Hafta 284: Vikas Dubey, CBSE’s revised syllabus, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and more


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In this week’s NL Hafta, the Newslaundry panel of Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone and Manisha Pande discuss gangster Vikas Dubey’s arrest, Jyotiraditya Scindia’s speech, and cancel culture.

The discussion starts with Scindia naming former chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh in a speech, where he reminded them that he’s still around and powerful. Talking about Scindia’s legacy, Raman says, “Scindia may become a power figure with the Centre’s help.”

Moving to the arrest of Vikas Dubey for killing eight policemen, Mehraj talks about how Dubey flourished in Uttar Pradesh “because of political patronage.” (Note: This podcast was recorded before Dubey was killed.) The panel also discusses how casteism runs the police and bureaucracy in Uttar Pradesh, and how people are likely to applaud the police and chief minister Adityanath, who openly boasted about controlling crime in the state with encounters.

The discussion then moves on to CBSE scrapping chapters on citizenship, nationalism and secularism from the curriculum of some classes. The revisions were made to “rationalise” the syllabus in view of the pandemic, CBSE said. Abhinandan questions the choice of the chapters that were deleted, and the panel discusses whether the decision was politically motivated.

Abhinandan brings up a letter on free speech, signed by multiple bestselling authors and intellectuals, which acknowledges the national reckoning over racism and social injustice, but also argues that the protest movements have helped weaken the norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favour of ideological conformity. The panel also discusses the idea of “safetyism” — that people are weak and should be protected, rather than exposed to challenges. Manisha points out, “The word ‘trigger’ is being used very loosely and when used so loosely, somehow the heft goes.”

This and a lot more, only on NL Hafta. Tune in!

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