Saturday, October 28, 2006

Shall we censor?

I know the blogdom is full of people who vouch for freedom of speech and expression and talk passionately against censorship. I got one thing to say to them. *Bull Shit* Get real no body wants freedom... all of us so badly need censorship, you know why... Cause we are so fucking wild..we have no control on our's and no respect for other's freedom of speech and expression.

Seeing a sudden furore on the DBM mailing list, triggered by a mail (about a job opening) posted by one member today made me spend the whole day going back to all those mails on this list where I have been a victim of such censorship, of a few members thinking themselves to be so full of wisdom that they think its their moral responsibility to decide what's fit and what's not for this whole group. I went back reading and recalling how being vocal about a certain topic bother other members so much that they leave this forum forever, how initially this place was so full of ownership egos and it was so well defined who is an outsider and who insider. How there has been occassion when democracy has been completely repudiated on this list when moderators took policy decisions on behalf of 100s of us. I created a google note back copy pasting each of those mails there word by word making doodh ka doodh and pani ka pani. But I don't intend to share that note book coz then a lot of dead would be unearthed. Bitter memories would be refreshed not only in my mind but also in those with who I have patched up now.

But I would still make my point here. Umpteen numbers of time I have been told and have seen those wise men telling other rebels like me that there are certain kind of mails which are NOT to be posted on the mailing list (a public forum) and instead should only be restricted to personal blogs. The punchline of censorship. Shall we challenge it?

I would just quote the very latest in this regard. It was a post wrote by paavani on her blog. I expressed my opinion on that on the mailing list. Of all that followed, the most significant was this conclusion, that my biggest mistake was to have written what I wanted to write to the entire mailing list and not restricted myself to Paavani's blog ONLY. And such virtual attack followed inspite of me having given a proper disclaimer in these words

"Hi, This is my reaction to Paavani's post. First I started writing in her comments section, then I thought of mailing it here. Then I thought it would be safest to post it on my blog since it might have objectionable content. Seems like its bad luck day for me... isn't working again...can't even publish so am mailing again."

The first reaction to the mail was outrage from so many of them in so many ways. I ask, to restrict myself to my blog and not use a public forum to express my angst over something, if *that* is the right thing to do then how can we argue against censorship of blogs or media on the whole by government. The logic on mailing list is that irrelavant off topic mails at times containing personal grudge gives rise to flame wars. Government have the same philosophy behind blocking blogs, movies, books, they contain material which outrages the sentiments of certain section of society. Internet is the most public of all forums. If we don't control what we publish on the net utter chaos might follow just as a simple mail regarding a job posting is followed by exchange of malicious mails. Or some one's opinion on a certain something may lead to 2-3 members leave the DBM list.

Message No. 2193 is a farewell message of a member where he clearly mentions he no longers wishes to remain a part of this group because he doesn't like some member expressing too much.

He says

I almost left the group when the whole alternative DBM issue happened bcos I didn't agree with a lot of vocal members who "protested" for whatever reasons against the new group.

Goes to show how difficult it is to express yourself on the list. Seems like people here are sitting with their sentiment in hands just waiting to be hurt. Just about 200 of us and so much of tention already. What we write in our blogs affects the entire nation. And we think that need not be controlled?

Coming to another side of this whole issue. What is Topic to begin with so as to decided what's off topic. Now this is where lies the philosophy of control. Those so called wise men, those flag bearers, those who think its important to keep certain things in certain order and therefore telling us DO NOT do anything which is Off topic, off tradition, off culture, off religion. They don't trust that every adult mature person have their own sense of right and wrong. On this list I am aware of instances (Msg no. 1065) when one member has requested the moderator to throw a certain non acceptable member away from the list and a third member taking stand against such a request (msg no. 1088). So who decides what's right and wrong.

Let's take the present example. The logic is that since each mail that is shot on the list reaches inboxes of 100s of members who then get annoyed by off topic mails. Ok agreed but then when they agreed to recieve mails in their inbox they should keep some space for some off topic mails also. No one is perfect. So assuming X has shot an off topic mail, the rest have only few options (1) ignore it. (2) Ignore it but at the same time inform this person nicely in private that you didn't like the off topic mail. But that's all one can do and if that doesn't work well just bear with it, he is a fellow member. Of course if things go way beyond tolerance, if such (so called) off topic mails become too frequent then one needs to think of a way to put full stop.

In today's case am sure this guy is well aware of the purpose of DBM List (personally I am doubtful if we even have any purpose or not but that's a different issue) and he knows where to draw the line. His mail so didn't deserve to be backlashed by around 15 more mails (all off topics coz they are about a off topic mail) within few hours of his having shot it. He thought of shooting one mail and stop there but the rest of the group so very wisely have ensured the off topic is continued even as I write this post.

My simplest of expression in this list (Msg No. 1484) of having made some new friends and a note of thanks to them have been objected by the then moderator and few other members (privately thankfully). I was softly told I should avoid posting such mails as then the other members feels left out.

I can go on and on but my eyes hurting now. I virtually spent my whole day doing this. I am not always politically correct. I take sides and have no fear saying Prashant's mail wasn't that off topic and Joydeep and Priyanka's mails were extremely uncalled for.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Diwali 06

This existence in the cyber world can at times take a toll on you. I don't mean my blog to be a digital diary, so I don't write about every day things on it. But then every time I meet someone online they ask me the same questions bout my life and I find myself typing the same damn lines over and over again. Fingers ache man. The latest being 'so how was diwali'...Uff why don't people understand. For them its a casual opening line to a chat conversation which should ideally be answered in a monosyllable... good, bad or ok. But people, I can't do that. That's my problem... if you ask me I would speak. So finally I thought I'd put it here for one and all to see..everytime they ask me I am gonna give this link. Or better still, I will put the link up as my status for few days..till the time they stop asking that question to me. I am seriously so sick and tired of repitative questions.

Here's what I did. I don't like crackers. I hate the noise it makes. My dog Jango, he hates them too. This diwali he was sitting quietly culred on the sofa, head hanging downwards looking at the carpet, lost in deep thoughts when the first cracker of our colony burst. In a flash of a light he jumped out of the sofa and in one giant leap reached the balcony and started expressing his angst at such sudden nuisance in one long waoooooooooooooooh followed by many small wao waos. He had hardly expressed his utter bewilderment on human being's weird of idea of fun when more happy kids blasted more funny crackers all around our house. Jango just couldn't take it. With multiple wao wao s he kept running from one corner of the house to the other, trying to put accross his point to the happy kids who are now joined by their proud parents in the fun. Round and round he went hardly stopping for a breathe or two.

I could so relate to Jango. That's exactly what I feel like doing when at one unexpected moment a loud blast scares the shit out of me. Not just miniature bombs of all sorts even the charkhis make noise these days. Found out only this time. The charkhi glows, goes round round and also makes a noise similar to that of a missile launch...uff....

I like the lights though, like the fireworks in the sky. So I took along my sister and drove around Dwarka to see the lighting of the various societies. Dwarka has many empty sky lines looking at which you can see many fire works all at a time. We then to India Gate. Idea was to just drive around but not park, reaching near Maurya Sheraton I was reminded of a friend who lives nearby. Called him. Since he joined us we could park there at India Gate, he treated us with Ice cream...more nice fire works there in India Gate. At around 12 we pushed off to RK Puram to be with some of our old friends. That being our old neighbourhood, a place where we had lived for around 19 years before we moved to Dwarka.

Why catch up with old friends at 12 in the night. The day when diwali is celebrated we bengali perform Maa Kaali Puja. The worship of Goddes Kali, the goddess of Shakti (Power) Kaali a name associated with black and violence, this goddess is worshipped by dacoits, soldiers, tantirks etc. The puja is essentially performed on an amavasya night. The ceremony only ends at late night and is traditionally concluded by a goat being sacrificed at the goddess' feet. The devotees then have a major feast on that sacrificed Goat.

In today's times of course the sacrifice is no longer done at the puja pandal. But we still have the feast at around 3 in the night. All devotees stay awake throught the night to have the prasad. Pathar Mangsho (Mutton Curry), Cholar Daal (Pulses), Luchi (Puri in North India), Pulao, beguni (pieces of brinjal dipped in Besan and deep fried), chatni and rasho golla being a typical Kali pujor prasad.

Besides catching up with old friends in RK Puram I also got to have a glimpse at my longest lasting crush - 18 years.

Was back home at 2ish. Since then everytime I tell some one how did I spend this Diwali...its freaking them out..."You were driving around on a Diwali night!!! Ahem well I didn't realise it was such a risky thing to do...we are dare devils you see.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Minutes of DBM XIV

Minutes of XIV Delhi Blogger's Meet

The meeting was held at the same time and place as
announced. It was attended by 12 members with 5-6 of the old and regular ones and rest new faces. Compared to last couple of meetings this time the attendance was low but the discussion was much more constructive than before. Let's see where do we go from here.

The agenda was of course to discuss a blog camp or somthing of that sort event here in delhi. As we started our planning we were posed with few basic questions

(a) What kind of event are we looking at? Is it going to be a huge affair with lots of sponsors and propoganda or do we want to keep it simple like our meets are. I guess we all agreed to make it big (attendees correct me if I am wrong)

(b) What do we call it a seminar / blog camp / a workshop / a meet etc.? Most of us don't want to call it blog camp and its not just about the nomenclature we don't want to repeat the chennai thing....we've got to do something different and new. something that hasn't already been dealt with.

(c) what kind of audience/participation are we expecting? We can either try to reach out to people who are not into blogging by doing some thing very basic..what's a blog..its uses, handyness and effectiveness, or we can keep it amongst the circle of those who are already blogging but focus more on issues they still would want to know bout. We understand that the two groups are mutually exclusive and we can't expect a event to be atteded by both we have to promote the event accordingly. We haven't really reached to a conclusion on this.

(d) What are we going to do in the event? After a lot of brainstorming we have more or less catagorised two kinds of activiities.. som sort of research papers on topics which are very very off track this will give new perspectives and round table discussions where we would debate some of the exisiting notions and trends on blogging.

Topics for Research, anybody can volunteer to take part of conduct these researches.

1. Personality of the blogger v. the blogger [suggested by Lijo , Prashant, Sanjukta] a more flashy name for this is Indentity Management through Blog or the Psychology of the blog. A case study on this cannot be done unless a guineapig has volunteered for it.

2. Education, Abroad studies and blogging - A students perspective. [Mayank]

3. Shall we censor | Darker side of blogging [Sanjukta] I want to know how reliable is the information on the blog, given the fact that blog owner can control and tamper of publishing the post, comments on it etc. Should we then really have absolutely free flow of all kinds of contents. Shall we allow inflammatory blogs in the name of freedom of speech.

4. Blogging trends accross nations - interaction / comparison with Indian Blogsphere. [Twilight Fairy] country for case study Pakistan. We are similar so are we really similar. We can find that out though there is doubt as to how much a blog reflect the country and its people. I guess at least we can compare two similarly placed bloggers...say journalists or software engnrs or activiists etc. Fairy can explain this more.

Topics for Round table discussion.

1. Raveena Tandon - why are you not blogging? [Harneet, Yogesh] I think they are trying to say something about celebrity bloggers....or may be they were just kidding....guys pls explain

2. Blogs, a threat to certain Industries [Prashant] job of travel consultant being replaced by travel blogs, and somthing about banking also he said. Prashant can explain this more.

3. Horizontal Blog [Prashant] where one person is blogging about everything under the sun.

4. Frequency of Posting - effects on quality of blog [Prashant]

5. Blogging Syndication and their impact on freedom of expression [Nikhil] Its like this, a jaana maana blogger express is PoV on something and everybody else in his group tends to agree and only agree..let us ask ourselves are we really exercising our Freedom of Expression. I personally find it interesting though I think it goes for other media also. After all most of us are taught to conform to notions and ideology preached by our peers.

6. Sun V. Microsoft - The technical art of Blogsphere [Yogesh] He would have to explain this.

Topic on which guest speakers can speak and also discussion

1. Business Blogging [Lijo] this I think have been discussed quite a few times before. However one can speak on any breakthrough changes in it.

2. Blogging in Regional languages - Support and technology [Lijo] He knows farmers in Kerela who blog in regional language. It might be interesting to find out about all the available technical and other support for regional blogging.

3. Ways of improving aggregation of blogs to better reflect quality content. [Nikhil] He would have to explain this.

4. Usability issues with mobile blogging [Nikhil] as its gonna come up big time in the next couple of years this is the right time to start talking bout it.

Besides these topics there's general expectation from the event, common between me, Harneet, Fairy Mayank, Lijo (pls add ur name if am leaving u out), to reach out to those sections of people who are part of the same frame and yet unaware of blogs.

- Media that reports on blogs
- Govt. agencies, they have access to internet, power to regulate but don't understand blogs.
- Students
- Creative minds at home..the home makers, retired persons etc. got access to net but not utilising
- social activists, i know so many of them who have faintly heard bout it and wanna know more about it.
- Basically Anybody and Chota Amit said anybody can blog.


So we really had a fruitful discussion yesterday. Now the next step. As of now we have all promised to blog exhaustively about the topics we have suggested. Let's first have a reality check, how easy it is to conduct these research. I suggest we set up a community blog (on blogspot Beta) for this purpose and have a Wiki also.

Time now for the group to speak.

List of Attendees

Lijo Isac -
Amit Gupta2 - www.amitgupta. in
Prashant -
Rohit Malik -
Roopak -
yogesh - ?
Nikhil -
Harneet -
Twilight Fairy -
AmitKen -
Sanjukta - (I have shifted to Wordpress..actually am at both the places..i keep cross posting)
Mayank -

Friday, October 06, 2006


Ok I know I am tad late...actually too late..but the nick of time... Announcing DBM XIV and this time we do have an Agenda...huh finally


Date : 7th oct'06
Time : 4:30pm (it gets dark by 6pm)
Venue : Steps near audi, (BBC meet waali), IHC, Lodhi road.
Agenda : planning a seminar style meet, progressing onto a blogcamp.

Participation: Be there if this announcement sounds interesting to you

See you

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Did this translation long time back....just thought would re post it today.
Shyama to Bajrasen -

Forgive me my Love
What is the curse for the sin I did,
Let the almighty bestow upon me
You forgive me
My sin was not in thy Book,
sinner I am in God's feet
There God shall unleash his rage,
retribution be silently accepted by me
never shall be able to bear your unforgiveness
Forgive me

Bajrasen -

Forgive her, I could not
Forgive my feeble mind my Lord
My love was crying, My love was dying
of shame of remorse.
Alas! I could not take her in my arms
I hurt my love
Sin I did to punish sin
Forgiven she would be by thee,
she who falls tumbling on thy feet
of shoulder loaded with sin.
Know I this my Lord,
that thou shall never forgive me,
never forgive me for my mercilessness.

From 'Shyama' by Rabindra Nath Tagore