Sunday 23 December 2012

Delhi Protests - against Rape #VAW - Why you need them?

As I write this post, live TV coverage of Delhi protests is on tv for the second day.  Students are bombarded by tear gas and water cannons. Good work by those who stood up for their rights. There are some good posts covering the agitation and since I am nowhere near ground zero won't talk about how peacefully (or not) the protests is going on.  I suggest you read posts like this :

Also, I wont talk about what the solution is. There are well analyzed posts like

The idea of this post is to answer few questions that are asked about the need of the protests or the quality of the protests: Like(but not just this) conversation

First question that is asked, what do protesters want? I understand most protesters don't know exactly what they want and/or why they want. For example, even a law of death penalty for rape, cannot help today's victim, as the law is only for incidents that happen after that. Most people don't understand all these. My simple point is, they don't need to. In any protests, that is carried out by big leaders, the followers don't understand all the minor details. They just say, "oh. I need separate country/state", right? Same here. I don't support death penalty for rape for many reasons. But one angry lady shouting there and asking for it, is wrong? How? She is not the lawmaker who is going to amend the law tomorrow. She is just expressing her anger in the way she knows and in the way she thinks as correct. And she is better than some "so called" leaders who have millions of people behind them. I am more worried about these leaders pointing the wrong solutions like "blaming the victim" than the innocent/not so well thought protester slogans. So please don't quote the protesters and say, "oh. they don't even know what they want and hence the protest itself is stupid". They don't need to know, the anger tells the government that you need to provide them safer country than what it is today. "How" is a problem of the intellectuals/politicians who have access to the data about the crimes and the reasons behind them. The people are there to show their concern/anger/helplessness.

Second is the undue media coverage. I agree that same level of crime elsewhere in the country never got this kind of media attention. But this is true always. We need to blame the media for this and not the protesters. My take is media is covering this more because, a. They also fear for their own safety. This is their problem too. Many of them take those buses/travel on those roads. b) Happens in Delhi where all the equipments needed are readily available for a 24 * 7 coverage. (Including cameramen / reporters to work in shifts). c. Last but most importantly, the people who are protesting are the first consumers of this 24 * 7 English media. If the media doesn't cover this today, they are going to be upset. In any market based environment, you don't want to lose your customers. Anyway, all these point to the business model of the media and if you have problem with it, you should take that discussion elsewhere, not here.

Third is that the protesters are wasting the national resources like police and blowing up the issue than what it is worth. I don't agree to this. Any discussion on Violence Against Women is welcome, doesn't matter whether it starts from Manipur or Delhi. We need this discussion to start somewhere and hopefully end in better society. If not for these protests, we (men) all would have forgot about "rape/VAW" as a problem that  is faced by this country and would have moved on. To keep this fire burning, to get the media talk about it, to get the leaders think about it, we need these protests. They should be peaceful and hopefully they will be. (Though I hear political parties are trying their level best to turn them violent).

Another point raised is that, all these people protest, as it affects them and not because it is a social cause. As in, question is, why they didn't protest when similar incidents took place in the past, when it happens to lesser privileged people on other parts of India. Yes, they (or I should say we, as I identify myself more with them) are the middle class who usually keep away from the politics and protests and don't comment on most of the topics. You protested in kudankulam or in Telegana and they didn't come there (even on a weekend) to help you. But as you have a right to protest, they do have, no? If they ask you to come to Delhi, to stand with them, please complain. Till then, please give them their right to outrage and show their anger.

I am proud of what happened in Delhi. Hopefully some kind of legislation/procedural change happens in relation to rape/VAW cases. 

Sunday 6 May 2012

ஆமீர் சார் வாழ்க

அட யார்ரா இவன், எங்க இருந்துடா பதிவு பக்கம் வந்தான்னு கேக்குறது புரியுது. ஒரு எதிர்வினை. பதிவுக்கு எதிர்வினை என்பதால் பதிவாவே போட்டுவிட முடிவு. அப்பத்தான் நமக்கு இந்தபக்கம் ஒரு கடை இருக்குன்னு ஞாபகம் வந்துச்சு. 

சரி மேட்டருக்கு வருவோம்.  இந்த "அமிர் சார் வாழ்க", பதிவுக்குத்தான் பதில். கார்க்கி ரெம்ப பிரபல பதிவர். எழுத்தில் திறமைசாலி. நமக்கு அவ்ளோ எல்லாம் எழுதத்தெரியாது. (என்ன தான் தெரியும்ன்னு கேக்க கூடாது). அதனால் எனக்குத் தெரிந்ததை கொட்டி இருக்கிறேன். அதை படிக்கலைன்னா, ஒரு எட்டுப் போய் படிச்சுட்டு வந்துடுங்க.

இது புது கான்செப்ட்ன்னு யாரு சொன்னா? அதரப்பழசு தான்.  Oprah Winfrey  செய்யாததா. கிட்டத்தட்ட விசு/டி.ஆர் இங்க பண்றது தான். கொஞ்சம் பழைய format தான். அதை மாற்றி அமிர் செய்து இருக்கலாம் என்ற ஆதங்கம் எல்லாருக்கும் உண்டு. இனி வரும் நிகழ்ச்சிகளில் மாற்றுவார் என்று நம்புவோம். அதை அவர் செய்யாவிட்டாலும், அது ஒரு முயற்சியை செயல்படுத்துவத்தில் உள்ள குறைபாடாகத் தான் பார்க்கப்பட வேண்டுமே, தவிர முயற்சியே தப்பு என்றோ, இது வெறும் ஒரு பணம் சம்பாதிக்கும் வழி என்பது சரியாப் படல. நிகழ்ச்சி பற்றிய சில குற்றச்சாட்டுக்களும், அது பற்றிய என் கருத்துக்களும்:

1. அமிர் தனது brand imagai வளர்க்கத்தான் இதை செய்கிறார்: இருக்கலாம். இருக்கட்டுமே. என்ன பிரச்சினை இதில்? அவர் புத்திசாலியாக காட்டிக்கொண்டு , தவறான தகவல்கள் தந்தால் அதில் உள்ள பிரச்னையை புரிந்துகொள்ளலாம். ஆனால் முதல் நிகழ்ச்சியில், தகவல்கள் தவறாய் ஒன்றும் இல்லை. How one wants to show their image is their own choice. Masala movies have all stupid things in world and we just say that they are "masala" and don't read into them. Sameway, Amir has his right to show as different from your regular masalawalas. இந்த பணத்தை அவர் மிக எளிதாக  வேறு ஏதேனும் ஒரு நிகழ்ச்சி செய்து  சம்பாதிக்க முடியுமே? 

2. Reliance/Airtel sponsor: இது பற்றி நிறைய விவாதிக்கலாம். I see this as a compromise that he does for getting the bigger picture seen. இன்று நிறுவனங்கள் தான் நம்மை ஆளுகின்றன.   வினவின் கருத்தாழம் மிக்க கட்டுரைகள் நம்மால் எத்தனை பேரால் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளப் படுகிறது. ஒரு சமூகமாக நாம் அனைவருமே ஒரு வலதுசாரி வாழ்க்கைமுறையை சரி என்று ஒத்துக்கொள்ள ஆரம்பித்துவிட்டோம். (பிடித்தோ பிடிக்காமலோ). எனவே இனி வரும் சமூக மாற்றங்களில்(மாற்றம், புரட்சி இல்லை) , நிறுவனங்கள் பங்கு இருக்கும். 

3. அமீர் தான் தெரிந்தார், நிகழ்ச்சி தெரியவில்லை. ஒரே வார்த்தை தான். 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder 

4. // இந்த நிகழ்ச்சி நிச்சயம் அமீர்கானை அறிவாளியாக, பொறுப்புணர்ச்சி மிக்கவராக மக்கள் இடையே அழகாய் இன்னும் ஆழமாய் நிறுவும். அதை தாண்டி எதுவும் செய்யுமென்ற நம்பிக்கை எனக்கில்லை. காரணம் அந்த எண்ணமே அவர்களிடத்திலே இல்லை. // இதற்கான பதில் உங்களுக்கும் எனக்கும் என்றுமே தெரியாது, கார்க்கி. 

பல நேரங்களில், ஒரு சில விஷயங்கள் தப்பு என்ற உணர்வே இல்லாமல், நாம் வாழ்கிறோம். இந்த மாதிரி நிகழ்ச்சிகள் ஒரு சமூக அளவில் ஒரு பாதிப்பை ஏற்படுத்தும் என்று ஒரு சின்ன நம்பிக்கை. இந்த மாதிரி நிகழ்ச்சிகளில் ROI கிடையாது. நல்லது நடக்கும் என்ற நம்பிக்கையில் செய்வது. அவ்ளோ தான். 

ஆமீர் சார் வாழ்க

Sunday 5 February 2012

YOU and Google's new privacy policy

I am sure you have seen the new privacy policy agreement from Google that was flashed on the home screen of Google, on your Gmail and any Google service that you might be using. If you still haven't read(who reads those any way),

I am not gonna talk about western world that lives in its own dreamland and also has much better cyber laws. This article is about people who live on countries that have close to zero cyber laws and where you can buy anything with money. Full disclaimer: I am a Google Fanboy. So read this with a pinch of salt. :-)

There are two major implications of this for common people like us in developing countries.

Google data integration across domains:

Google is integrating the data collection about YOU across its all the Google services that you use. Their argument is they will be able to provide more personalized service for you. A "like" in a youtube movie may be used to show you an advertisement, as you read your emails.

This is essentially not bad. Few reasons:

1. None of us till today has complained about Google advertisements and we in countries like India want "free service". Paying for emails is just going to shut the usage of Internet. So we will have to take this pill. 

2. Google always says they never sell the data to others. In the sense, advertisement regarding a "discount on soap" that you use may come as you search for something, but your retailer or the manufacturer will never about YOU as a person and what you like.

3. I (as a fan boy) believe on Google's "Don't be evil" until today. There are few concerns (that you will see below), but overall Google is better than other companies. If I ever was "forced" to surrender my data to someone, It will be Google. So you can be assured that any deviation from these policies will be known to people before they get implemented. Transparency is the key.

Where do I think this data integration is not good?

1. Giving bits and pieces of information to someone is lot different from having them integrated in one place. You can't wear a mask to google now. Common man doesn't think a lot about privacy and uses same email address  (usually gmail) across internet. What music you like to when is the last time you searched about malaria, where you like to Dine, everything is known to Google. Think twice. It is like a magic box that if questioned about one's tastes, it correctly lists out. There are lot of privacy concerns here. What if Google is hacked?

2.Bending for the governments is something all the corporate companies do. They need to answer to their shareholders. Google can't run away from a market like India. (China is a different story). This is exactly where volume is, tomorrow's growth is. Google is already redirecting to, so that it can ban something in a specific country. Now with all this in mind, think about Indian Government asking for a specific person's data. Google will oblige and we all may not know about it. Can it be used in court of law? May not be today. But what if Government changes laws to do that, what do we do? Ok, that might sound like a far fetched story. Now think this way. You are a popular person in a small town, someone wants to spoil your name. They bribe the Indian government folks and indirectly google hands the data to these criminals. (This "could" even contain the information about your health.).

3. Google turning into a regular corporate company and "dont be evil" stays only on paper. Though I dont believe this, as Google becomes a bigger company, there might be people who might take short cuts. (There is already a story in Africa where google did a nasty wok). There might be things that are done in not so transparent way and we might never know about it. Google might be selling data to P&G and you might be getting direct emails from them. This relates back to point 2 as well. Google Indian team might take different stand from corporate to show growth in India.

G+ Over others:

Apart from the data integration, second impact is that, google came up with how it shows the search results. Now G+ takes more precedence over Facebook, Twitter and other results. This is most probably not harmful to you as end user. But this is a trap. This forces you to use G+ to be more social. Basically Google is using it's search capability to force you to use it's other products. You should use a product, because you like it. Not because Google forces it. Gmail was good example. People switched from yahoo and hotmail as the product was better, not because Google forced it. So making G+ better should be the way to go and not this. Many tech journalists feel Google overstepped on this one killing it's "Don't be evil" policy.  I think I agree to an extent here.

One suggestion to you is, make sure you log out of people, if you are going to do some search, some net surfing that you don't want Google to track. Remember this because many of us don't logout of Google at all. Incognito window would be better.