Hafta 257: Modi’s speech, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Iranian general’s assassination, and more


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This episode of NL Hafta is hosted by Manisha Pande, who is joined by Mehraj D Lone, Raman Kirpal and Meghnad S of Newslaundry.Manisha starts by asking her colleagues about their highs and lows of the year gone by and their hopes for 2020. They all identify the protests against the new citizenship law as a high and mostly the police’s brutality against the protesters and the government’s indifference as a low. Manisha sums up her highlight of the year thus, “Ordinary people doing ordinary acts of resistance.” She cites as an example the many lawyers who gave legal support for the detained protesters.Talking about Narendra Modi’s speech where he urged Indians protesting against the citizenship law to protest against Pakistan instead, Meghnad exclaims, “We are heading towards a genocide because the signs are all there. We have seen in history how it works.” On Modi and his claims, Raman says, “In recent times, I have not seen any other leader speaking lies through his teeth.” Delving into why the government is not taking a more sensible approach, Manisha argues, “We aren’t doing anything to push Pakistan to be more responsible towards its minorities because that would mean we have to be more responsible towards our minorities.”In a brief discussion on Jaggi Vasudev’s remarks on the citizenship law, Mehraj feels the reason his remarks were amplified by Modi and Amit Shah was because he is a prominent Hindu religious leaders who can speak fluently in English and, thus, can connect with the elite.On Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem Hum Dekhengae being denounced as “anti-Hindu”, Mehraj says this happens when we “decontextualise stuff”. Faiz, he points out, is talking of a communist revolution. He adds, “In our daily lives, in the art we create, the words we speak, we use idioms, metaphors that come from the culture we live in.”The panel also discuss the assassination of the Iranian military general Qassem Suleimani by the US, and how it could make the Middle East even more volatile.Tune in!

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