Hafta 285: Chabahar-Zahedan project, Rajasthan political crisis, cancel culture, and more


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In this week’s NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kripal, Mehraj D Lone, Manisha Pande and Anand Vardhan are joined by Suhasini Haider, diplomatic editor of the Hindu.

The conversation kicks off with discussing how Iran dropped India from the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project. Abhinandan asks Suhasini how this might affect India. “There’s this kind of FOMO. Right now, you don’t want to be cut out of any geo-strategic game, especially when a country like China is signing a massive deal with them,” she says. She also talks about the scanty coverage of foreign policy issues in the current political climate.

The discussion moves on to “cancel culture”. Has it been taken too far, or is it a “conspiracy” by boomers to call post-millennials “too soft”? In Manisha’s opinion, “Cancel culture kills innovative thoughts.” Mehraj brings up the privileges and narrowed gaze of cancel culture. He adds, “There’s no greater threat to free thought than self-censoring.” The panel also discusses whether cancel culture is an elite fad of the West, and if it works in the Indian context.

On the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, Raman believes it was triggered by chief minister Ashok Gehlot, whom he says was promoting his sons and the Gujjar netas in the state. Sachin Pilot, he says, was “hardly functional” as deputy chief minister, and “at this juncture, it was important for him to revolt”. Mehraj thinks the victimhood of Pilot is “amusing, as there’s no ideological battle here” .

The panel also compares Jyotiraditya Scindia and Pilot, discusses the curious case of apologies by Indian comedians, and debates whether ideology really matters in Indian politics.

Tune in!


00:00: Introduction and headlines

8:43: India dropped from Chabahar Rail Project

36:01: Subscriber letters on safetyism, cancel culture, and freedom of speech

1:10:51: Sachin Pilot vs Ashok Gehlot

1:28:48: Subscriber rebuttal to Anand's article

1:33:15: Agrima Joshua, limits of comedy, and apologies

1:46:00: Subscriber letters

1:56:43: Assam floods and the inevitability of disasters

2:00:40: Recommendations

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