Thursday, October 20, 2005

Right to Blog for Awareness

The members of the "Bloggers of Bangalore" community would like to bring to the attention of the media and society at large, certain unfair and intimidatory actions undertaken by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) against members of the Indian blogging community.

In June 2005, JAM, a popular youth magazine published out of Mumbai, ran a story on IIPM titled 'The Truth about IIPM's Tall Claims' pointing out blatant exaggerations in the institute's claims about infrastructure, courses, affiliations and placements. For instance, the magazine article pointed out how IIPM continues to use certain rankings conferred upon it AFTER those rankings have been withdrawn by the bodies conferring them.
The magazine ran an ethically researched investigative story on IIPM, revealing what was a marketing fraud by the college.

Alongside, the editor of JAM magazine and a former student of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, who is also a blogger, published the same on her personal blog. In August 2005, blogger Gaurav Sabnis, another Mumbai-based blogger, posted about this on his own blog, linking to JAM's original story. Soon after this, he received an e-mail from the IIPM legal department threatening to sue him for a huge sum of money unless he withdrew his comments. Simultaneously, he was also pressurised by IIPM through his employers, a global hardware manufacturer. Rather than put his employers in a tight spot, Sabnis decided to quit his job.

The mainstream media has picked up on this issue and the stories are available at the links provided below.

Hindustan Times
Indian Express
DNA
NDTV
Business Standard
MSNBC

This issue has created a furore in the blogosphere in India as well as internationally. The strength of blogging as a force to reckon with has previously been seen in the co-ordination or relief efforts in the Tsunami crisis and the Mumbai rains at Mumbai Help and Cloudburst Mumbai.

For detailed information on the bloggers vs IIPM issue, please visit Desipundit for chronological updates on the controversy.

The purpose of this petition is to express solidarity with the bloggers who have suffered threats and abuse at the hands of IIPM and also to draw attention to the original issues at the heart of the JAM story on IIPM.

If you believe that journalists and the media should be free to inform the public of false advertisement which directly or indirectly affects their lives;
If you believe education should not be reduced to a marketable commodity;
If you believe that blogging is a powerful supplement to traditional media;
If you believe that bloggers should be entitled to individual opinions as also their own online space for airing and discussing these opinions;
If you believe in standing up for your rights; as an active member of society, as a blogger, as a citizen with the right to know

Please show your support to this cause.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

D'oh !

You guys were NOT supposed to see that ! The post wasn't complete, it was poorly drafted and it was all wrong. I accidentally hit the publish button last night but quickly cancelled the operation. But I guess wasn't quick enough.

Now, I don't know how to finish it... hmm...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Ich möchte einen Toast auf Wien ausbringen!

Before I left, I remember telling people that I was not looking forward to this trip at all - 5 days stuck in a conference room, meeting ultra-efficient Germans who expect nothing less from me and non-vegetarian friendly eating environments and office politics. Little did I know how wrong I was...

Vienna is by far, the most beautiful city I have ever seen. Not that I have seen to many cities in Europe but with my limited experiences, it is the most beautiful. Beautifully majestic cathedrals, cobblestone streets, city center fountains, the works. This was right next door to the hotel I was staying at.

And this was the way to the conference venue each day.

I could go on and on about the wonderful architecture, the amazing gothic looks on the massive cathedrals and all that. But I shan't. I shall talk about the mention the two most prominent things I saw in Vienna. One was, obviously, beer. I could have lived there for a year, just on the beer (Now that I'm in the US now, in comparison, the beer is quite... ummm... as a wise man once put it, like Gnat's Urine). Its fantastic, the variety, the flavor, the texture. Most of the nights we went out, I was way too happy at the end to actually take pictures. One of the guys from the conference later emailed saying that the whole deal was so much fun primarily because of the beer and the company. I couldn't agree more.

The second thing that was all over Vienna and I mean everywhere, I mean 24 hours, non-stop multiple channels worth of... I will just let the picture do the talking. Or the ummm... whatever.

To the boys - Torts, Pauly, Lurr and Lex. And to the girls - we love you all. Especially Liz. Thanks for Rammstein. Thanks for singing Summer of 69 in a loud, drunk German accent at 3 in the morning. Thanks for all the beer and the octopus. Thanks for everything !

(Obviously, this is a post-dated post. Duh. And the title means 'I'd like to propose a toast to Vienna!')

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sehen sie in Wien

After a week of putting me on hold, the Austrian Consulate finally decided that I am worthy enough to enter their glorious nation - resulting in my landing in Vienna on a bright and sunny Sunday morning. The week might pass without me ever leaving the meeting/conference room... but the presence of interesting German associates and random cousins promises some fun. Following which, three weeks shall be spent in that most promising of lands, the US of A, where the Guinness shall flow like water and much hangover brunches shall be consumed.

Everyone who's here, have a great time. And I do recommend the Assam Gold or the Darjeeling First Flush. Splendid they are, truly.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's amazing...

... how well you can get to know a person given some 15 odd years?

... how smart some people seem till they actually open their mouth?

... how bus drivers in Bangalore think they are actually mountain biking?

... how words from That One Person end up being so painful and so heartwarming at the same time?

... how funny this actually is?

... how busy we all are these days, but at the end of the day, how little we actually get done?

... with the blink of an eye you finally see the light.