Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blog Impact!

Recently, there have been a series of issues that have caught the interest of the Indian blogworld so much so that every other blog you hop to has a post on the issue. First there was the furore over Kushboo’s interview. Then came the outrageous moral policing at the private party in Chennai. This was followed by the atrocities meted out to a guy at the Bangalore railway station. All these understandably outraged Indian bloggers and led to a flurry of posts (and comments) in the Indian blogsphere.

But in all the above-mentioned incidents, the bloggers were simply onlookers. Writers standing outside looking in and expressing their outrage. So while it was interesting to read bloggers’ takes on the issues, I wasn’t sure how much of an impact the posts themselves had. I mean, I didn’t think Ramadoss, Thirumalavan and the other Dalit Panthers would read the posts on their reactions to Kushboo’s interview and suddenly realize the importance(or rather, the existence) of a concept called “freedom of speech”!

But the latest issue involving one of IIPM’s alumni is interesting because one of the bloggers is smack dab in the middle of it and the issue has had a major impact on him. For the few who haven’t heard of this issue yet, here’s recap (which is a summary of a more detailed summary posted on IndiaUncut :-):

A few months ago Jam Magazine, edited by Rashmi Bansal, did a story exposing some of the claims made by IIPM, an educational institute run by Arindam Chaudhuri. Gaurav Sabnis, a popular Indian blogger, linked to Rashmi's article and added some facts of his own. A number of blogs sprung up overnight defending IIPM and defaming Rashmi and Gaurav. Ludicrous rumours were spread about Aaj Tak, the news channel, having done a sting operation and having caught Amity, a rival of IIPM, giving money to Rashmi to do the story. Nasty, personal attack-style comments were left on Rashmi’s post on the matter and Gaurav received a legal notice from IIPM. Then it got serious. IIPM happens to be a client of IBM, Gaurav's employer, having purchased a huge bunch of laptops from them. So they threatened to burn (yes burn!) the ThinkPads if Gaurav did not remove his posts. Though IBM gave Gaurav no pressure, he resigned his job yesterday.

While the developments have been unsavory, the mushrooming of this issue to the extent of a blogger losing his job over it is an indication of how much of an impact blogs have started having in society. Sure, bloggers in the US have been fired due to negative things they wrote about their jobs (it even led to a brand new term “doozing”). But this is the first time I have heard a non-work-related post causing problems in a blogger’s professional life.

I had not heard of IIPM (in fact, I still do not know what the acronym stands for!) before this and so read the posts with mild interest. But Gaurav’s principled stand and brave step have amazed me almost as much as IIPM’s acts have disgusted me. So here's a big "hats off" and "good luck" to him...

7 Comments:

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Kaps said...

their full name is Indian Institute of Planning & Management

Kaps

http://sambharmafia.blogspot.com

 
At 12:42 AM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan said...

i saw this yesterday at sudish kamaths blog and put a link to gauravs blog on my site.

was trying to see if newsweek will do a story on this dude..

:)

 
At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Raju said...

I am also following all this fiasco after Kaps and Vatsan wrote in their blogs, esp. the latter. It was shocking to know about Gaurav's resignation. I too wish him all the very best to find a good job soon.

So much for the 'freedom of speech' in our constitution.

 
At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Too bad I don't know this Gaurav chap personally. Quite a guy, he seems to be. Maybe I will run into him someday...

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i was seriously thinking last nite whether i would've been bold enough to take the step that gaurav took, if i had this morals versus money dilemma...i am still not sure but i think its a humbling act of bravery and he seems to be very modest about that too...that kinda adds to his greatness.

reminds me of the passion with which andy flower and henry olonga expressed the "death of democracy" prior to the World Cup in 2003, by wearing black armbands. it jeopardized their careers but their noble acts earned them a place in cricket history...

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger Arvind said...

The world is not yet ready for plain-speak and will never be :-(

 
At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what bravery da,
gaurav was thrown out by ibm simpply!

what is more irritating is dat an iim alumni can be thrown out because an iipm head calls up a multi national company.

That is more irritating...

 

Post a Comment

<< Home