iran to feel that maybe India is not going to keep its traditional ties there? So in a nutshell, it's a small thing in terms of all the projects that India might be doing around the world. It's one railway line, six hundred and twenty eight kilometers long, but it could have many larger repercussions. And that's that's essentially what the story was about.
So quickly, if you could just tell me, is the I mean, from your reporting and your understanding, the situation is the delay because of economic reasons, because the economy has been hit significantly and not just covid, even covid we weren't exactly kicking us.
Well, I mean, India afford a project like this. Yes, India can. I mean, we had outlaid out of one point six dollars billion for the railway line. But in honesty, Iran says it's building it. Four hundred million right now. I mean, the point is, you start somewhere, you start you don't have to pay that entire amount. Egypt, you know, it's much more likely that given that India has always been worried about US sanctions and remember, India became one of the countries that just dropped it on Iran, used to be our third largest oil provider, particularly because of the kind of cheap rates of oil that we used to get from Iran.
But when the US threatened sanctions, our first response was to say, no, no, we don't accept US sanctions. We only a few in sanctions. But within a year of that, we had actually dropped all oil. We zeroed out our oil imports from Iran. So having given in over there, it does seem to me that probably we didn't feel like fighting for this one.
So I know you follow foreign policy probably the most out of all of us here. You want to weigh in on this. How significant is this in the longer term? I know enough foreign policy positioning first.
I think the report itself has been contested by what I seen on Al-Jazeera, which says that Iran denied an Indian newspaper report that knew that he was dropped from a key rail project along the border with Afghanistan after he told Reluctancy Investing, fearing American sanctions, could see Iran's oil and maritime organization deputy for long and who calls it a totally false that Iran has not and any deal with India regarding the job, really.
So I don't know what is there to say that it actually confirms the report? In a sense, it's just Iran is putting it differently. Iran is saying the more you was never turned into an agreement and therefore India is not a part of is not a part of the real deal. However, I think there are many things that would contest that point of view. Firstly, Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, came as recently as January of this year and once again appealed to India to be a part of the deal.
Secondly, many officials have told us that the A.U. is still on. It has not been cancelled and that India does hope that it can be a part of the deal later on. So I think what has happened is essentially people have used what the Port Authority person has said about the railway to make it seem as if it's not true that India was knocked out. Actually, what they're saying is worse. They're saying India was never a part of the job or had died on a railway line, which actually should be a greater worry, I think, for India than anything else.
I see things that. Yeah, so go ahead, Anand. So in light of this report and for instance, the nature of what what India has been actually dropped from or what whether it was a part of the deal or not, I think authoritative clarification from the Ministry of Extended Office spokesperson is required and a more clear communication from them.
No know diplomatic circles would do a lot of good to in as to what is India's stand on it.
The second it may be top down now, but at one point that's what I was pointing out. It was one of the signature moves of India in Central Asia, and it was billed as a key strategic measure of particularly bypassing Pakistan.
It was also built for its utility in ensuring energy supplies.
Also, it was seen as a counter to the weather, which had suspected Chinese involvement.
And so, you know, we are the people that make unjudged very food ports to American interests. One thing that also should be taken into consideration is that it is also a period in which India has cozied up to Israel in Israel.
And we know that after, say, in early part of this century during which the regime of the CIA had to stop for one and a half to 14, 15 years.
So the new terms of engagement with Israel can also be one of the factors of a kind of estrangement with Iran.
And that has also, I think, the reconfigured the diplomatic dynamics in Central Asia, which is a real step in a high sozzani.
Marie-Jo, hey. Hi. I so you you mentioned this aspect of the India's relationship with America and how that has affected this.
If I remember correctly, this was also the case when that India, Pakistan, Iran pipeline was being discussed, oil pipeline. And it was said at the time that it was because of the U.S. pressure that it had to be dropped and mentioned that I had even lost his job as the petroleum minister. But after that pivot that under Obama that the US will pivot more to South China Sea, that Southeast Asia region, and not so much focus on Middle East.
So is that dynamic still there that the U.S. pressure on India not to engage with what it considers hostile powers in the Middle East and like, actually pressures India to engage with them? Is that dynamic still there?
Has that eased off somewhat when, you know, the Americans always have a wish list and they had a wish list? So a couple of years ago on Iran, which was essentially to do three things, one was to stop oil, all oil imports from Iran. The second was to basically stop projects in Iran, things like the gas and other infrastructure projects we were working on. And the third actually was one place where they gave in, which was on our behalf, because India explained to them that the jobs report would help Afghanistan because Pakistan was cutting off India's links, trade links to Afghanistan.
So that was their wish list. When they're pushing for anything right now, would be hard to see. But you know, what's happened in there is this cascading effect of any sanctions, because what ends up happening is even if a country wants to go ahead with something, unless you're completely immune to the global trade and to trade with the US, which does trade with absolutely everyone, it's very hard to find the banks to give you loans or to open an LC of credit for you or to find equipment manufacturers.
You know, there's been one point where India put out three tenders, I think for just Ukraines for heavy lifting and eventually had to plan for a plan for a Chinese company to do that. Also, whether or not it's a direct pressure. The fact is it becomes very difficult to walk when the US doubles down on its sanctions. And at present, the US is making it on a particular focus off its sanctions. So I think that does have an impact on us.
Now, if we could just move on to China briefly and then I won't be discussing foreign policy as one thing. So I would like you to weigh in on what we just come to that now when it comes to China, I think this is one of those stories that is even for news professionals like me, very difficult to get clarity on what the status is. One reason is you can't send your own reporter there to see what's happening because no one can get that except the army to the government has lost all credibility.
I at least I mean, it's not like anyone believe the government had outsole, but now it's going to the level of the Kokoda Track going it's going even giving out handouts.
It's just like official sources say something is coming and of because the environment so polarized.
So I have the utmost respect and affection for agit.
And he's been on haftarah three weeks ago. But I know other journalists who also I like and I have no reason to doubt them and that too many contradictory things being said about the Pull-Back. One is that the pull back is and we have pulled back to a position that is a compromise for us that where we were in the past, historically patrolling. Now we can't patrol China has pulled back to where they used to patrol and either. So they haven't gone further back from where they were, let's say, two years ago.
But we have. And at the same time, the pull back from their point of view, they're still building. They're still reinforcing the heights at Bangun. Is there any clarity that you, as a foreign affairs editor, can provide on something like this? Or do we live in this shady world of not knowing what to believe?
Forgiveable, let's put it this way. The fact is that the one sort of credible way of finding out should be those satellite pictures. What's the honest truth is, I think the satellite pictures are being read by various experts to essentially tell you what they already believe, because I don't think we understand there was one point at which they were fighting about not whether the tents were in place, but whether those camps belong to India or whether they belonged to China.
So I think we haven't got much clarity on that. Look, as far as the reports go, let's be clear over here whether or not you accept what certain journalists and you mentioned I but others, many others have said the truth is that they were saying as early as early NIE that there was a problem, that the problem was not like a routine problem because Chinese troops had addressed in five different areas that there were much larger numbers, that the skirmishes that we saw in time also, for example, on May 5th was brutal.
I mean, you had 70 Indian soldiers injured to the point they had to be flown to hospitals. And these were being reported by the Hindu as well and by others. And yet the government kept saying what was what was it the government to say with me? The army chief said these are routine clashes. We heard from other members in the government routinely were denying stories coming out saying there's nothing going on. Finally, we heard even from the prime minister saying nobody is coming up with an idea.
So this has been the government position. The fact is, until 20 Indian soldiers died in the Goulburn Valley on June 15, actually nobody was speaking. And I think when you referred to those reports that actually intelligence reports to this had come in in mid-April. So for two months, the country and I feel scared to use the word the nation hasn't been. But but but the country has not actually been told what the picture was, it was only after that crash in which Indian soldiers died and we don't yet know exactly what the casualties on the Chinese side were, that people were actually beginning to say things.
Now, you look a month later and what is official, you know, it's still very source based about the exact position. What do we essentially think we're saying the Chinese have pulled back now. Why would the Chinese pull back? Would that mean anything to us unless the Chinese had transgressed, unless they were in places where they basically would say the government can't have it both ways?
If what they were saying in May was true, then what they're saying today kind of contradicts that position.
So, I mean, yeah, I mean, I basically go with what Onin said earlier about Iran as well, which is that, you know, the government needs to feel that they need to tell people about these things, you know, and it's it's not something that or this is all national security and we can't really disclose anything. Eventually, if things are going to come out, the government has to be much clearer about what its position is. What is China's position?
Are we creating, for example, buffer zones at the Alysse? We've never had these before. Are we now going to create these? Are we pulling back ourselves, as you said, to places that we used to patrol in the past and we're not patrolling now, like things that I call like Patrol 2014 or Fingal for, as they say, are we now pulling back? Is that pullback or imminent or is it temporary? These are things I think the government does need to engage with because, you know, in front of this country is a huge example of 1962.
And the idea that from 1959 to 1962, Prime Minister Nehru really did not give the country the full picture of what was happening. That's why surprises happen. Nasty surprises happen, and that's why we are supposed to be different from China, that we are a democracy where these things are. You know, people are brought into confidence on some issues here. We have a situation where if you put out a story, more time is spent in trying to discredit you.
Then if that's your intention, you say, excuse me, is this story correct or not?
Right. I see this happening on a daily basis that all all kinds of, you know, sort of clarifications and every kind of government response doesn't actually deal with the facts of a story we all deal with. What's wrong with the person?
The story before one points fingers of the government. One, we'll just have to point fingers at one's own fraternity that the journalist or the questions that I see, because while I think of newspapers and print journalism still has the credibility that news should have, the impact is great in primetime. I mean, for for good or bad. And there you don't see the guys even ask the questions that that's tragic.
I absolutely I mean, I'm referring just to what onon said, which is that, you know, that that people come out and say, oh, they report against on India being dropped from the Iranian railway line is false. That's the easy thing to say. What exactly is Iran saying? Iran is saying, no, India was never a part of the deal. I think we should be worried about that. I think other journalists should go and ask those questions instead.
It's just about no, I'm sorry, this report was inconvenient. Let's forget it. Let's move on. That's what's happened with so many of the journalists talking about China, I think even on the SUCHIN story that does.
And we'll discuss that going forward. But just one more foreign policy issue before I just open it to something that I would like the whole panel to weigh in on, you know, and just quickly.
So I think two or three years ago, I had read this piece on this one wrote One Built or Oroton in China, which was supposed to go right across Pakistan, Afghanistan, whatever is done.
And I had read a piece actually this was a, I think NPR, that the next Lehman crisis could be triggered in China because the kind of high risk zones where this Auroville one road belt is passing through some of these places, the Taliban controls on this place are completely tribal because no government has any influence to hang on to the power of the Internet. So China can't buy this island. So let's drink. And I think there was a couple of Chinese banks that would leverage to like 50 billion, 60 billion dollars to make this happen.
And if that project fell, they'd say the Lehman equivalent would start in China.
Now, I know that The Economist has in the past that Time magazine in the past tried to discredit China's economy as early as 2000, 2001. That's I mean, there are things in the world. But where is that one road, one belt? I don't read much about it. Is it going as per plan? Is all the banks were financing it robust? Is it going to change the entire economic situation and make China the driver of much of the non USA orea of anything other than the Americas?
Well, I mean, I'm sure Arnold wants to weigh in on this as well. Tighten Belt and road initiative is clearly. What some people would say is biting off more than China could chew. Such an ambitious plan at a time when the world was actually shrinking, the economy was actually shrinking around the world, but they did get about 60, I think 60 odd countries on board with that with that plan. And they have been able to at least start projects in various places.
Now, obviously, one of the problems is going to be funding. And you're right that many of the projects the money has not come to. I give you the example of Iran against the deal that China is apparently negotiating with Iran is for a four hundred billion dollar, twenty five year strategic partnership deal. This was include infrastructure projects, oil projects, as well as banking, commercial interests and all the rest of that. Now, four hundred billion dollars may not seem a large amount if you're just talking about China's investment in one country, but then think about it.
If they are doing that with cutting for 40 other countries, then at some point China is going to have to get a return on this investment and present. What we've seen is China's lines of connectivity are essentially about securing oil resources, energy resources and of exporting Chinese goods to the rest of the world. We're not getting the other part of the trade. People being able to export goods to China, for example. I always give this example because I saw it with my own eyes and in in one drydock and in Shenzhen province where there was an entire train of ketchup being shipped from China, not shipped, but my train ketchup as in sauce, tomato ketchup, tomato tomato puree, tomato sauce going from China to Italy.
And this was the first train going from from from a place near Urumqi to to Naples. Now, when you think about that, China is exporting tomato. So think about it next time you have your passport or whatever. What is Italy sending back to China? Not much. So unless you've got a full trade cycle going, this is going to be very unequal relationship. Eventually it will not fall as far as China's investments go. Look at the case with Pakistan, the China Pakistan economic corridor where billions of dollars have already come in, certainly not as much as China had promised to start with.
And at some point, billions of dollars is going to have to give China a little more than the comfort of having one more friend. They are going to have to pay back. And when they don't, when they're not able to pay back. You see the situation in Sri Lanka eventually, according to the Sri Lanka, had to hand over a port.
Yeah, Chinese control because they couldn't pay back the loans. So this is why the Chinese government initiative is of concern to the rest of the world. But it's also eventually you're quite right. We will be of concern to China.
What do you want to weigh in on this one road, one belt? Is it potentially the next Lehman trigger that would make Chinese banks collapse or will it go through or will some lessen blow it up somewhere in the middle?
I think that the financial aspects of it is worsening as explained that at some point it has to be a two way traffic. If it doesn't, then it would release its own set of anxieties. That is one part Lehman it that is still speculative whether it would happen or not. But just briefly, I think one of the ways of seeing it this Route See initiative is also that the Middle Kingdom philosophy is of greater influence over the world.
Now, if in 2020 it is trying to replicate see in the Second World War, see, both camps were stronger than that or some kind of broad alliance of nations, they glued together with a certain kind of military philosophy or a security philosophy or something, but that was backed by some kind of military strength swing in real situations, minded that China, with all its power, with its own economy after nineteen seventy nine when it was part of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Vietnam, has not sought any direct combat experience on a larger scale.
So it has kind of a deficit in real military exercise, in real situations that that has its own military anxieties. And the only lever through which it is pushing its hegemony designs is through.
It's the economic a larger kind of alliance and its muscle showing and through this kind of bakshian alliances. So I think when the combination is not bought with only a string of pearls and this on that and South China Sea and I think the lack of real competition sort of a strength has to be compensated with other initiatives, other initiatives which are very, very grand, like this belt rule. And this if it doesn't succeed, if it doesn't succeed, it's a roadblock in its designs.
And replicating that the posthole fosters military alliances in 2000 20 with a different international scenario. I think it would be interesting to see.
So we should not have a premature guess about it, but see what happens. Right.
So I'm just going to read out a couple of emails. Thank you for that, guys. I hope our audience is happy with our foreign policy discussion because they have often asked for specific things to be explained a little more detail.
Now, just to give on and then, Suhasini, a context of the e-mails I'm reading. Last week I had commented on something called safety ism. Are you familiar with it? I, I was made familiar with the concept the week before last.
Actually, I'm just getting up to speed with Ganzel culture. What is FDM. Yeah.
So safety is and basically is related.
It's close, it's it's the expectation of the millennial to be in an post-millennial millennials will be to be in an environment where nothing that is said should quote unquote trigger them. They should not have to listen to anything that is unpleasant. Maybe I'm saying this from the Gen X angle point of view, but basically that anything can be called triggering or toxic. And because of that, a cancer culture is one of the fallouts of that. And it's the safety ism.
While the millennial thinks he or she is standing up for liberal values, it is exactly the antithesis of liberal values, of not wanting to even be exposed to ideas that could again, quote unquote, trigger you or make you feel that you are in a toxic environment. So based on that, I've got a bunch of e-mails. I'm just going to read them out. And then I just like, you know, the panel's views on this, because last time we just kind of discussed it in passing.
So the first email on this is, by the way, hello, panel. First of all, I feel proud that I'm supporting such a spirited, accurate and nuanced platform of discussion as Hafter After seeing many American outlets like Vox, CNN caving in, I was heartened that opinion then and course stood up for classic liberal values and upheld the ethos of freedom of speech, since he often feels anxious about his views.
Make him sound like an uncle, I would like to reassure them that he sounds nothing but a reasonable person who favors a society supporting an open exchange of ideas without malice and where mere thoughts don't count as egregious, egregious injustice or violence.
As someone more than 20 years younger than him, I'd like to say that there are enough among my friends who disagree on many things, but also hold the spirit of free discussion itself as a value that all of us should aspire to and thus support Harper's little hashtag. Not all Millennials.
If believing in such rational and universal values makes one an uncle, then so fucking be it, because I'm tired of too much equivocation. And if Bartosz hush hushing around the issue of Buckett from my generation to his as a fellow fan of Rushdi, I was surprised.
I didn't mention him as one of the signatories of the letter to. I wrote in to dispel three crucial things that critics of the letter allege.
Since I've got a bad feeling that someone else will write to you bringing about these very points against the little one. It's not about whether free speech is absolute or not. No. Where does the letter mention that free speech means the right to call the N-word or costis slurs? The letter was not debating if free speech is absolute or not, which would take a long time to settle. And nor did it say that the speech itself was above critique and those objecting to it oppose free speech.
It was rather a way out of a certain mood of taboo and silence setting in whenever things got more complicated. And most importantly, the people were either losing their jobs or their positions were made suspect simply because they chose to espouse rather than anodyne opinions to the sciences are not all elite white men. They include Iranian women professors who escaped from the Iranian Khomeini revolution, black women, women like an Apple bomb, and Gloria Steinem Steinem Asian journalist Lee Fang, who was nearly fired for being racist.
That gives a really bizarre and arguably the greatest novelist in India has produced, which I'm guessing you're talking with Rushdie.
The latter was, in fact, started by a black columnist named Thomas Chatterton Williams, who was also targeted on Twitter for betrayal. I think the thing which really spooked the neo liberal Workopolis was the realisation that not all white people. We think alike that they have individual agency to think for themselves and they can be constrained to their group identity, like herd of sheep, the horror, the horror of individuality. Three ideas are not violence, and there should be no ideological safe space in campuses of especially private universities.
This dangerous concept of safety is a myth spreading. I work in one, so I speak from experience. A Trance Vox employee complained on Twitter that a colleague signing the letter made her feel unsafe, and some even had the chutzpah to say that no sign he had undergone anything like censorship or violence. Forgetting Rushdi, Garry Kasparov and many others who had not only been censored but exiled, jailed or threatened, such warped ideas about what violence is amuses me.
Even if Rowlings ideas are reprehensible, the best way to defang them is to show the ridiculousness out in the open. This issue would have been long over if someone were to just to fact check her writing and dismantle each of her arguments. I thought manizha marriage and romance and navigated the issue very reasonably and responsibly. Since Mathisen Maneesha had recommended Matt Taibbi earlier. I'd also suggest his latest piece on this letter to you and all listeners. Also linking had an essential understanding of free speech by Noam Chomsky himself, which has been doing the rounds.
So this is others view. I just have one more email to read and then I would like to get the panel's view. This view is not similar to this. This is way above the above. Says where to kick the hornet's nest, you guys. I'm sure you will receive a ton of emails and pro and against your views. I'll try to keep my brief. I will keep and break it down to three points. One council culture is not a new phenomena.
For generations, people have been canceling and shaming people on the margins of society. For example, let us consider America. In the 19th century, when Jim Crow was the law of the land, black people protesting for equal rights was shunned. At the same time, white people who work for civil rights faced boycotts of their businesses as seen here. And there is a link to a piece on PBS.
Then the Sovereignty Commission contributed funds to the citizen councils and formed a covert network that tracked blacks and whites. Blacks in favor of integration or seen trying to register. Black voters would lose their jobs, their homes, even their lives. White businessmen would face boycotts and politicians would lose votes if they were believed to be sympathetic to African-Americans.
Efforts at integration to who gets canceled in the past, the existing power structure suppressed and intimidate people who are trying to speak for the oppressed. Right now, that has reversed. Those who oppose the fundamental right of people are facing a backlash by those who have gained rights.
Thanks to social media, it is much easier to point out hatred and corrected three J.K. Rowling. So I was puzzled by your painting of Rowling as a victim being quite tortured for expressing an opinion. The problem is this was not her first time. She has been consistently shown. She has consistently been showing transonic views and has been allowed to correct the record. She had a chance to learn and she has decided not to take it. She finds campaigns that are hurtful to people.
Her latest diatribe about trans people would be the last straw and has led many people to demand she not be patronised. Money paid her goes to causes that harm people. In that case, why shouldn't people boycott her? Lastly, you mentioned ideas should be entertained and left to the marketplace of ideas about what is defeat and common place of ideas. Do we just keep listening to them again and again? Or do we say Cuyahoga Bhaskara? If they don't change Lond, do we ignore them or let them face an economic backlash?
A boycott of J.K. Rowling is the freest form of expression and an example of the marketplace of ideas deciding a winner because free speech does not mean you get to say whatever you like without retribution. All it means is you can say whatever you like and the government can not take action against you solely for speaking out. You can yell blacks who did? Whites must be lynched and the government can't touch you again. A link has been provided to an ACLU piece.
Can you be fired from your cushy job or have your books or have your books boycotted yet? Hell yeah. That's it for now. I can obviously go on and on. I purposely chose Western examples because council culture and free speech have only truly taken hold in. More developed economies are democracies. India has not really cancelled anyone for Islamophobia costus bigotry, nor do we have free speech. This issue is not really important in India. Not trigger warnings is something completely different and not related to council culture.
Asking you to be sensitive about minorities in the workplace, the public is a reflection of increased sensitivities. For example, would it be appropriate for you to joke about rape when someone around you has been raped? They not about Washington being judged too harshly, harshly. Saying that values were different back then is not right.
His colleagues were abolitionists.
The reason him and many others engaged in human trafficking was economic. Maybe if council culture had existed back then, slavery would have been abolished earlier. But yes, the anger and agitation up. And then when he talked about soft millennial's being squishy and insensitive was quite something. It was almost like he was what's the word triggered so above. Thank you for it.
I received many other mails on this, which I shall read a little later. Maybe we will publish some of them because they have been very well articulated. If I'm not triggered, I'm happy to discuss this. I would like people to talk about this all the time. I won't tell you not to say this because it triggers me. I love being triggered. I will not say or this upsets me. So don't say it. Fuck say it. It upsets me.
Upset me. Love, loving, upset and cancel culture and. This whole triggered thing, I think are related, they are not the same thing. I agree also. I mean, he's making a bit of an exaggerated rape jokes and on something, you go around cracking. It's not like I was like, hey, what's the new rape joke you have for me today? So anyway, it's not something we have come to an understanding that certain jokes are crass.
I'd say, even like I find VIFF jokes really irritating sometimes when women I mean, I won't I mean, I just find them irritating.
But it's different from saying that, saying that. See, I have a colleague who's Muslim or I have a colleague who's uppercase. I have a colleague, was a Buddhist, and I can challenge, you know, questions about their religion or or for example, me too. If you were to take the gender spectrum than me to during the time of ME2 in 2013, it had become and you saw this in a lot of newsrooms, including us, that the dictum that believe all had become so strong that anyone who had even a small list of questionable quality or skepticism about the case was just like, oh, Utah wincing the with all the that she'd become the epitome of, you know.
So that is what I meant with when it came to trigger warning reporting on stuff. I mean, of course we know that. I mean, none of us want to crack jokes anymore.
It's because it's not like those who advocate for free speech. Yeah, I don't think they talk about it in absolute terms.
The issue it is more challenging your the beliefs that you hold. Yeah. You know, my belief in me or my belief in a particular kind of a philosophy job.
Meraj, you want to comment on that? I mean, and I just like to say of it was a little more nuanced. One is not saying that one can say this, so therefore one should be open to this. One can say that rape jokes are offensive. And I think we've moved way beyond that.
But I think the equivalence you draw in this is the biggest flaw in your thesis. A rape joke is the same as me saying that I don't get the gender fluidity thing, that I feel like a woman and more. I feel like a man. I don't get it. I get raped that you know what rape is.
So an important point that was pointed out is this lack of perspective. So when we talk about these things, people like us, I mean privileged people who have a voice, who have a platform towards abuse.
So when we talk about these things, we kind of tend to like mature gays and just forget what is happening elsewhere. So this incessant focus on cancer, there's this writer who has The New York Times open to him. He can write and then somebody says something to him and his struggle or whatever in this country. Like Webb also pointed out just this. Are you talking about safety? And for example, on campus just this week, there was the story from Yuppy, where in a residential school, minor boys were raped by the teachers.
And there they have to suffer. They still are in that school because their parents, back into some are too poor to come and take them home right now.
So those we shouldn't lose perspective.
Some things when we are talking about this person doesn't have absolute free speech and he's trying to insult somebody. And we're going to go. Right. Those are important debates, no less. But this perspective is important when in a in a country, for example, in India, try talking about Kashmir in a way that doesn't conform to the majority opinion of the government of India.
They try talking about army in this country.
Journalists have been killed, jailed. Right now, journalists are being questioned and jailed and everything. So when we are talking about these things, we should have this perspective in mind. These are important debates, but this is also there. So this isn't just like somebody was somebody wrote a racist screed in the newspaper and has been cancelled.
Yes, of course.
Do that show agitate against that, but make sure that the foundations I mean, if the foundations of this rotten the new some privileged person who writes an opinion piece in a newspaper and then you get the whole discussion is about that, that kind of defeats the purpose.
But then Manado, do you think they do different things? Because in India there'll always be someone worse off than you always be someone who's going through hell, not in the same way as you are. But that can mean that I can't talk about issues which are privileged.
No, of course, always be there. And that's what I started saying. They're important, but that those shouldn't overshadow the more real problems there are.
I just think that different problems, I don't know, real and real, because, of course, when I look at the broader thing is really minuscule.
I mean, I think it's more a trend thing.
Sorry. Go ahead. No, no, I said one problem does not make another bigger or less. Not at all. And the problem is this is how privilege works.
For example, we did the story about this yuppy has been going after journalists like left, right and center. The only time there was outrage was when they went after that. Raja Korea. More journalists, local journalists have had to face worse. Yeah, yeah.
But yeah, but that's something we pointed out that I think every Darumbal. But I mean what I'm saying is that I, I don't think it's OK, but it's an inevitability. I think that I personally don't like spending too much time discussing inevitabilities because. And that's not true. A minor disagreement, Manisha.
It's not true for India that there's always someone worse off. It's true for anywhere in the world. It's true for northern Australia. Also, like today I was seeing in the BBC. But in the morning, Austria, the. Who's contesting whatever prime minister, the president of the political reality is, what's Jimmy Johnson? I think it's very sensitive to the person who's contesting is basically saying that we are paying too much for, you know, migrants, but migrants are other.
We have to get something back. So there's a divide in Austria on that. And one of the person, in fact, she was a makeup artist. She says we're such a rich country. Know, I don't know why we are making such a big deal about we have to contribute a little more to you. So what I'm saying is, even in Austria, there is someone who's worse off than you, because the person saying that I'm a farmer, I'm struggling as Ruwan my crop.
Now, that farmer is probably living a life better than me, but that is true for any country.
Sorry, by the way, just to add the Google alert, it's the president. It's the president.
OK, so on this whole, now, I guess you got to get an idea of what a discussion was last lost among the various people weighing in on this. You want to comment on this? And just one more email I've got. I'm not reading the whole email. This person is saying that she is maybe not mine in his generation, which is mad as in many shows. In addition, she was saying, I have a problem with people who are reporting to me, someone want to take a day off of social and psychological died.
So I was like, why should not? I just want to deal with that. So she says, I couldn't say no because, you know, you're scared. Gisela she says, Did you know him? No, I didn't know him. He was stalking me. But it has triggered me. So I need to take a day off to deal with. Is she dealing with some sort of depression?
I don't know. But the point is that that's the fact that she didn't have the guts to say no. What the fuck do you need a day off? I mean, did you really know this guy? But you can't say that because today the expectation is that I can get triggered because of something. I see. So so I think that's a different thing from a rape joke. And this is something that honestly, I I'm having a problem dealing with.
I don't understand it.
You know, the truth is that we are living in a world where your personal and your professional and your societal views are all out there in the open. They have more platforms than ever before. So one of the things we need to do is I don't know if it's possible to decouple, but to understand that essentially a lot of the things that you just mentioned that people have a problem with or people don't have a problem with our interpersonal relationships. After all, if if this boss has a problem with the employee taking a day off, would it be possible to relook at whether that's something that needs to be decided between within organizations without necessarily being a public debate?
There are some organizations, for example, who we give you paternally, some of the we give you less or will be more more understanding or less understanding because, of course, there are laws about these things. Similarly, when it comes to the more serious issue, if you ask me, of criminality, when someone threatens criminality, seconds, three seconds, murder. The truth is that we do have to look at it in a much more clinical manner than we do right now.
What ends up happening is somebody says something, the reaction to that becomes two thousand times something.
And then what ends up happening is then there is a backlash to that backlash. Eventually, the two people who are arguing about this are the two people who are essentially removed from the actual debate. I think what happened with this particular rape case, for example, on the rape threat, alleged rape threat, because now we have the apology that says I said rape, but I didn't mean it is essentially the person who was given the track went to the police.
Police took action. I think we need to look at it as facts. This is what happened. If we make everything into an issue about and eventually it just becomes reductive because it is not being your liberal, your right wing, your left wing. And then the debate has nothing to do with the actual fact that if you keep going back to the original debate and say, is this an interpersonal relationship? Is this something that needs to be discussed at an organizational level?
And then is it something that we need to decide at a societal level? I think all of these lines have gotten mixed up essentially because of because of, you know, social media and where it's going. And eventually I think we are going to have to maybe work new on facts, i.e., you do not see things that are, you know, just the way you look at a social media, a social platform like Twitter, they have new rules, right, where they say we will not accept the comment that says this is this is this aimed at a community?
Everybody has to make those rules and make those rules personally. And you make the rules society. I think what actually lost, if you like, and this is now I don't want to come into this argument with my own rant, but I think what's getting really lost is the ability to engage. I'm not saying that there should be a middle ground. Some things are just right and wrong.
Yes, I'm. I think that the ability to engage without this necessarily becoming a three generational war that's getting lost in every one of these debates, just like the debate you right now had, whether that person should have been given leave because she was so distraught about something that had happened to someone she didn't even know or not is a factor of a debate.
I mean, how many possibilities if you have what is the company's policy on these conditions can actually be discussed?
They don't have to be reduced to essentially, you know, my way or nothing.
OK, I know that has come to them and had something. You know, I. I mean, the you give one instance of this girl who got affected. In fact, I know people who have got affected and who had no idea of they had not even seen his movies like my son, he lives in Boston. And for the next two weeks he did nothing but watching his interviews, all of his interviews, and he was discussing exactly how intelligent he was and how you and I did.
But I mean, I didn't know what to do for it. I didn't want to do that.
At one point I said, why? Why consequences? I mean I mean, being affected is like I liked Srodes. But until she died, I didn't bother seeing a documentary on her. Once I saw the documentary on her, I my respect for her went up and her death became more tragic. So, I mean, but that's a different thing. And you want to comment on this whole safety ism as an illiberal concept, or is it consistent with liberal values?
OK, and just two brief points on this council culture and what you call citizen first. It is amusing because with this life, we have become so short of what is the purpose of life and what we should be doing and not doing.
It is really amusing that what if I say so? My life is meaningless if if someone said this is it is meaningful. So as if being something is the sole purpose of people are not like that for you.
So that is why, as someone said, that council culture would be justified.
It would be a kind of cell culture of a few, because people are most of the people are essentially private people.
They are not very public spirited, not even even though for a living I write on public issues and public affairs, I am sincerely not really interested in public affairs, not public issues. I'm not interested. And most of its people are like this. We are not interested. They have some views. They have something. And that is also my problem with saying something as love and hate, because these are very historic words and they give you a kind of moral unenforceability.
If you accuse someone of hate Wookey because these are very identifiable words, even say someone not so well educated knows what it is. He has imbibed what it means, what love means, more synonymous words with less, even if they have more impact, like, say, by malice or say a kind of spite. No, that could be the thing. But this morally unassailable concepts like love, hate and cancel him counsel that is would not be allowed.
He should be allowed. It gives a very arrogant kind of ear to things. Second thing is that there is also this kind of you say simple templates applied in some ways, like someone writing on India from very far away in Europe of America.
I know he writes with certain templates of the like, this is discrimination. This is not this. This is the decisive factor. And when I see the right Indians far away and say in Delhi, Mumbai, writing on some remote places in India, I wrote to you. And the templates are seem of, say, one of the factors being the overriding factor Circosta community or some kind of this and that. But as Suhani was pointing out, the so the wrong situation may be more complex.
That would be one of the factors, but not the overriding factor or may not be even an important factor in a particular situation. So you need to be more patient with facts, more to be sent with the actual issue at hand and not be very lazy with applying templates.
Just to add to unknown's point about the stimulus is a very important point. This is a tendency that we use these, for example, Kensal culture. This debate is happening in a particular. Context, American context, Western context, then we transpose it to say Indian context without looking at the context we are talking about this, that becomes problematic. Similar thing happened to that example when those statues were pulled down. The power dynamic, what the power dynamic is that we talk about it in the Indian context without looking at the power dynamic, for example, that the demand to pull down the statues is from people who were oppressed, who are now trying to gain power, and they're against people who have always had power and they're trying to bring equality in Indian context.
For example, if the same thing, say, for example, the Barberi Masjid, the people who pulled it down, are the people who already have the power against people who don't have the power. So that's a completely different context.
These when we talk about individual terms, like UNin said, use these same templates for every context and that is line up and problems.
And then we just I just want to add that I think Sabry Malachy's could be a good way of understanding the cultural phenomena he hatzakis it for. I at least wasn't sure whether the Supreme Court should have interfered or not. And when you're a writer or someone originalism publicly, there are two things that council culture can do that this is not a black and white issue that I could think that Supreme Court shouldn't have interfered. And maybe this is something that people have to decide for themselves.
But I would not feel that I would feel seeing that because I'd be immediately dubbed as an anti feminist or as a backward person or the Zappacosta, you know, perpetuator of tiredly.
So that and I think the other aspect in Consultor is this applause group. And for better or for worse, we are on Twitter and social media and a lot of overt today. We judge by how many people showed up. He says, how many people praise us on Twitter? I think one of the finest pieces that Michelle Martin was on Sabry Malha against the judgment, not against the judgment, but he was arguing the same point, that maybe the courtroom interfered and that piece barely got any traction.
This is a piece where he'd probably talk about Modiin, how terrible he is, what his grouping expects him to do.
So the problem with Sensitizer also that then it kills innovative thought, it kills a writers, you know, it kills the suspect. And right away you want to go beyond what's already being said to see something new for fear of upsetting someone. So I think those are the two important aspects of and also being put in a bracket that you don't I don't want to be seen as an anti feminist, but I'd be scared of saying something that because I think we should fight with my peers but think I'm I'm not a feminist.
And also the pressure of having to weigh in on something that you really don't really have a view on, that you have to have a view on something that I have given up on.
I mean, at least at the end, I think a lot of journalists should do that also. And it's I mean, it's quite remarkable that so-and-so I said that in the beginning, the only vision on foreign policy issues, I really think more and more journalists should just not feel the pressure to win and everything and just talk about what you know, about what's really good habit. And it puts you in less trouble in the time of social media.
I don't think that's possible.
Yeah, but also one important point when great danger of this trend of this council culture is that over time you become self censoring and self. There is no greater danger than self-censorship.
Drew will. It changes behavior. So Hosseiny on and you want to come in on this? I have a couple of emails and so Hosseiny has to leave us. I know she won't want to weigh in on such in another such, so she might want to leave us with a couple of recommendations. Suhasini, what do you have for us or do you want to weigh in on such?
And by the way, before I assume, why should I say I'll talk to the point that I've already said, I think we need to just look at the facts and allow facts to play out. We seem to already have labeled and the amount of labelling that is going on in terms of, you know, if you if you support one side, then you're a dinosaur. If you support the other side, you're not just a dinosaur. You're a liberal.
You're an English speaker. You're a Hindi speaker. You're good looking. You're not looking.
I mean, the we're essentially in a party political crisis has become something that defines the person having an opinion about it is really I mean, it's something we all need to take a step back from. But honestly, I completely back up what I said earlier, which is that if I don't really know something about it, I think it's best to leave my opinions out of it in terms of recommendations. I just say that, you know, the last few months, as far as India and China are concerned and even now with Iran, what ends up happening is we are now looking at foreign policy just as an event driven exercise.
And so my recommendation is it's necessary to go back and read. There are so many books on India and China that people read, which are not just about India or China, but, you know, triangular exercises. So there are two books that are specifically about India, China and the US, one by a journalist, Martin before another by Thandi Madone, who's in Washington. And has written an excellent book about India, China and the US, US's relationships and last recommendation for a book is something like a masterpiece of done on the big game, this Somalis, because so much of this is linked not just to the international law, but to the countries that countries and states that are on the periphery between India and China.
So it's about Lavarch, it's about the button. It's about Arunachal Pradesh and Nepal. All of these have come into focus because of the China situation. So those are my recommendations.
Thank you so much, Hosseiny. We've kept you for longer than we had been under.
And thanks so much and thanks so much for inviting me to to discuss these issues, which, as you said, sometimes gets put by the wayside with all the politics of the day. Our pleasure.
I'm sure our subscribers will be thrilled to see we get to such amazing guests, keep on the love and a subscription that you send us, even though the Hafter is not behind the paywall for the next four weeks. OK, thanks, assignee.
We can it.
Before I continue on to Suchin, I had another two meals a can I just request my producer Aditya also if these meals let's just publish them as one piece this week because they are all so well articulated, even the ones that agree with me and disagree. I mean, I think all of them have made some I think on one page this is how on one page people can read them all together. Now, this one is a bit more nuanced one.
And although, Manjari, you have said just write what I read what you've said. You said I'd appreciate you reading the letter yourself. I don't mind if you don't read out on next TAFTA. So I guess that means that you don't mind if I do either.
Right. So it's not like I'm breaching trust by out for me because I'm being so cautious.
I thought you don't get I'm just I just want to be. No, no. I think I mean I don't mind if you don't read it out thing, so that's fine.
So Manjari has actually, um, I think kind of put a more nuanced position than the earlier two males. Hi. I'm writing to to commend you on your free speech discussion.
Last half thought I felt that nuanced arguments were made and admire how I've been on this show, an open mind exploring ideas and changing his opinions. In some instances, I totally agree that a society needs to allow robust debate and multiple perspectives. But I'm wondering if snowflakes slash Safety Council culture, quote unquote trends actually exist. I define that these trends exist if they are being practiced by a not insignificant minority and which are a bigger proportion of the population than previous generations, which is what I think is what I'm saying.
I'm not convinced yet because one India and US UK are very different cultures at different stages in the cultural evolution, but linked by Twitter. I don't think both could be at the same point on council culture. I don't see any proof that millennials and GenZE are specifically soft. This sounds like a right wing theory to complain when told not to be racist or sexist, to merely replying with energy. Isn't Ganzel culture.
Neither is it council culture for Harry Potter fan sites to say they won't link to Rowling's website. So what? Promote her personally, only her work. She is saying what she wants. They are saying that they don't agree. I think that qualifies as free speech. People losing their jobs, say, for a tweet expressing could qualify. How many such cases are they? Are they enough to form a culture? Is it also council culture to advise people to not watch TV news when people are ostracized by fellow villagers, like when an ancestor of mine was when he decided to educate his daughters?
If people refuse to discuss a reasonable subject without reason, I call it stupid culture, and that isn't new. Also, I'm reading rereading annihilation. Of course I smell some parallels with the Holocaust is ignored by uppercase and how white people don't want to discuss racism as discussed in White Fragility video. I recommend the video to Maharaj. Oh, thank you so much. Sorry, I thought she made some very, very valid points, which is for me at least hard to disagree with.
That is one more email on this gunsel culture, which is also very articulate. I don't know whether I'm going over the top on emails, but I just think that they may have smarter things to say than us. So I don't know. No disrespect to my panel, but I just like to read one more. Then I'll get back to the panel as one male specifically for an unusual given all the time in the world to honor. I haven't read the full countertops.
I hope you have. Yes, I have. I sorry.
I just come to that. There was just one more e-mail on council culture before we come to that. So this is from the judge. I guess you'll see some discussion with my email had me.
Want to put one more point in disclaimer. I'm not a parent. The point is simply look at how kids are being parented now. And before me as a kid did not have me messaging my mom that I'm safe every hour or so. It's not really just one gender. It's like across genders is tech allows you to see where they are almost every millisecond. Point being, if kids are put into an incredibly safe space, don't do this and that, it's a no brainer.
They're going to live in a bubble where anything they. Unsafe is not worth hearing to make an absolutely crude comment, the umbilical cord is never cut metaphorically, the cord is the safety. It's quite obvious where the safety culture comes from, Gen X, Y, millennial parenting. So it's the parenting that's at fault is what they're saying. Now, I know if you end up reading this on have to be where you're going to get a lot of flack from parents for allowing this view from a non parent.
What experience do I have? Something like this, Russell Peters, get somebody going to get hurt real bad so that he does in we have a couple others, so we'll be publishing all the safety emails as one male.
So what we can do is when we publish the letters on a distinguished bunch, all this together and then we'll publish the rest of them. Yes. Yeah, let's do it.
Well, maybe you can put it up separately on a separate post or we can separate. Safety is a little, but yeah, we can do that. Neulander subscribers. We don't say FDM. I think we can and we can link the two that all it.
So I'll just first get to Mr. What's-His-Name. Such a that that will come to an well because let's just break the male social context. Those of you have been living under a rock. Sachin Pilot suddenly went incognito. There were all sorts of rumblings that he's going to leave the party. He'll topple the Taliban government. He had claimed yesterday amylase apparently as 15, 20. Even as of now, he doesn't have the numbers to take down the government or to bargain composed for himself of Afghanistan, which has been outright rejected.
Mr. Chief Minister came and said, this is Navidea.
I heard. How can I go ahead? They've got to change. But they are getting it and they predict changes they will not achieve by then.
I was originally written MEANWELL such and said nothing because I think he was supposed to press conference, but he doesn't no egg on his face. Now there's this joke that's going it on Twitter that sources say that Suchin likes Gunda and rather like a drug or whatever it's become. This joke, these sources, it's a good repeller. So for two days this was like 24 hour coverage.
For the first time we had something besides China or coronavirus. Yes, I was congrats. McGoff related being a party.
So now this has led to, you know, what we are discussing that people have to win idear on such a team, such a team Gehlot. And if you criticize Sutin, you're assuming a team Galardi That's Gaillardia as unitive. That's him. A journalist like when he said a wingin too heavily on one side. That's the context now that we started on and on and Iot suchan because you're young and dynamic, are you on the old side like us young and restless.
You want to weigh in on this? How does this amuse you?
Because I suspect it does. My feeling is that this is a crisis triggered not by such an event, but by so Gellert. And I may be speculating, but I think he wants to get him out of the way.
And in the recent rush of our elections, he had a pretext to do so and and get out of the way in the sense that he wants the succession story to begin in Rajas and discrediting Suchin in eyes of the the dynasties in it.
Then what is that contingent.
But sorry, just to come in in context of the saying, in a public speech, Mr. Gehlot had accused Suchin of ensuring his son's defeat and looks about. Yeah, carrying on. Yes.
So midway it is, he is confident of his no numbers.
And he my feeling is that he triggered this crisis such in would have timed it a little differently if it was his trigger.
Such an article today I saw this. I did get a lot of Aldea. It's not are on that guy.
Are you in such a OK such luck. No. Congress now looks more like that old man, you know, family who is most drinan. I do not for how dangerous it is he is now but who how dangerous it was once. So because you see, unlike the old man in a family in a corner, there is nothing called terminal decline in electoral politics. If you have organization that is few men and women who can work for you and if you have some money, there is always a road to recovery.
And that Congress had around eleven koror sixty votes in the last elections and that is around nineteen point six percent of votes and. Eleven crucial votes, if you fall in a general election, you have some means, some kind of support base is still so it's not that it is not dangerous. And that's what the BJP has not lost sight of Congress. You cannot lose sight of a political party that has 11 crucial votes in the country. And it is not surprising that after Mr.
Gaylord's move, which I have speculated it was his move, this crisis, BJP had sent some signals. What I just I just started writing that if you can say gobble up some numbers, we can do something for you, if not in a frontal more than in a supporting role role that has apparently not materialized for Mr. Piloto is that is what I read some some bits of it is pure speculation.
It always is. In these discussions. Someone said, what what is what is your view or are you on team?
A lot of teams such as Anand said that Gehlot was the one who triggered that. What I feel that Sachin Pilot is the second generation politician. His father died, you know, very young when he died in an accident. And I think he was into his teens or he was barely out of his teens. And he really started from the scratch that we're second generation politician. And he worked on the ground and he built up, you know, his career as a politician.
Now, in Rajasthan, it is true that the Gehlot Gehlot was trying to cut him to, you know, his size. So he was promoting accuser. You know, Nita's against him. You know, who can who can just this his, you know, influence in the community.
So and also he was promoting his own son. So Gehlot was trying to really cut into, you know, size.
So but but I think I think for him, whether he had the support of 15 families or 20 million or more than done for him, it was a very important time to revolt because as Deputy CM, he was nobody. He was given no portfolios. They hardly he was hardly functional. So I think it was for him to revolt. But at this but whether he should go BJP or Congress or the Congress brings him back with a formidable politician, he's not sure of that.
And BJP, naturally, they had to jump in. So they are trying to lure him to his to their own side. But I think this juncture at this point, it was very important for people to revolt and he has done that.
OK, so you are on a very boring just saying. How did you see that video of people getting boring? Boring is boring.
And so Mataji, spice it up, man, that's not important. But, you know, times I was saying the same thing because I have this, as I say, four times also. Will you join us tonight for this is yesterday. So just take our call. So we are discussing on such invited. Will you join it? Prime time? I was like, I don't really have anything of consequence to say to join you on prime time on such.
And so please come. I said no. Then today I got a text. So please comment for tonight.
We will decide the subject later on.
The subject is, I don't know, there's apparently some meet comment that's passing the earth and I've heard once in seven thousand years, in fact, we should have a party to spotted. It's supposedly beautiful.
You can see it in time lapse and all and one in seven thousand years and it's unlikely we'll see it again. So I haven't responded to that text. So please comment for tonight at 8:00. We'll decide subject later.
So what is your story? If you close out that comet, what am I going to say? Should I just say yes?
And just the world is going to end by making you forget the panels, what a journalist doing like never got an Odyssey's full time journalists. What do they like? We'll decide in the evening. We'll just like say what?
And why are you encouraging us to take sides?
I'm doing it. I will if that's my job.
I've had I saw a couple of things that are like really serious and couple of things that are really amusing. First, amusing parties. But this whole sergeant pilot, I mean, this projection, the like the majority opinion is that Sergeant Pilot is somehow deserving of this and he is doing this politics and he's allowed it and he's a victim.
Why isn't a lot allowed his politics? I mean, he's also playing politics only, right? I mean, there's no ideological battle here. This guy is looking out for interest. The other guy is also looking for interest. But the other guy is projected as this oppressor and this guy, this kid who had everything handed to him on a silver platter practically. And he is like a victim in this that I find amusing. Second part is, I mean, more serious point is that Congress, as I've said before, is a dying party.
But again, amusingly, it is still, in the real sense, the only national party in India still I mean, it's declining fast, but it's a National Party BJP for all its dominance, it's still only Hindi heartland party. I mean, you see, for example, the Northeast, as soon as BJP loses part of the center, all those ligaments it has in the northeast are gone, except maybe in the south, except Karnataka. It doesn't have any presence.
All the other states also like, say, in Punjab and Janki minimal presence. So Congress still has presence in all those places, though it doesn't amount to much now. So it has that the most important point aspect in this, which people always tend to agree, is all these political fights are projected. They're written about and talked about as this drama is political drama. As this guy played this game, this guy played this game.
What it shows is the utter hollowness of the Indian politics at this point.
This is a party this is a politician who has been railing against BJP all his life because of their ideology, saying it's India and others, and now tomorrow he might likely be in the BJP.
So what exactly is this, you mean? Yes, but I mean, we don't know. India said the same things in Bengal, the BJP MLA who was on that the other day. He was a communist and a few years ago, and now he's with the BJP. So if this ideology doesn't matter, if what you believe in doesn't matter if it's all because you'll get this part in that power, what does that say about inequality? In the case of the the clash between the Hindu right and the communists of this was also, I think, kind of when we had Alake on our podcast.
He's done a lot of Alexi's I think now he's open. He's a he's a very good journalist. He's written a few books, which we have also feature on news laundry. He said, at least in Kerala, because that's where he's from. It's like belong to a gang. If you don't belong to a gang and you have some sort of a political activism background, you will die. So suppose you belong to the gang of Al Pacino and you fuck up with but you newsmen, then you got something leaving the gang, they'll kill you.
Then you have to go join Alcmene or whatever the fuck it is.
So basically the RSS insipient, get it, at least two gangs. So basically I asked him is like, what kind of places is that vandeleur communists? Are that the RSS? Whatever I like. It's not even commented recently from there which Windows Parishad say, but they'll join Kaliya Tzedakah, he says, because if you don't belong to one gang, you're fucked.
Ideological Holderness is the part of Indian political culture for a very long time. Ideological. I mean, if you see the anti defamation law the way people defect. So I think that is in Rajastan. I think why Gehlot? Because he is a bigger power elite and he's the one who's controlling the short and he is trying to, you know, but he's still the bigger party.
I think one thing is that I would disagree with you that he started off from scratch. Suchin, after Brajesh Rahmah pilot was given that seat, she won, she stayed there and Orsa and then one of age he contested. So that seat never left the family even after all this.
But as soon as he reached the age, have you ever heard of any twenty six year old boy, that moron from Bangalore, who gave that bigoted fool, the BJP strategist, whatever? Yes, many shows do this thing you're saying about Kallah, it's the same thing with Bingol. I mean, I remember Skrull the cities.
So the people who are living communist for the BJP, they're leaving because they're afraid of Dotan, because Trinamool has the power and they. You have to belong to a gang. Yes.
But again, I mean it only sort of affiliation to a party is because material interests, it's a good it's not it doesn't have anything. I mean, that's like if you really think about it, that is what is destroying this country from the inside out. I mean, I think ideology is also because ideologically, I'm working on a podcast and I've interviewed through some five or six people. The strongest ideology people stick to is the RSS. And that's the problem.
But but you can check that out.
And also, without Terman, the usual allegation of bringing us into everything, all these parties are dominated and all these people who are going across with parties, dominant caste people. And it doesn't matter much to them.
I mean, the nominees at time. Yeah, it's only a little if I was just nominated and I just it doesn't cost gougers.
And the dominant thing is generally in India.
I mean, when you the ideological spectrum from, say, communist BJP, it's very, very narrow for an uppercase person. It's very narrow, doesn't make much of a narrow narrow all the buttons dialogue.
McCallan halaal up because I don't get everyone's ghannam because of my very narrow. I don't it makes no sense but I just thought I'd throw it in there.
But I have done a I mean it's the one in two I've enjoyed most. I will say this, I mean not one of the issues in India have done, which is part of the let's talk about is this about a young Odyssey's worker who was part of the guys who went and brought down the Babri Masjid and now he's an activist, Dalit active. Who's hugely against the RSS and I haven't spoken to such a well-spoken, articulate guy, and basically I said, what triggered your leaving?
He says, because when this whole year after we had, you know, rest our lives, because when we went and brought it down, we could have been better to the double also. And other than that, the police cases and all, there were some Odyssey's thing happening to the village and he was the village guy in charge. So the games, you know, refresh themselves in my house. And then they said, I'm calling Packenham, cadaverous them.
And when they left is one of my friends who threw it away because they won't eat from your house because it says that's when I realized that no matter what they say, we are just the cannon fodder for them. I mean, it's an amazing thing to have that guy.
But where does this what constitutes this is like your phone isn't broadcast, except that I've done eight interviews.
You haven't even though I've been logged feminism. Nerem So my podcast will be out by August. It must be the people I interviewed must have thought I'm some mall or something. Tell me what to think about it and then nothing comes out of mind.
I'll be out in all this. Yours realises I'm not me.
I'll be out on your team, Suchin, because your English speaking went up because. Are you in.
My favorite market and are you into English?
I should all go I think. Do things the way I'm using one. No journalist any longer reports on the Congress. Everyone's advising Congress. So even if you look at pieces, you look at reports. This is Rahul Gandhi who ran this city should have done that. Why didn't you do this? So in all of this, we just don't know what's happened. It's just advice columns written to the Congress. I hope they read it. There's lots of advice coming.
They do me what really struck was I mean, we all know that Rajasthan elections was Suttons. Emily's was Gaylord's Emily's. They will be fighting the election between each other. And this compromise formula came with Rahul Gandhi coming in. He took that famous picture also with that caption Patience and what you are what they were the Gallatin's such as he did the same thing, the same thing.
So he so this was supposed to be a great compromise formula where Congress would be one happy family and they'd be working together. Is the moment when notices go out no less than sedition is a charge. How is the central leadership in Delhi just silently letting this happen? I mean, why why wouldn't this thing like what is happening in your state? Why are you guys not I mean, clearly, this is not something that just finally they were slapped with sedition and then, you know, such an revolted.
So the lack of central leadership is also quite alarming. It's alarming that there's no one in Delhi on one of the central leadership. Apparently, Priyanka Gandhi is making calls. Why one does it? No, I mean, she's really she's not elected. She's really a nobody. So to me, I think that's quite alarming. And I mean, Team Sachin, team galore. I think Yellow does have the numbers here. So if you purely go by numbers, he just has more MLA supporting him.
So you couldn't have put such.
But do you think that what Gehlot has articulated and many people have agreed with the fact that Sachin is handsome, speaks good English, the same thing that made you through this, and they are so attractive to many people and I have always maintained his Adolpho from hell. Do you think there is truth in that? Is that why some of the Delhi journalists are so favourable?
No, I don't think that is truth. I thought I was playing politics to kill Sachin forever in a state so that that's what he was trying to do and piloted some different pilot did well.
He was the state president of Congress. He did lead the party with electoral victory. So he does have heft with him. It's not he's pretty boy.
You might have had a piece in terms of the, you know, constituency, but when they said that he started from scratch means building up the party.
Sharma always works with diligently, said religion is love, going to be address to city and not being able to speak. So I don't think I mean, that's a bit of a generalization.
Alright, well, of from my sources, senior communist leaders don't senior has told me that basically nothing. So I would just like to discuss one thing very quickly. But before that and I'll just read this email out, I'm not reading the report because that's a thousand words. This is, um, her soma a first let me express my best wishes to team news laundry for supplying us with excellent content analyses and writing recently, knowing my fondness for the platform, my friend shared with me an article by Vardhan on the depiction of the salaried class in pop culture.
Do I admire the writings of Mr Vardhan a lot? I cannot bring myself to agree with either the President or the arguments made in this particular article. Owing to the long discussion I had my friends on the matter I thought would be perhaps interesting to share the same with Mr Vardhan, to know his perspectives on my understanding of the content in this regard. I am attaching a brief right up. Well, that's right. Try will be a part of, I guess, all the meals since it's an Ed.
I initially wanted to write to Mr Varden himself, but his email was not mentioned. So I'm sharing my views with your team.
As a reminder, the email was sent one and I sent it to him, so he read it.
Please do let me know if you found his agenda relevant and what Mr Vadon may think of it. I would like to extend my sincerest apologies if any part of the reason appears to be offending a confrontation. That was not my intention. I have passion. Argued in the piece also, perhaps because it is an outcome of a heated argument with an engineer friend, look forward to hearing your views and Mr. Vardhan on the same. Thanks. I know we don't get offended.
In fact, sometimes I do, but I think the rest of my team doesn't.
But offense is fine now.
We we like discussing stuff. I think it's healthy. And can you just briefly for us, for those of our audience who may not have read your piece or the other piece, briefly tell us your thesis and what he says.
No, no, I am assuming that except some young and mean, nobody read it.
So a bit about it.
Yeah, it is. If so, I would say it was it was a blend of a light piece and some some social observations and how it's depicted in pop culture. So it was not really you you can see a very dense and piece, it was a mix of both. So I just said that how there is a tendency in pop culture to romanticize certain kind of artistic, free spirited people as against people who are having regular work life and the office going types.
Right. Which includes ingenius and the definition of engineer is the subtext to the kind of portrayal of office types as dull and boring types and and being the less attractive options for romantic life or something like that.
It was so I gave some examples in it, some from films also. I could give some examples which are not part of popular culture, but a part of culture like literary fiction in India.
And so and that was essentially the point.
So what he is saying is so he's saying that is not a problem because he is saying that I can't bring myself to agree with it, but that's not a problem. You you you should not begin reading an article with the exercise that you have to agree with it.
So it is not a problem. You are welcome to disagree with it.
There is no point for any dispute on fat, on factsheets. And basically an article which is retaught is basically about interpretation of different characters in different contexts. And my piece is about interpreting those characters in a different context. So there is also something about a difference of opinion.
I don't know what to say to a difference of opinion. You are entitled to have one. You are welcome to have one.
And also, you see pieces can't be about everything, pieces, even academic cases. Books cannot be about, as Einstein said, they have they have a particular frame of reference and within which they try to address any point.
There's no Gord's theorem. Right. So thank you for that. Now, I just like to quickly and in the next five, ten minutes, if everybody could quickly give the view context is that there's a young standup comic in Bombay Lagrima, Joshua.
She had done this standup act, you know, a couple of years ago where she had said that you tetrapods Shivaji statue Barnegat, which is obviously bigger than even Sardar Patel statue. And she's basically she was mocking that people believe anything, get someone to think the statue recovered by solar panels and then the solar panels above it, all of Mumbai or something like that. And I said, Chaske, Yakuza, laser beam being akhlaghi are just that. So she was making fun of.
That's it. Yeah, she was making fun of statue. Not she was not Shivaji.
Even if you're going for Shivaji I think that's fine. But she wasn't doing that. Be some insane guy and you know, threatened her with rape and then the other it just became this contagion of people threatening with rape. And after that a guy called Aman Malik, I think is his name. He had done a stand up thing a few years ago where he had made fun of the sergeant.
And again, he was not making fun of garnishee, although even if he was, it was fine.
I think he was saying that how people are getting drunk and dancing in front of you. And what would you be thinking that you've come here to remember the sergeant to pick up the camera, you know, because they keep dancing, they keep doing this for that are some Marathi, Movado, the fact that movies.
So that was his humor. And he also had to apologize.
And that's not even that.
Right. So there's this spirit of now I sympathize with these journalists and I've said this an awful lot. Them we've discussed at length. I do think that the apology is disappoint me a bit. I mean, wait for the fight before you apologize. I mean, I think it's a Bombay thing. Bombay, you should have said it no matter what happens, you know.
People come and say, fuck off, are you celebrating? OK, sorry, I'm in Delhi and I've written a piece on that, which is my show business, which is I considered the literary cosmopolitan because the Shiv Sena, when they tried to do this in my presence in prison, I was really struck this Gevorgyan goil. He and his goons are Hammerton typical d'elegance got together and back them up and said, we will sit here and predict, who the fuck are you to tell us now, do you think?
And of course, the home minister, who has nothing else to do in my last job, tweeted that Please take action against both the people who did the rape threats, but also against agreements.
Sure. Yeah, which is quite rich. And the police is arrested. That guy, that guy, the another three or four more who've said, now, I just would like the panel to weigh in. Are we? Because I know now comics in Bombay are censoring what they're saying. I mean, I has unappeased to try to get comics to talk to them, not want to come on record everybody's shit scared. I think it's tragic. I think they're going down the way.
And I, I think that while the Maharashtra government is a BJP, is a Congress Shiv Sena government, I think this is a tendency of the hardcore Hindu right of this rape threats and how they make fun of this person, fun of that person. Is it just a Twitter bubble that these people live in? Because I know journalists have been getting threats of rape and murder for longest time. They are always bold on their stories. Is it a Twitter bubble that makes the problem bigger than seem bigger than it is?
Or is it actually a big enough problem? And do you think it's a bit disappointing that all of them are like running to apologize every comic, and especially because the Shiv Sena has been getting a lot of goodwill from the liberal circles.
Now that all you like new leader, nice. And we are happy to live here and not BJP government state. So happens that the BJP government state has arrested a guy and where is she had to apologize to Shiv Sena and all these guys.
So yeah, it's good. Sad because if all these comics in Bombay could have come together and stood their ground for her petition to the C.M. and said, look, you can't Julius like this. This is you know, this is not I mean, you can't just be screaming fascism and screaming, you know, little freedom of speech when it comes to the BJP. I do think here because purely because there's also the Congress in the power in the government, Aline's Congress, NCP and Senate, they could have actually really stood together, stood their ground and went to the government, even made the committee, the home minister, and said, this is really not you know, you're you're also the captain of the entertainment industry, just doesn't augur well for any of this, even for the scene.
If everyone has to be bothered about making a joke of a statue of Shivaji, that's just too much. And even for Ganesh, I mean, he's basically making fun of the revelers, not vanish. Right. Forget the fact that whether you can find gods or not, but you can, of course, offend people.
But I don't find the very funny.
But suddenly he was like, he's just sitting there thinking, yeah, I guess if we cannot say celestially, I've got Pyra says that we call that he says Yamal Consuegra referring to going, oh, it was an this offensive thing is ideal way of dealing with the problem.
But I think it's a big enough problems if you listen to these comments, because they are losing out there, because if they are losing businesses, that's the main thing.
And that's why they don't want to do the political. So it's an economic impact.
It's having an India comedy, as you know, speaking to Dubai or the John Oliver or the Jon Stewart. That sort of comedy is not what most comics want to do. Comedy still in India is about making people laugh, doing good business, getting a houseful and making money out of corporate shows and and stuff. So I think and like journalists who can do nothing else but tell stories, so we can't really keep apologising for every story we tell because that would mean our business shuts.
But for comics, they can just go back to cracking jokes on engineers with they gun and said or on anything else. It need not be political or commentary on society.
But this is an important point. I mean, whenever we tend to talk about curbs on freedom of speech, we usually talk about the government and the police.
And this economic pressure to conform is very important.
I mean, if you don't have a job, if you can't make a living, how are you going to I mean, it's easy to say, OK, all these comics should gather together. They are the police. They can speak up. But if tomorrow they don't even have a job, they have to struggle for a living. How are they going to speak up? I mean, you have to have the security to speak up.
Right. And this is what I'm going to recommend this piece at the end. It's it's a no. It's a speech that Bertrand Russell gave it back in nineteen twenty two. He talks about this, how economic pressure is one of the key.
He lists three things that are the most that are used most often by countries all over the world, societies all over the World Cup, free speech and freedom of thought. One is education, another is propaganda. And third, is this economic pressure.
After your recommendation, I even I will do a recommendation, Bertrand Russell, on his contribution to pop culture.
But Anand, you want to weigh in on this? I mean, you think I'm being too harsh on the comics to expect them not to apologize because they don't really have a choice. There's an economic impact. Now, what if the apology was sincere?
So if I sometimes I think that I crossed.
I could have cracked your joke without saying so, or if a painter or cartoonist thought that depicting a particular date in a particular way was not in good taste, can or can also be an introspection, not only intimidation. So it happens. It happens if you write something. Looking back at it to say five months later, you can think that I could have done away with this sentence. This was not required. So I don't know what the case with this particular comedian is, but it can sometimes happen.
Also, epilepsy can come from introspection, also intimidation.
So that is there are cases where I personally think but they need not add to it. Then they try their choice of words leaves a lot to be desired.
And the imagery they make, I think that that's an easy way out to make some comical remarks, to use certain imagery, to use certain words.
I think it lessens the efforts of a community in its craft because making people laugh in a clean we are I'm not mistaking clean for being politically correct, but doing away with certain words can certainly help. That's my view. I am not for censorship, but for the forum. You can see their own craft. There is a lot of escapism in using such imagery and words to make people laugh. That's the easy way. The second is that comedy is also generational.
One generation, the older generation may not laugh at the jokes of current generation and vice versa. That is also there. It is also a reason that, like I myself don't I cannot bring myself to laugh at a lot of metropolitan jokes because I don't find them funny. Similarly, they will not find me funny. So it is also not of universal value.
So I think aesthetics of comedy or taste is a different matter. And that I mean. Yeah, I mean, that's, I think a no brainer. It's an inevitability that will be different. I think the point is that, like, I won't even go into the aesthetics of whether the jokes are funny or not. And I personally don't weigh in on that, although I pride myself of having won four awards for my satire, writing when I did was take him off for seven years.
You see, when that judges Charlie, what was that whole case with Charlie tally the votes which are not.
You know, when that happened, I wrote a piece and I remember shortly after that in a few publications, there was criticism of them. A lot of their humor wasn't funny. There was just like a few images of the Prophet Muhammad's balls hanging out, running like it had no context. It was just fucking let's provoke conflict. I don't think that that condition was relevant at the time. I had no exposure to the work. For me, there was at least 12 guys who had been shot because they drew the Prophet Muhammad.
I saw their work after I got to know who they were. I didn't even know who they were till they were killed. I think the commentary on the work was irrelevant. It is what had happened. Now, I'm not saying people have been killed here for me to comment on the book is relevant. And I've written a piece on this. We are getting to a stage where what the prophet is that you cannot make an image of him. Are people excited about the they are becoming and I've written this in a piece of news laundry that maybe when I am strong and powerful enough, I have enough money in the bank to make sure that I can fight a legal case because I think it's easier to protect yourself against physical harm.
It's a legal harm that could completely compromise an organization. The concept that I want to start an image of a comic book like we've done our somebody that starts off with Modi being drawn and then just being this black blanket that is the prophet God. But because you can't draw him right. And by the end of the comic, the prophet is fully drawn. And Modi is this white beard floating around because he cannot be he has reached that status.
I think that would piss off everybody equally. But the likelihood of us surviving after relo. So, so but I really want to commission that comic at some point that I think that aesthetics are irrelevant. If if I can't crack a bad joke, even it pisses you off.
Yeah, it's it's a pathetic state of a country where the Matsuko recovery. Have you seen that I was in Mahmud's you I mean, I find Mahmud's humor funny, but not because I have one leg in the walk and one one leg in the not vulcano. I'm also laughing at his you and I'm also cringing at it like what you know, even, etc.. Not my father's favorite, all favorite films he's managed to Tamilian. Even a mother thinks there's nothing wrong in it.
I mean, like, what the fuck? But that's the we lived in now. Bloody hell you you'd make Barazan today in Tamil Nadu. Your butler will get Pucallpa. That's a fucking are.
No, but that's a very important point. The right to crack a bad joke. Yeah, but that's what freedom of speech is.
Just a bad joke. It's. That's what freedom of speech is all about, it's to accept views that unpalatable to you.
I think I had made it clear that I was not in favor of censoring it. I I said that my point is not against what he should do or what he did not do or what I am saying that people can have different takes on coming. Yeah. And also politically incorrect commentary is very much part of comedy.
I think it derives its strength from that. So that is all fine. That is all fine. I was never against it. I was talking about aesthetics just as an add on to the discussion that had already happened. I was not going to repeat those things.
Anyone, any Mahamud fans other than me. OK, both of us clearly said the Vogue generation doesn't like me enough.
I think I liked his movies, but he was so delightfully crazy. So it was delightful to I like I like him. I liked yeah. Johnny Walker wasn't crass. He was genuinely funny. And before we wind up, we just would like to talk a little bit about this flood situation and all these.
In fact, it's on the BBC.
Also, the only news story that is on the BBC Morning Bulletin is the one Indian story probably missing from well, to be honest, three days ago, Amitabh Bachchan, then family being positive, made it to the BBC.
Yeah, we didn't. That wasn't part of the headlines Prakash has written.
I liked Episode 24 a lot, especially the discussion on Indian cancer culture. One part about what I find grating is looking almost everything through the prism of casteism. I think this episode showed a better glimpse of that flawed outlook. Panel pretty much agreed that names of villains had to do with casteism. And this is especially glaring concerning. Up in London has a pop culture podcast, the weird names like Chocolate and Prefigures that on 70s, 80s and villains were like comic book characters.
If you look into popular movies before Surulere from 90s Shavasana, then you won't see that pattern. One of the most popular films that India had a villain named Suki LOL, no doubt about which cost categories that belong to.
And today we have a three way the sacred game, Youngie, Antiapartheid, Upward, Woosley, Bremen's and even there was a time around the eighties and later that's when I grew up.
Kayal was balladry Dominie. He was Inderjit Chatterbox Zingale, modern Taubira all fairly popular villans. But if you want to look at it through casteism shawki pricking my take is they just chose certain names and 70s 80s it rolled off the tongue with a nice punch and norvik. Aspendale doesn't have that. A static sound for the comic book style depiction waiting for Maharaj to add what is good. Bad aesthetics is defined by casteism at three to one.
Then he adds I wrote that criticism regarding casteism by panel and later three I read this and that is linked to the New York Times piece on the cost of the Cisco felt a bit like I got my first assignment and not I don't know yet, though I do think there is something in what I had to say.
Nobody is right that the names of lead have not been the typical names like you were saying. Maybe not the names, but the depiction is still there. Do you see how they, for example, portrayed allowed in committee?
He was old royal king and he was one of the greatest kings of that Islamophobia by all the all the bad characters these characters are Muslims with.
And but by the time a very good one of my closest friends, she's a professor of creative writing at NYU.
She wrote Monsoon Wedding Coming. And many of these films, she's just been nominated on to the academy, the U.S. Academy. Another one is teaching a course on how villains depicted Indian cultural and social ethos through the ages.
So what you're saying, mother, India and all that time we were coming out from a phase where there was scarcity and the Barnea was the villain because they would talk to Rodica Plamann right from other inveterately couple on McGunn. It was always the Banyard. The guy was hoarding grain or that, you know, that other the good daku up and they go to get the cow. Then she she goes on to the bait about whenever the darkness of the temple Ravensworth, there was lawlessness and there was this Bihar's devil Boggis.
And then she's gone on to show how. Then it became the another thing that that the the and there was no Clearville and it was much more of a clash of family and values of the NRA versus Indian. Then there wasn't that Islamophobia thing right. From, you know, what you're talking about.
So what I said, I agree with you that it is not just cost. I was seeing a doctor would never be called. Maybe I said in the Movieland, but it would not be documented.
Shabaan they can be. But that's what he's saying. Yeah, no, but it can be said. I could see Maneesha, if you were a villain you'd be the slimy one was holding out and not feeding us.
You're not ready to entertain temples. I would be though, you know, I mean, I'm not saying they would be the villain who was not paying his employees, not the one who's taking over the world. So in that context, I think what I said was accurate and I would. Highly recommended when NYU opens up again, you go sit in Sabrina's class, but you told me about this that she's preparing for.
She's she's actually doing a course on this at NYU, on Indian Villans, you know, is like in the 70s, a smuggler, you know, during the when you couldn't take a girl, every villain was a gold smuggler.
So allowed in Kanzaki. The problem is not just the I mean, they got everything wrong. Like he was actually reciting a Persian pop song on the stairs, you know, like the famous Beaujon pop song every single holiday. At some point they were very refined people.
But anyway, so this part about Goodbar static, it is defined by casteism, not just by custom.
That's important. When I was talking to them about the Carnatic music, why is it that Carnatic music is the standard, this beautiful music?
And see, the adivasi folk music isn't because the people who practice Carnatic music, they have the part in the society simply in a culture where it was Galavis poetry considered more refined, more eloquent than say, what you would call, for example, me say.
I usually say you go out on the street, there's a autorickshaw fellow that you're listening to, like what you would call this very bad, terrible Bollywood song that had it this jobin.
And he's listening to it because it expresses his emotions or it expresses his feelings, his love, for example. And you go inside in your beautiful home. Listen to Ghaleb. Why are your feelings more important than his more refined than his more aesthetic than is? So it's because you have power, you have the cultural power. You define it by your standards, not by his standards. The same is the case with the same is the case with dancing, is the case with literature.
I mean, this is an example of what is the difference between Gorleben.
Yeah, I know, but I think I don't know what I'm saying is more refined white.
I think your assessment is no objective assessment. This is about is not exactly how you feel.
It is different.
But still, I mean, Gallop's poetry is so poetry to a person who understands all the language, who is a native Urdu speaker and let him decide what it expresses, feeling the same way to express the you.
But that's the only purpose of art.
No, I find my expression, but I think what I just don't what it this is a very long discussion that has often taken place.
I wanted to say something about this whole business of sociology, of popular culture.
It gives it material to a lot of people in many, in fact, to the discussion just now on my piece was just the kind of attempt of sociology of popular culture. The response was also it.
But both me, including all at times guilty of overeating things. It may be a one way traffic, because when the scriptwriters or you may say the lyricist write something, there may be other considerations, not the kind of disconnection that people subject them to.
So it becomes a one way traffic in that in that sense.
Also, the discussion around cost this the what if you see places like like Bihar is considered in India as one of the most cost inflicted societies. Now, if you have to observe it for a longer period of time, you will see it just as one of the factors, not the overriding social factor here. So, again, that application of template that only counts that kind of flaw, because I see it as spheres of influence, different castes having histories of influence, historically powerful because it's historical.
So are same caste people benefiting from other cars on the standups, depictions or portrayals of spheres of influence that they may they may hit their interests to other costs.
So you have a powerful caste leaders of other caste and other people trying to benefit from that sort of leadership.
So there is a lot of extra within caste spheres of influence. It's not really that this is the decisive factor. This is the only factor deciding it.
It may be one of the factors in some of the circumstances, but reading all social behavior, all attitudes around it, I don't agree with I don't think anyone does.
I think other than maths and to an extent, maybe physics, chemistry and biology, everything is not an absolute even economics is not so.
So that's one quick point I'd like to make about this. So when we talk about costs, we usually understand it like casteism is just this upper class oppressing the lower class. But that is not always the case. I mean, as America recognizes.
The sort of the genius of the class system is that every layer has something to oppress, someone to oppress, and even at the bottom there are wheels within wheels which which examine this hour.
So this dynamic exists throughout the story. And when we are talking about, like the letter also said, the prism of cost, that is this is where we fundamentally disagree. I don't see this as a prism, as an aspect of society of Indian society.
I see the like when we talk about the fabric of time and space. This is the fabric in which all these things exist. These it influences these things. It's not like that. It is always the most motivating factor, most powerful factor, but it always affects every bit as the canvas, as the painting.
I mean, another example, for example.
So when we talk about it, we talk about the universe, we talk about God. Does the universe make sense to you without a God? Lot of people say it. Doesn't it make sense without a God like that being whatever it is, whatever it is, it makes sense to them. Without that, that's fine. For me, for example, it doesn't make sense without that God person the right.
So when I talk about how the universe operates, how this thing operates, it doesn't make sense if I don't play that God figure right. Similarly, it doesn't make sense to me why, for example, only 25 percent of the population, but only two percent of them are undergraduates, adults. It doesn't make sense to me without explaining cause it doesn't make sense to me why the basically 90 percent of the land land assets, the capital in this country is controlled by uppercase who are like less than 20 percent of the population.
I, I think there's enough data that the U.S. has, which is a very data rich country, has an original series on this. I think it's very useful, but we are close to ours. I would like everybody to quickly give their recommendations. I want to wind up in five minutes. But before that, we talk about this every year.
Maraj or so since you haven't been here for one year, we talk about how the Assam floods come.
Manisha tells the same story. I tell the same story, Ramata. The same story on every drop. I went to Devers on stilts at a thirty feet high, still thirty feet high. Kaziranga has a road that bisects it, which is high of fifty feet higher than both sides, and therefore the whole park becomes a lake. What new do we have? Until when does it have to go on?
Seems like it's got to go on forever because right now the toll of the damage this year, it's around 92 is the latest casualty figures.
Around 5.5 people have been affected across pretty much every district. And to compound the problem, not just in the immediate in the long term is almost one and a quarter lakh hectares of crops have been damaged and that the impact of that is going to be long term throughout the year. And what is the most serious thing and the most thing that should outrage everybody is that this has been happening year after year, year after year. These lives uprooted. They settle again, uprooted again, and there's not no solution has been found to.
This is also the place where the government expects people to produce documents for the NRC. Another story which I've heard this time, people broke their own houses so that the bricks do not go over. So they want to save those bricks after the floods to see them.
Then they will build them back again. So they are breaking their houses even before the floods, you know, touched the lives of the bricks.
I'm sorry. I think I misspoke. It's 35 black people. Thirty five and a half black people, not five and a half like five and a half.
Black is in the worst hit district, which is the total hit to thirty five.
Yeah, thirty three point five million.
Yeah. What about an annual flood. The annual.
If that hasn't happened and it will happen, if I'm going to imagine that national disasters are like so inevitable in this country, there are some districts which are on the verge of being inundation and we conduct these are two major rivers.
Ganga is not a very, you can say flood prone bringing river in India, I'm sorry, in Bihar, sometimes other districts get inundated, but not not for long. But the region and Gundelach and these are the rivers which bring in some districts that are reporting the inundation aspect of what will from migration point of view have been is that a lot of migration comes from the flood affected districts. And since many of them have returned and this is how it is this time of the year, many new.
All migrants go to metropolitan cities or because of no, they're not here right now. Now, they don't have that option because of this 16 day lockdown, again, enforced with a lot of the strictness.
And this is going to be a critical period of flood period, because it is the it is a period which brings a lot of migration to imagine city just to just just cross my mind, to imagine I mean, you can tell the state of the institutions of governance and accountability in this country just by looking at two things, that the disasters, natural disasters have become as much an inevitable fact of life as fake encounters. Right.
One that's not very encouraging notes. Let's get our recommendations. Can we quickly have them? I'm going to give mine first, just as a way to give their recommendations quick. I'm recommending a podcast from NPR. It's called Hollywood's Blacklist. It's a fascinating story about this black guy with any case that very few black people as executives who got a job, and Leo DiCaprio, his production company, and he started something just as a lark and it became a thing.
It's a really fascinating story. I was just hoping that maybe we should start something like that. But check that out. And there was another piece in the wire that I found was an interesting read on propagandise racism. I don't agree with all aspects, but I think it's a nuanced take because you these days, it's trendy to say it was racist or he was a Mahatma or he was neither. He was a man. That's that. But these are my two recommendations.
Maneesha, one really short story, just to make yourself feel happy is about this this story about the 50 year old Lady Megalo who cleared Welte exam. It's a really sweet story and didn't expect you to just read it. Just Latifi, just to cheer you up the excesses of Kholoud, culture and Atlantic, because we've been talking so much about the counterculture and there's an Amazon series called Rammy. It's on Hulu. So those of you who have Hulu outside could watch it.
But those of you who are in India could watch it on Amazon. It's really it's sort of like a Muslim free bag was that was the name Rammy Island, where it's really funny. Tackles fundamentalism, Islamophobia. It's on Amazon devoutness. Yeah. It's about this Egyptian American guy who's devout but also debauched. So I think it's brilliantly produced by the comic as a human being.
Yeah, but it's really brilliantly done.
The when I only referred to Bertrand Russell, so it was a speech Freethought, an official propaganda, it's called. It was delivered in 1922. But there are a couple of things which I mean, I don't agree with. And the history has proved them wrong in relation to religion. But other than that, I mean, all the topics we've been discussing about Ganzel culture, about freedom of thought, about nationalism, how it's an affliction, it covers all of it.
It's worth reading and rereading.
Is it a big read or is a very you know, not that much. It's not romancer to articles in an Inn Express, one written by One Nation, Korea. And there is a rebuttal today by Partit. He's an ex congressman. Yeah, it's beautiful. It's interesting. We're monitoring Gary is talking about the Congress ideology, the culture, and also the fact that in its DNA we have just three leaders who can lead this party, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Gandhi.
So and then today he is yeah, he was with the Congress and he has told that the kind of problems that he as and he said he's from Tripura. So he said, I think at the maximum votes for the Congress, the Northeast. And also he said despite that, the people like CPAC, the nomination culture that the Congress has and how it is killing the Congress. So situation is not so bad.
I must be honest with you. There are certain things I'm very prejudiced about. Like I cannot read a piece by been saying, seriously, I cannot read a piece of machinery.
Seriously, I think that they are both buffoons, but that maybe sometimes they make sense. But it's just that it's not about democracy. But they get a joker one going to what Joker can be up to whenever he wasn't.
I mean, he's a hard go congressman a lot, but he's still worth listening to and reading, I think.
I think he's a costis elitist. I know that he is. Yeah. He's definitely a sane man who lives in a bubble.
Say so. And the one this Netflix pay, I mean, this one mini series on Salisbury's poison poisoning. We all was in 2008 and there was a meeting in Salisbury, which has a population of forty six thousand Russians had allegedly, you know.
All right, I've heard enough. You're not ever so interesting miniseries.
Apparently it was, although I mean, just not a hoax, but more like an inside job or something. But I mean that nobody knows for sure.
And the recommendations are two recommendations today I handed. I came to know about this venomous that today's Aulis nickname. Why on earth would that be the worst of all things?
So. Well, a snake needs a funny reading about snakes.
I had a few years back read a book about snakes in India. It's it's an interesting book about Indians, Snakes, Snakes of India, The Field. It's by Romulus Wheater and so kept and so on. Snake there. This is a venomous book that's I will give this to my father.
He's a big snake fan and I can understand why. I know. I just want to give a warning to Gujarat. The Brethren don't start reading books about Cochran Fofanah. He's talking about the ones that bites.
So on that bad joke and a bad joke pissed off all the kids that the audience that carry on on that note.
Second is the Hindi novel and the English translation is also available.
And it's by a very large Shukla who who's better known for writing satire rather body.
So in the book I am recommending is a novel and his relation work. But I think it is a more mature work from him and perhaps his most accomplished work and the swooning horticultural agenda. It has been translated into English. To those who don't know Hindi can write, they can read the English words and thank you.
On and on that note, please, can I urge all of you to subscribe, even though for the next few weeks the halftimes free, but my privileged and entitled colleagues did expect to be paid. So those of you who just pay us to access the Hafter, please don't discontinue for the next 12 weeks. In fact, if I if you could use this time to share the half hour wider so that it can become a habit for many. So when you put it behind the paywall in another four weeks, those people do pay.
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Today's song I have picked specifically for the Congress Party. So this goes out to them. This comes from the Katja Kovalik, harana of Caballes. Have a good week. Have a good weekend.
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