Sunday, November 26, 2006

Live And Let Live...

This post is basically a repercussion produced as a result of reading this post from Ramblings
Basically a lot of hue and cry have been going on about banning the social networking site Orkut because of allegations like there 'exists' some community or the other which 'hurts' the sentiments of people due to some 'anti' behavior. And this is not the first time, but we all know that even Blogger was banned in India for sometime due to some insensible allegations.
The grave issue is not whether the petitions are sensible or not. Nor am I encouraing the spread of anti-shivaji or anti-india or anti-hindu or anti-sikh or anti-communist behavior. But I think in all of the successful democracies, a key authority that the people have is their freedom of speecha nd expression, irrespective of whether it is India or US. A person does have the right to express what his or her points of view are, even if they are not amiable to certain group of people. And we should respect one's freedom of expression.
History bears the proof how politics and self-interests have debarred the advent of computers initially and then Internet in certains states in India: the 'dumb' reason being cited as, computer automation would cut down the need for employed people and thereby create unemployment (although now time and the sensex bears the proof of the contribution of IT to India's GDP). And secondly Internet was strongly discouraged because it was labelled as a source of depiction of derogatory elements like nudity and pornography. And lastly, social networking sites like Orkut.
There can be two reasons behind such a parochial outlook on the part of these people who have submitted petitions. One, they are really parochial. Two, the political benefits. Althought he latter seems more likely, yet I do not find any good reason why they cannot look at the brighter side of the coin!
Needless to say, Social Networking is the answer to tomorrow's questions be it commerce, employment (Linked In), dating (Friendster), generic public interests like photography (Flickr, Blogger) or even more generic maintenance of social ties between people (Orkut, Myspace, Facebook). I agree everything is not so red and rosy: courtesy, hike in spamming techniques (Gazzag). But yeah, no doubt, the notion of social networking on the virtual world is bound to take newer strides in different walks of our life.
Let us look at the brighter side of the coin. I personally agree that Orkut has worked wonders for me: I could find so many long lost friends whom I was probably never destined to meet otherwise, as well as could make new. And I know so many other people who would agree with me.
I have seen Orkut 'grow' in the Indian intellectual class, since early 2003. I know how much Orkut has delved into being a part of the lives of many today (including me). Is it justified to punish 95 people for the sake of 5 bad elements?
The answer is of course NO. These 5 elements exist in our real physical world too! Are they conflicting and/or hurting our thoughts and views? May be or may not be. We are not really concerned. We just need our little space to live: live and let live is what we believe in. So why cannot we do the same for those 5 bad elements on Orkut?


Nikesh said...

Punishing 100 elements because of 5 elements might not be desirable, but it is often the case. On a small scale, just remember your schooldays. Maybe the whole class might have been given a scolding, because of just one or two bad elements.

And about other factors, I do believe that among all, political factors often do play a role, probably the most important role.

And the demand for closing down of orkut or other networking sites are definately too parochial and too regressive, and we stand to lose a lot if at all it happens (though personally i feel that its chances are negligible !)

Munmun said...

@ Nikesh
I agree, that punishing those 5 people does happen all the time even in the physical world, but it is not a smart strategy for justice. Probably that is the reason that today because of 5 corrupt people, 95 other non-corrupt people have lost the reward of not being corrupt.
Yeah, also do I agree that banning of Orkut most likely will not happen, but the whole point is, such allegations are simply waste of time and energy. India has to deal with more challenging issues at this point of time than withering idle time around banning sites.

dead man walkin said...

We few days back had issues with blogspot being banned..
I also feel that u can stop smth by censorship.