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NL Team

Hafta letters: Gandhi and celibacy, battling propaganda, Uniform Civil Code

Great work, Newslaundry, and a special shoutout to Manisha for watching painful Godi media and making TV Newsance. I would love to hear the panel’s views on Gandhi’s celibacy experiments, particularly the controversial aspect of him sleeping in the same room as his grand niece, sometimes naked, as part of his experiments. This information was brought to my attention during a recent NL Tippani episode when Atul debunked Anand Ranganathan’s claims. It was quite shocking to learn about this side of Gandhi, as I hold him in high regard for his contributions to India’s independence and unity. While I agree with Abhinandan’s view of Gandhi as one of the greatest men to have ever lived, it is disheartening to discover such aspects of his personal life. Defending Gandhi’s actions in this regard seems inappropriate, as these experiments are bizarre. Please enlighten me if my understanding is incorrect. 

Aside from that, I would love to have Ravish and Saurabh on the Hafta panel. 


It is true that there is discrimination against minorities, especially Muslims. Some of it may be triggered by dog whistling by some leaders. However, has anyone tried to go deep into the question of why there is a distrust around just one community to this extent, and across the world. Should there be some introspection amongst Muslims as to where they may be going wrong? There is an ecosystem which ensures the mistrust continues. You cannot solve this problem by repeated Hindu bashing. Please get some true intellectuals and journalists with integrity and without bias to discuss this topic.


Hi, my name is Rohit and I am 20 years old. I just learnt that Newslaundry is co-founded by Madhu Trehan. She is the sibling of Aroon Purie, the owner of India Today.

So, I just have a question for all of you, since you are all journalists. How did these big media organisations and journalists become this favourable to the government? Is it just about money or do these people actually believe in the cause of this government? 

Also, I have a suggestion for everyone, read the book titled Sapiens. It gives you a wide understanding of how cast, creed, race, politics and basically everything works. Also read Mein Kampf, it’ll give you an understanding of how love jihad and land jihad propaganda is working. 

Rohit Kulkarni

Hi Newslaundry team, hope you’re doing well. I just watched Delhi Belly for the hundredth time and I still cannot believe that this movie was released in every state and no one wanted to boycott or ban it. Delhi Belly was way ahead of its time and I still yearn to watch more movies like this. But people today don’t even touch that genre. Did you guys watch the movie in the theatres when it first got released? What were your views on it? Do you think that if such a movie was made today, would the makers get permission to release it across India, that too in the theatres?


There is a lot of hatred and propaganda being spread by many political organisations, and like-minded people spend all their time either justifying or disproving whatever is being said. This eventually amplifies the thought or hate. 

Can the rise of positive content help reduce the impact of propaganda? Like some patriotic movies in the past (RDB, Swades, LOC etc) or good content which highlights the beauty of diversity in the country. Basically, can art and artists change the environment of the country? It seems like there is a lot of negativity due to the loud minority of hate mongers.


Dear Manisha,

I am writing this letter with regard to last week’s Hafta in which social media influencers and their role in politics was discussed. At some point there was a discussion on UCC and you mentioned the need for a separation between religion or religion-based law codes and personal and gender-related matters.

To some extent, I understand the need to ensure equality and uniformity in the way cases are dealt with, especially when there is a risk that there may be groups of people who, under the guise of religion, could try to push their own agendas while stepping all over another person’s rights. In a country like India, women’s liberties, their rights, their safety and their well-being are all highly-threatened at any given point and any measure to protect these matters is so important.

I am an Indian Muslim woman living in India. After listening to your thoughts on this matter, I would like to mention a couple of points as a form of feedback. As a member of the Muslim community, I am horrified with the many ways Muslims in India have used Islam as a shield to pursue their own selfish and destructive intentions. Whether it be Muslim men who think saying ‘talaq’ three times is in any way is a valid form of divorcing a woman in Islam, or whether it be the many self-appointed representatives of Muslims on TV spewing half-baked theories and opinions. It is important to remind oneself that just because you see a section of a community associating an action or a theory to a religion, it does not necessarily make that action/practice/theory a part of the religion itself.

As someone who stresses the importance of proper research and citing of one’s sources when writing news articles, you surely will understand the importance of doing some level of actual research on Islamic law and jurisprudence before saying something like “in Islam men can divorce women for committing adultery but women can't do the same”. 

I am not pointing fingers at you. If anything, the global Muslim community has not exactly been the best representation of Islam in many ways. However, even a teensy bit of effort on your part by looking at credible Muslim scholars and what they say on these issues will tell you that there is no such condition and that adultery, once proven, will always be a completely legitimate reason for filing divorce, whether it be the husband or wife. 

Similarly, there is no concept of triple talaq in Islam. If you actually study the rulings of divorce, the process of divorce is very clear-cut and involves a specific series of steps that takes into account the rights of both parties involved. I am sharing a YouTube link  of a scholar, by the name of Javed Ghamidi, who talks about the abhorrent practice of triple talaq as carried out by many Muslim men in India and how it is in no way admissible or legal under Islamic law.

I apologise for the long email. It’s okay if you don’t end up reading it on the podcast but I hope this email does reach you and that you give it some thought in your own personal time.

Thank you for all your hard work.


Anam Tariq

Newslaundry is a reader-supported, ad-free, independent news outlet based out of New Delhi. Support their journalism, here.

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