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Why fear the blogosphere, why chase the cyberspace?

July 20, 2006

So much has already been writren about the “Bloggers Block” that I was wondering whether or not to add a post on the issue when an incident today in the monrning  helped make up my mind.

I had an appointment with a dentist early in the morning. I started on the normal route which was a right turn 100 meters away from my house which goes inside the colony. I was astonished to find that the gate was closed. I parked the car to inquire the reason. From across the gate, I met another young man who told me that he stayed only three houses away from me. He was seething with rage. He said,” Not letting the outside traffic inside the colony does not imply that you cause so much inconvenience to residents. I am coming back from the local club. You mean to say that I can’t go to my own house from the local club just to accomodate outsiders. Who decides what is right and wrong and with whose interest in view. Which ###$$ did this. Is this the wayto make decisions?Does he have any common sense or no.”  I suppose voltaire’s statement of Common sense being most uncommon applies as much to a residential welfare association as to all  governments.

Since I had an appointement I could not afford a conversation with him and went by the longer route which had a horrible reputation for peak hour traffic. Though normally it takes around 10-15 minutes,it took me thirty five minutes to reach the destination. The inconvenience caused and the analogy with the  bloggers block  can be viewed in two contexts:-

The narrow incidental context:-

In my case, the gate was opened within 20 minutes(came to know later) but in the case of blogging, three full days have passed and the governement has neither given a satisfactory explanation not taken back this deplorable step. Some five minutes back, I came to know that somebody had posted a couple of pages of inflammatory stuff on a blog to defame a particular religious community and to avoid inflammed passions from getting out of control, an order was passed to block just two pages but the ISPs blocked the entire blogsites.After four full days, the govt relented and restored the accesability to the affected sites. If the reason given is true, the ISPs are as ignorant as the government. The issue is -does it take so much time to realize  in an age of information revolution and mass(instant) communication? Considering the earlier impression, many people have written that techno-savvy terrorists would manage to communicate through the net anyway and it would be a little amateurish for professional terrorist to use blogs for this. Then, can so many people be put to inconvenience like this?

The broader context:-

The remark that the guy made about who decides what is right and wrong haunted me and reminded me of a book that I had read years ago about “The survival of the individual” by Ama Pant. Though the book was first written long before the personal computer was introduced, the author probably had blogging in mind stating “Intelligent attempts to create a vast new range of relationships between man and man, between man and his environment and man and his society are becoming more and more prevalent and came enable an individual to survive meaningfully and creatively. ” Hasn’t blogging served as an excellent tool for the above?.  

What better way to remain alert and intelligent than through blogging. Whether it is the murder of Jesicca lall or whether it is the uprising of students against politically motivated reservations  or Gaurav Sabnis v/s IIPM; for a non celebrity, blogging enables mass acess to other individuals that no other tool has. 

The basic jist of the book is how the individual is a cog in the wheel not just in organizations but society as large. It talks on how the party that holds on to power tries to retain it at all costs whereas the individual continues to remain depressed, surpressed and exploited and has feelings of fear and anger against authority. It talks of depornalization of people in companies I remember reading on some blogs on how some people made matters of their organization public through their blogs and were taken to task for that.  In the David(Individual) v/s Goliath( Society/government/ company) battle, blogging can prove to be a great leveller in the future.

Internet in general and blogging in particular is the first mass media tool directly in the hands of the individual. Nobody in the entire history of mankind had such a unique tool for interacting with complete strangers all over the world. Can we be deprived of it  in such a brazen and arbitrary manner for such a long time without a real reason? If not properly highlighted and redressed, we will have an encore in the future for some different “reason” .

Some major newspapers are getting into the act and trying to gain public support through singature campaigns on the net. They, however are the mainstream media. This is first and foreost our tool and we should be vigilant about our accessability to it at all times. 

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18 comments

  1. I think the real question is not “who decides what’s right and wrong” but HOW do we decide what’s right and wrong.

    Good post.


  2. I just wish that one day our intelligent Govt dont ban gas filling stations just becoz terrorists use them to commmute from one place to another.

    Nice written dude!!!


  3. very well documented thought and analogy……..as ergo said the read Q is not “who decided what right and wrong” but “how do we decide wats right and wrong”
    cheers


  4. Does look now that the ISP’s were the dumb ones… but thats taking nothing away from the draconian mindset of the present govt. and the basic cluelessness in handling crisis…. very well written post…


  5. Free speech is a prerogative in a democracy, whether it’s spoken or written. Anything that obstructs it is undemocratic and thus needs to be protested vociferously.
    The blocking of ‘blogspot’ in India was in flagrant violation of free speech and Indians admirably protested it!


  6. HI Hiren,

    I agree 100%. You are right. Blogs are a mass media tool in hands of ordinary man. Write what you feel and think.
    Amazing. Great Post Man..Keep writing such stuff..

    Sandesh


  7. Well said! Sad, but true.. we are in the hands of some real dumb people!


  8. I don’t know what to say 😦 !!

    ==
    Balakumar Muthu
    http://i5bala.blogspot.com


  9. Hiren,

    The entire episode brought into light, the readiness of Indian govt to cope with any information-technology related warfare.And it failed miserably..

    With a double-edged sword like blog in hand, people can use it anyways.There should be a protocal set to handle these situtations..

    Good post !


  10. Never amazes me to see how people make stupid decision all the time. Thoughts Well put.


  11. well the good news is tht its back on


  12. Wonder tht blogs have become such powerful media.but blocking some blogs contradicts the freedom of press clause, n if they really wanted to block some blogs because of containing some offensive content, i guess we have a flag system, which makes the domain itself to block the blog.neways as evryone is saying, im happy tht its back now


  13. tnx a lot for ur comment dude…..good post…


  14. Very well said!


  15. my stupid ISP is still blocking the blogs… well they started when all lifted the ban.. i just wonder when they will lift the ban. or would they ever??


  16. Nice post. I agree with you on this topic. Accessibility should be a right for everyone in a democratic country like India.


  17. It’s amazing. I have to feel honored and humbled, you could make you’re way to my blog. Thank you.

    Rights in a democracy, as with any system of government, are a fragile and continuously changing.


  18. well said !



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