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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Google's Sathyagraha

The following comment was published in:

Reuters: For Google Stock China Could Mark Turning Point

The Huffington Post : Sandeep Gopalan - Google's Faustian Bargain Unravels

SF Gate: Opinion Shop - If China unplugs Google ...

WIRED :Ryan Singel - Microsoft Tarred as Tyranny Abettor as Google Asks Feds to Promote Net Freedom

Dallas Morning Views: Jim Mitchell - Google, A Human Rights and Free Trade Warrior?

The Washington Post: Google's Good Deed In China

Online Wall Street Journal: Jessica E Vascellaro - Brin Drove Google to Pull Back in China

The Independent: Clifford Coonan - The Big Question: Is Google right to abandon its search engine in China over censorship? John Pomfret - Google-China showdown is turning point

SF Gate:China vs. Google: A call to (government) arms

BBC - Maggie Shiels - dot.Maggie - a blog from Silicon Valley - Google's lonely stand

CNET News: Molly Rants - Molly Wood - Google leaving China: better late than never

Chicago Tribune: Google And Repression

Online Wall Street Journal:Gordon Crovitz - Google's Search Result: Hong Kong

miami Wasserman - Taking bricks from Great Wall

The Huffington Post: Libby Liu - China's Google Syndrome

The Huffington Post: Adam Hanft - Google Is the New "CorporNation" - Half Company, Half Virtual Government

Foreign Christian Caryl - Google Isn't China's Problem. Press Freedom Is.

The Morung Express: Source - Christian Science Monitor - Google and China: What Obama can learn

As somebody who has conscientiously refused to do business the way it “normally” is in so called democratic societies - “Go along to get along” - I will not pay bribes - and who has been almost destroyed for my pains, I can appreciate the doubt and ambivalence with which Google may currently be viewed.

But when big, influential corporates begin to value innocence and say “no” it portends interesting times.

Google’s Done Good.

Google has challenged the smug corporate assumption that business alone will liberate.

It will not.

Fellow traveling businesses will allow corrupt, inefficient and doltish coteries, cliques and regimes to bask from the reflected glory of hard won wars for equity, freedom, enlightenment and excellence that have been fought in societies that have produced such new, thoughtful responses.

Fellow traveling businesses, that squander their freedom and slip into cozy relationships with the authorities betray the ” poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak” in the case of even democracies these are all those without a vote – children, the environment and the future.

Such businesses produce cynicism, and conformism, not innovation and wonder.

Such businesses die slow, inglorious deaths.

Google’s decisions – first to engage and then draw the lakshmanrekha – the line in the sand – are both that will inspire life conscious people.

Creative people are quixotic.

Mahatma Gandhi was when he took on the might of the empire with stubbed pencils and recycled envelopes.

Erich Fromm characterizes revolutionaries as those imbued with “a passion for independence, a passion for justice, a passion to serve the unfolding of life” . He may have been describing the quintessential Quixote.

This is not to underestimate to quantum of insanity on this planet.

It takes the whole village to create fun alternatives to psychotic behaviour.

In other words, this is not a moment for corporate schadenfreude or voyuerism.

Remember the lessons from Nazi Germany. They first came for the trade unions. Remember apartheid South Africa.

Abuse of power often happens in plain sight, since to the busy and self absorbed lay person, the powerful appear glamorous and formidable and their prey appear to be rebellious, despicable and in many ways, to be asking for it.

Since the past two decades, the Government of India, the Government of my own state, Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court , the Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner have combined to impress on me that what works in India is what I have called the “patronage paradigm” – the paradigm of shoddiness, irresponsibility, cronyism and corruption” – and that ideas of the rule of law and democratic processes are merely spectacles to lull the gullible.

I have been denied the recognition that were commended to me by one former Chief Minister of my state, one former minister of home affairs, one speaker of the Lok Sabha, several prominent ministers of the central cabinet, eminent intellectuals and freedom fighters.

I have been unable to earn a decent living.

The office of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh incited my neighbours to cut off my water supply.

The information commissions in the state and at the centre denied me my right to information on spurious, brazenly illegal grounds and punished me for daring to object.

The high court denied me my right to competent counsel and punished me for complaining.

Even as we speak, Dr Manmohan Singh”s office, “Daredevil” Pratibha Patil’s Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, State Information Commissioner CD Arha are all locked in a most perverse and ignominious conspiracy of silence to deny me justice.

Even as the Prime Minister’s Office maintains a guilty silence in my case, it appears to have jumped through hoops to heap honour on a businessman alleged to be a serial swindler.

India’s editorial class is as dense, amoral and narcissistic.

Variations of this comment have appeared in almost every major Indian online publication plus in a few abroad.

However, not a single editor or reporter has had the professionalism to pick it up and make it “impact”.

My credentials are strong and I have taken much trouble to meet many editors personally, usually on impeccable referrals.

Our “know-it-all-in -chiefs” have had nothing but smirks to offer.

When I sought the solidarity of the press, Shekhar Gupta (editor in chief of New Indian Express) advised me, “You cannot go around taking pangas (quarrels) with people, yaar.”

Even my comments are mutilated.

Vinod Mehta’s “Outlook” has banned my comments on risible grounds.

The Hindu crawled.

It published “spin” by corrupt officials and got hissy with me for pointing out, with evidence, its craven, yellow soul.

The Indian Press (with a solitary exception) blacked out the fervent open letter written by Padma Vibhushan Kaloji Narayana Rao.

That dear man , clear as a bell in his nineties, had laid his head on my shoulder, hugged me and wept.

What about “civil society” in India ?

Since close to a year now, I have written to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Campaign for Judicial Accountability And Reform, Forum For Judicial Accountability, MKSS (Aruna Roy)and Anna Hazare regarding this cascading delinquency of constitutional bodies in India.

There has not been one constructive response.

They all appear to be in helpless denial of the awful truth that an innocent citizen has been hounded and humiliated since two decades, not for any bad behaviour or wrongdoing, but for resisting the dilution of the values of the Indian constitution and standing up for the correct administration of the Right To Information Act 2005.

Please visit and participate at

Andhra Pradesh High Court’s Pernicious Rebellion Against The Law .05/29/09

RTI Act 2005 Abuse In Andhra Pradesh- SIC Cheats! Chief Secretary Lies!05/07/09

Prejudiced CIC Laps Up PMO Lies 05/05/09

Compelling Criminality. Divakar S Natarajan and Varun Gandhi Cannot Both Be Wrong ! 01/28/09

And India’s editorial class will not report the story!

News and views from Divakar S Natarajan’s, “no excuses”, ultra peaceful, non partisan, individual sathyagraha against corruption and for the idea of the rule of law in India.

Now in its 18th year.

Any struggle against a predatory authority is humanity’s struggle to honour the gift of life.

Obviously, internet freedom is not complete without privacy.
But I am grateful for even this “free” scrap.

Till I put some money on this P III, the ruling class of India had believed it had consumed me with their toast.

I now have had the dignity at least of telling a little bit of my side.

1 comment:

Chu said...

Keep on fighting and good luck.