Friday, February 29, 2008

Why the world doesn't need Gandhi Bashing....

There was some Gandhi-bashing going on in the one of the Orkut Forums, so I thought I will give a rebuttal from the Gandhigramite point of view......

The bash, first :

gandhiji was no secular human being. and nathuram godse was no fanatic. gandhiji was a spent idea and his time for rest had come. because he never wanted to rest peacefully he was laid to rest in peace for ever. had gandhi been alive for another 5 years, india would have travelled 30 years back. he was gainst industrialization and he was killed for he wanted to donate another some lakhs to pakistan. hindu muslim unity was not feasible at that time for the nation was in war over kashmir. you dont run a nation with gita's quotes. gita is for personal growth. gandhi would have done well to read up arthashastra or the bhishma parva of mahabharata to advise nehru. he was a confused human being. agreed that he had contributed immensely to the national struggle but he overdid it. he indeed played politics when he preffered nehru rather than bose to be the president of INC. gandhi wanted only those who believed in his ideology. i will define him as a "non-violent hitler". he did the damage indirectly. he was not a democrat at all!!

My rebuttal :

People often confuse Gandhiji's personal belief in Hinduism with a wrong understanding of the word Secularism. A Hindu, however pious, ritualistic and religious, can still be secular, by allowing other people to have similarly strong beliefs in their respective religions. This is exactly what Gandhiji often sought to explain. He was among the first to use the word Secularism in the Indian context, to say that, while every person is entitled to his personal belief in X or Y religion, the state has no business to align itself to any one particular religion more or less and people should keep their religious belief as a personal pursuit. He admitted his liking for Hinduism and its traditions as openly as he advocated respect for all religions. He even dissuaded the State from spending government funds to renovate the Somnath Temple.

I wanted to handle this one first. I'll come to whether Nathuram was a fanatic or not, but, he was, imho, definitely a murderer. Just in case, people confuse this with the word martyr. I consider Bhagat Singh and others of his calibre as martyrs and Bose and Bal-Pal-Lal to be brave leaders, but I consider Nathuram a weakling. He didn't know how else to fight Gandhi's ideology, he thought let's just remove him from the face of the earth. What did Nathuram do ? He killed someone for differing with him on what's good for the nation. Thats not reason enough to kill someone. If you differ from someone and if you think he is capable of a widespread influence, you should be able to take on his ideology by attempting to start an influential movement yourself, build it brick by brick out of your personal strength and leadership skills and show people what you think is true. Instead of that, you just settle scores with the gun, I wouldn't think that to be a mature mind. I might give him some points for passion, he didn't do it for a selfish reason, he had the courage to surrender, but if the underlying approach is flawed and lacks maturity, all passion and courage turn out to be grayed with tension and rage.

This is what Gandhi himself demonstrated. No one had even thought of a non-violent approach before. When he stepped into the political scene, the previous wave had entirely been about extremism. The idea of non-violence was not his original idea, but he was the one who institutioinalised it as an idea for the Indian freedom struggle. You might differ on whether or nor it was more efficacious, lot of people believe Bose's approach would have been better. But even if someone doubts its efficacy, you have to credit Gandhi for his capacity to institutionalise an entirely new approach to the question and gather millions of countrymen in support. And the response he got from the public was truly sweeping at the time, though there were always some differing groups in pockets. Even if you disagree with Gandhi's insitutionalising skills, look at what Bose did. He too demonstrated how to differ with someone, in a great healthy way. He differed with Gandhi, he set out to start his movement to tell people about what he thought was right and did succeed in gathering a large momentum against the British. That's a great way to differ with someone. The point I am trying to make here is: Nathuram did NONE of this. He was looking at the teleprinter giving out the news about Gandhi's fast unto death, and he was frustrated, all his pent up hatred flowed and he took up the task. He had his own and only point of view on Hinduism and if someone didn't listen to him a few times nicely... booooom.... He was largely influenced by Savarkar's writings alright, but even Bhagat Singh and Bose were influenced by Savarkar's writings, it's not what one reads that matters but having read, how to apply one's mind and what one sets out to do. There is a difference between fighting the British for the freedom of a nation and killing your countryman for a political question of transferring money. If Nathuram had to take on Gandhi at his game, he had to demonstrate an equal amount of personal strength and leadership, which comes by the thinking of a rich mind and long term application of effort. He couldn't do any of this and just went for a short term finish Now you tell me, need I discuss whether he was a fanatic or not ? In my view, there is no difference between this and naxalite violence.

It might be pertinent to cover here the point regarding transfer of money to Pakistan here, since the event is one of the ascribed motives of Nathuram. For the record, the deal was part of the Partition Agreeement. India didn't want to fulfil it because of events that happened after the partition (rebel occupation of Kashmir by Pakistan). So it was purely a political problem between India and Pakistan that, by design, was a complex one to solve and it remains to this day. Gandhiji had his views on the matter and he expressed it and, typical of him, wanted to fast unto death. Medha Patkar goes on a fast unto death and let's say, the government decides to reduce the height of the dam or appoint a panel to study rehabilitation, and one of the construction partners gets irked by the fast-unto-death strategy working in her favour, can he set out to kill someone for that ? I can understand if the procession becomes a law and order situation and the state intervening to handle it by exercising its powers, but can individuals settle violent scores on a issue under debate ?

India would have travelled back ? Gandhi had his views on industrialization and the models village-centric rural development. I would even agree that his was one of the areas where he did not succeed much in getting support or widespread institutional acceptance. But to say that if he had continued to live, India would have gone back is not true. He was not at the helm of affairs of industrialization anyway. Nehru was incharge, it was well-known even at that time that Nehru and Gandhi had differences on a lot of issues and industrialization was one of them. Nehru had plenty of other friends in the science, engineering and policymaking circles and was also influenced by his study of the economies of other countries like Russia and Japan. Nehru had already firmed up his mind on the industrialization route and Gandhi had let him to differ and work in that route. Gandhi, on the other hand, still believed on a village-centric development working inside out, and thought, after freedom, he would "spend his ideas" working on changing the society at the grassroots level and leave the national policy to Nehru. So Gandhi or not, Nehru's industrialization agenda would have anyway prevailed. There are a section of people who now look back and review whether or not Nehru's approach was okay or not okay, but that's stuff enough for another thread. Gandhi, might have, probably gone on a few more fasts-unto-death to reverse any labour-hostile moves or any other moves by Nehru which affected people in a large way, but, in spite of differences, he believed in Nehru and had handed over the macrodirection of the nation-building to Nehru. Gandhi's model of village-centric development inside out still has its relevance in certain areas where it has been tried on a smaller scale, like in The Gandhigram Rural Institute, where I studied.

Confused man ? Every leader who wants to think deeply about the society in which he lives in, will have contrarian schools of thought conflicting in his mind at one point of time or another. Many of the basic problems that afflict society are easy to think about and solve at the individual level but extremely complex when it comes to institutionalising these solutions as a national policy. Gandhi was a well-read man, he wrote on almost every aspect of the individual and the society, he thought deeply and originally on many issues. The areas where he failed to make an impact, in my view, are those where he tried to institutionalise solutions that worked well at the individual level but may not work as a state policy. I can give a coin to the beggar, I might even give food to the same beggar all through the year, but to magnify those noble motives into a national policy on hunger is a different ball game. There were indeed some areas where he succeeded in doing this, (freedom struggle and untouchability) and some where he did not make such a great impact, like the Charkha and Khadi. He probably had a small set of basic beliefs and thought to resolve all the complex issues by deciding based on those beliefs, which he thought as "first principles". ( I might be wrong on this). Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Just because a leader of his stature failed in certain areas, to say that he was a "confused human being" is a sweeping over-generalisation. And the good thing about Gandhi, is he laid down, in writing, for public feedback, his conflicts and his own confusions if any, on issues that impacted the society.

Sidelining Bose : I don't think it's possible to run any political organisation, without sidelining someone or the other by political tact. Often, in politics, you have to choose between two equally vibrant minds. You have to choose one, because, both minds, though vibrant, work in totally different directions. Gandhi had approach A and Bose had approach B. It would have torn the Congress apart to have attempted to run one organisation with almost conflicting ideologies. Nehru, with all his differences, was more aligned to Gandhi. And Gandhi did not shoot Bose, like Nathuram did to Gandhi. He just said, if you want me at the helm, you know where I'll throw my hat. It so happened that at that point of time in history, Gandhi had an extremely strong following and backing in the party and in the country and large, and Bose had to move out. In fact, Bose went on to rise much much more in stature after he parted ways with Gandhi. Had he been stuck, he would have had to moderate all his vibrance in the service of something which he never believed and would have caused more frustration to himself and more trouble to the party. That Gandhi chose Nehru instead of Bose, is entirely within democracratic choice. People choose X against Y and align themselves all the time and quite often even part ways and succeed or fail. It so happened in history, that Gandhi's influence was so widespread and had greater following by numbers than the other schools of thought, so whatever Gandhi said, lot of people came on his side. You can't blame someone for his popularity, It's a numbers and ideology game, pitch your tent and count how many people listen to you, if it's more you win, if it's less try again next time. That's how politics works.

non-violent hitler who damaged indirectly ?: The phrase attributes an explicitly sinister motive to Gandhi's decisions. This is not true. Statements made by many current-day politicians make veiled references to taking things in "their own hands" and indirectly predict that they may have no option if the situation goes out of control etc. Gandhi never did any such thing. He announced his strategies against the British from time to time, all his announcements were clearly of the non-violent nature. In incidents like the Chauri Chaura, or in the case of partition violence, much damage might have been caused by how individuals interpreted and impulsively reacted to his declarations, but there was nothing in what Gandhi said that directly or indirectly hinted violence. Damage might have occurred as a cascading effect of various levels of interpretation by other individuals, but you can't place the responsibility for such acts on what strategy he announced, particularly when he openly exhorted all his followers to be strong but non-violent. Hindu Muslim Unity was not feasible at the time, agreed, so if someone espouses, is he wrong?, just because it wasn't feasible?. Producing environ-friendly cars or renewable energy in a cost-effective way was considered infeasible at one time, does it mean people who tried to explain to us were wrong ? In fact, I would like to think that they were forerunners in raising these to the people and telling them that if they wanted a good life, they have to choose their actions differently.

As to the statement that Gandhiji never wanted to rest, so he was laid to rest, I can appreciate only the pun. Let me take some rest now.


  1. Namaji, very well written. Haven't read the orkut thread though...

  2. guys and gals we don't even stand as a speck of sand in front of such great leaders. just because we have some facts ands figures before us which we are unsure of bashing up somebody just for the sake of proving your vocabulary skills makes no sense at all.

    at least follow one teaching of gandhiji and make your life more meaningful.

  3. guys and gals sai ram i am here not to prove anything but just air my views on a few points mentioned above.

    choosing nehru over bose: agreed that bose was a great leader who begged to differ with gandhiji on the ways to fight the British.He may be great fighter but may not be a great leader . Decisions on the choice of leader is not in one man's hand. unfortunately what we are taught in our history classes are what the historians write briefly and how it is interpreted by the teacher in the class. To decide who is to be a leader requires a complex process. for eg it requires the approval of the council of members of the party and so on so forth...
    if we had Bose as a leader by now our country would have had the fate of Germany or Japan or god knows what .Thanks to the providence and forethought of gandhji and anni basant and others who were capable enough to take such a wise decision that india has seen so much growth and prosperity in such a short time.
    NEhru even though he not have been a great leader as compared to bose he was a surely a better statesman which was required at that time.he had the mind to chose the required people like mahalanobis to develop the economic plan for india and mr vikram sarabhai to develop the scientific programme for the development of india . had these two people have not been in the helm of affairs god only knows where our country would have gone.
    there is no point finding black spots on a white sheet. the tings will go according to the grand plan and no one can stop and judge a person for all mankind is evolving from its current state to to the higher level.
    " do not judge a person or an event so that you do not have to forgive them later"

  4. Right. Agreed on all the points. I think, for the state in which the State was, at the time, that was probably the best that could happen, atleast by the democratic and personal choices of people of those times.

  5. A Total Travesty of Ethics!

    About a couple of months ago, I had read one of the posts by this author and had actually admired the ease with which thoughts flowed from his pen. By chance yesterday, I was directed to his blog posts yet again by one of my good friends. And I assure you, I was rather enjoying the posts, until I came to this one. - "Why the world doesn't need Gandhi Bashing..."
    A blog, agreed is a private platform for an individual to express his opinions or ideas. But when they are in a nature of a debate, the opposing views also have to be mentioned. And before anyone runs after me with a hatchet, yes, the author has done that. But the ethical angle comes in when we get to know that the author has borrowed the comments of surya without taking his permission. And this does amount to a travesty. Things only become more murkier when we get to know that Mr. Srinivasan has not reproduced the context in which the original argument had actually happened. And that would not be possible because Surya had deleted his posts.
    We need not go very far to see why the author has repeated his observations here. His comments looked pretty out of place there without surya's defense. And true to the nature of any 'megalomaniac' he has repeated only surya's comments and not his defense [very convenient, I should say!] so that his regular admirers might suppport his stand. [take a look at the comments]

    This amply proves that both the original debate on orkut and so called rebuttal on this post were done with the intention of attacking the personality of an individual by ensuring that he does not get a chance to defend his opinions. This is not a healthy debate at all. This is just fishing for support.

    I am quite surprised that this otherwise sensible sounding author had to stoop to this level to gain blind support bordering on admiration for his opinions.

  6. Borrowing comments without taking permission :

    It's common in blogosphere, to cite by providing a link, which I have done. I don't think there is any practice of taking permission. Have you come across a Blogger's Code of Ethics that says so ? If yes, let me know, I am open to correction on this. If it's someone's indigenous code of ethics, then this piece on relativity of ethics throws some light why everyone may not think the same way.

    I have earlier had a look at Oreilly's Draft Code of Conduct at Bloggers and IBM's Blogging Guidelines and they don't seem to speak about taking permission.

    To show what's common in blogging practice, let me give two examples from two blogs, both of them awarded most popular blogs in their respective categories and read by thousands of readers. TechCrunch from the tech area and The Simple Dollar from the personal finance area.

    The Simple Dollar has this post on the value of one's career where the author provides a rebuttal of views presented by someone else on another blog. He quotes and provides a link. Thats it.

    The TechCrunch post has more serious and controversial discussion directly pointing to inefficiencies in Twitter. And what does Twitter do ? Quotes, cites and responds in their own blog, openly saying that this post at Twitter is in response to that post on TechCrunch.

    Your idea of taking permission and also tying it to ethics sounds quite strange to me, my guess is that you are probably drawing parallels from the paper publishing world. Since it doesn't seem to have appeared in the Draft Bloggers Code of Conduct, you should probably present it there as a suggestion. Yes, there is a reference in that code about talking in private before going public but that's about debates involving personal attacks. In this case, however, I am not commenting on the shape of the cap or colour of shirt of a blogger. Someone says Gandhi is X and I say, Gandhi is X-dash, according to my understanding. Note also that nowhere in my posts do I make a comment on the blogger's style of writing (that it's good, bad or average), I try to handle the issue on hand in the most generic manner possible. If you think I am wanting on this, I hope to improve on this.

    As to the matter that the author's post were deleted on Orkut, here are a few facts:

    1. Which is exactly the reason this post exists. To preserve my writing on the subject and probably to present it to a larger, open audience for debate. Note that the deletions in the Orkut thread happened much later after this blog post. This blog entry was posted almost simultaneously as my response at Orkut. To be fair, I also pinged the other blogger on scrap, to mention that I have blogged about this and he is free to discuss it here in case there are any inhibitions in a closed group forum like Orkut. I have a lot of friends (some from Gandhigram) who do not have access to Orkut but might be interested in the subject.

    2. My writing at the Orkut forum might now look so out of place, but thats quite common too in web forums. Posts get deleted all the time, often with a notice that says so. People who read such posts know such an event might have happened. Why did I not delete my responses ? Oh, I don't think I have written anything offensive or indecent in a personal way about anyone or anything and that warrants deletion. I have not kept any of my arguments personal, I have taken the viewpoints of other members, deconstructed them piece by piece and given a subject-specific rebuttal. However, even now, if the admin of the forum requests me to delete my responses for some reason which they think is appropriate, I will be glad to delete them.

    3. That's another reason for this post. Consider the possibility that my responses are also deleted some day for some mysterious admin reason. In that case, my writing here keeps my response and keeps it open for those who might want to read or discuss it.

    As to why I have not presented continuous defences of other bloggers on my post:

    I have no intention to copy-paste and recreate the entire discussion thread here on an ongoing basis. A blog entry is posted always on an "As is where is" basis, and updates to the blog entry are done rarely and mostly as a pre-script or a post-script and that too when there might be factually misleading advice that might harm others. I hardly do any copy-paste blogging, atleast so far, unless it's my own. Whatever I write comes straight out of my own head and I present it for whatever it might be worth, giving links all the way. I am sure if I had copy-pasted the defences, someone would have been quick to point out that I am filling my blog with others' writings. Whichever option you choose, there will be someone around to suggest the other alternative and call it a travesty of something or the other!

    As to the question whether I didn't give a chance to other bloggers to defend their opinions:

    Chances abound even now. Other bloggers can refer to this entry and deconstruct and butcher it with Trackback. They could post their comments such as these in response to this blog post. If sufficient interest gets generated, there could be an exclusive community blog that discusses Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Nathuram. If some other blogger had preserved the original Orkut thread prior to deletion, he could present the unedited raw thread in another blog post. What have I stopped ?

    As to your opinion on megalomaniacs stooping to find blind support by attacking individual personalities in unhealthy debates: Thanks for your constructive feedback. Keep them coming.

    Best Wishes

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  8. Wow! A response that seems to be quite comprehensive. Errrrrrrrrr…..Wait a minute!
    At the outset I would like to clarify that I am not commenting on the views of Mr. Srinivasan. My problem was with the procedure in which the debate was conducted on orkut and the manner in which almost the same content has been rehashed here.

    “Common in blogosphere to cite by providing a link”????? Do we do things just because everybody else does it or because we consciously want to do it? The ethics which I am trying to hint at may, according to Mr. Srinivasan be “indigenous” [intended double quotes!] and hence something specific to me or what I expect. But what I am trying to refer to are those which are shaped by an individual’s response to the situation taking into account various factors that have influenced it. Intangible ideas? In concrete terms, those who followed the so called debate on orkut would know that it was a debate gone sour. And if this author had been sensitive to that [I hope he is not otherwise!] he would not have cited Surya. Probably he could have considered a rearrangement of his own material so that the references to the individual’s opinions were not so blatant.

    I am quite thankful that the author has raised the point about relativity of ethics. It is precisely this quality about ethics which brings sensitivity into picture, and thereby defines an individual's courageous stand.

    Citing instances where such a thing has been done before simply illustrates herd psychology at work. [interesting links though! quite a lot of material for my future teaching career] Hence it goes without saying that just because a couple of blogs have been termed as the most popular , they may actually end up being representative of the best practices as far as blogging is concerned, or can be cited as instances to get away with lack of sensitivity. [And to top it all, the author calls himself a reflecting riverside walker. What a strange turn of events!]

    Idea of taking permission, in such a case, will simply not strike this author. [Email, when pinging doesn’t work, is sometimes a better option] I regret this because, based on his earlier posts,I had thought that this author was both sensible and sensitive. [a combination quite difficult to achieve in writing]

    Hence, it also follows that to this author only comments pertaining to the shape of the cap or the coat of a blogger would seem to be personal. And quite naturally, he has also assumed that I was referring to his style of writing. [guess that's what praise would do to people - mislead them into constructing defences where none are required.]

    Yes this post should exist and I don't question that. And who was clamouring for the deletion of the posts? Well, if it is guilt at work, then that is the author's problem. And if he feels so insecure that his posts will be deleted by the admin for some wierd reasons, [I'm sure that they haven't till date] naturally he will be glad to do so, because his attitude as of now seems to be that of singing the same tune and following the herd [willing to be proven otherwise!]

    Copy paste blogging???????I am really thinking hard about this and have quite a few things to say, but I don't want to open a Pandora's box. But who even thought of asking Mr. Srinivasan to copy paste defences. All that I am trying to say is that the author should be clear about his intentions and this in turn should shape his writing. Did he want to start debate, or preserve his opinions for a future debate or did he want to record for 'eternity' in the virtual world of blogosphere that the best practices for a debate have as their bolster a precursor in a couple of other blogs?

    Getting into a debate/deconstructing/butchering? No, at least I don't want to get into this debate as I have neither the required levels of knowledge, nor the experience. Start as many community blogs as you possibly can. And I WILL read all of them for the sake of information and probably better understanding.

    Great that this author has liked my constructive feedback [I choose to take this comment at its face value] And such feedback will keep coming in whenever the situation demands, which I hope will not be too frequent.

  9. Really i appreciate the fire in your belly for our freedom fighters, you had been harping on them in most of your blogs, I agree to your viewpoint, Gandhiji was selfish. He had lot of inconsistencies in his statements. But compared to aam admi, he was great, noble, but maybe the epithet Mahatma is superfluous. Still it is my viewpoint, others may have different perspectives in this regard.

  10. I personally feel that people who have so much of stuff in them should not draw daggers at each other's writing but should go ahead and discuss the issue about Gandhiism.. ;) . I am neither good at language nor at posts! But, somehow i appreciate talents when i see some! Please, could you both please call it curtains to what had been and enlighten us-avid readers with what could be termed as"insights into Gandhiism and its relevance in today's life"... And both of u!!! Don't read my words and comment on them! Pl. understand the spirit of admiration with which i implore both of u!

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  12. Well well well...

    Quite an interesting turn of events here...But I guess just reflecting on the Part III of our Constitution, Section 19 would tell us that we have complete Freedom of Expression and 19(a) expresses freedom of Press. When these were formulated, the e-World did not exist. But, Cyber Laws came into existence, though they talk only about privacy.

    So much so about Laws. Blog, as far as I understand, is an individuals Printing Press where he publishes his/hers' thoughts, views, opinions, etc. without any fear from Government (In India, Printing Press is governed by the ruling party to some extent, restricted by laws like Official Secrets Act and communities like PIB. Whereas in US, press has complete freedom of expression, separately stated in the constitution) or an individual. Here, too, with the same sense of openness and freeness can one comment on the published stuff. The editor, as in the print media, corrects it, justifies his/hers' action, or just plainly presents it.

    About Ms Savitha's comment on Naams expression (now the individuals have been brought into picture), that he has written - whatever he has written - is for the praise from his 'associates', is too quick a can one judge a person just by a blog-post and its responses. Is an individual just a blog-post and associates, comments against it???!!! It may be a reflection of one aspect of himself but not the whole surely.

    About borrowing content from another writer or blogger, then drawing parallels with the print media, Reuters and Association Press provide news material to many local newspapers across the world (at a cost though). It is different in the e-World for a simple reason that we have an option of hyperlinks and Copy-Paste (imagine copy -paste existing in real world. I copying chocolates from my friends and eating it!!!)...Thats where this electronic media gains upper hand. If we dont use that then, it is not the optimal use. Coming back to the point, when there is a citation to the statement quoted from another user, what more is expected??? If one is seconding another users' opinions, by mentioning it and even providing a link for it (meaning openly letting it known to the readers before anyone could point it out), what else one is supposed to do??? But another topsy-turvy turn-around is when again the author has been blamed for having cited the comments of Mr Su (in the second comment of the person). Common, you want it to be cited or not? Let us get it clear first.

    Another thing, Sanjay Leela Bhansali made the movie, Saawariyan. It is his own imagination and creativity. Some liked and some didnt (I fall in the first category). But is he wrong in presenting his imagination? Just because someone does not like, should he stop doing it? I know, it depends on individual understanding, but the point I am trying to arrive at is: Its individuals' wish on what he thinks and what he writes. No one is writing to please any Tom Dick or Harry. If some one really is writing to please variables x, y or z, then he is not writing 'his' or 'her' stuff. He is writing stuff for someone, with an intention to please someone. If this author had been waiting for the comments and praise from others for his writing, then surely he would have committed suicide by now, from the responses for his other writings. Ofcourse, freedom of expression also gives one to think and express in reponse whatever one feels like, and please last thing to happen would be to get a polling on whether thoughts of so and so are well-defined and justified.

    Let me think aloud. For any situation there may be multiple outcomes. Say, for an opinion there are only three outcomes, Yes, No or Maybe. Then, any number of people voting will fall in either of the categories. Now say, Persons A, B, C, D, E have voted for it and A chose Yes, B chose No, C chose Maybe, D chose No and at some later time E chose Yes. Just because E chose Yes later, it does not mean that E has copied A. Similarly, just because Naams wrote and seconded Mr Su's views, does not mean that he has copied it. Does it not mean that he has seconded it???

    Apart, healthy is an argument which argues about the 'matter' , 'work' at hand than the individuals. Here too, I hope I have not hurt anyones feelings, for I tried to put my thoughts about someones' thinking...Clearly, it is about someone's thinking and not about 'someone'

    Its immaterial whether I know Naams personally or not. For, what one writes here is just the reflection of ones thinking, creativity, inshort mind. Knowing personally will include knowing the figure, shape. That alone anyway does not add much to the understanding of an individual...

    Is the argument leading us somewhere? If Mr Sr has copied Mr Su's thoughts (with the above understanding of mine), whats wrong in it especially after citation? Okay, forget about right or wrong, for there is no right, no is relative (and thats the reason for these arguments to exist - when X is right for Mr A, X may be wrong for Ms B)...are the thoughts acceptable or not? Again, some accept and some dont...that does not mean that someone who accepts is right and someone who does not accept is wrong and is a mere wall imprinting petty and trivial impressions. Let us be the eyes who see it happen and enjoy the painting created.

    I know, this comment reads very haphazard, but hopefully I have put across what I have felt at the end of reading this post with comments.

  13. @Orangemoongazer's conciliatory attempts:

    It's not about drawing daggers. Some learning is happening here. An apparently controversial post such as this is an apt candidate to re-examine our writing patterns and understand what constitutes good blogging and what doesn't. You don't get to do that in posts where everyone seems to gladly agree hoo-hoo-hah-hah.

    A commenter has said 'taking permission' is part of good blogging. I seem to differ by saying a hyperlink is good enough. Either of us may be right or wrong, or a third viewpoint might emerge better than both. Which is what we are trying to do here. Agreed there is some heat along with the light, but quickly calling it curtains, shuts out all light and stops the possible learning that might arise out of discussion.

    While the stuff on the post becomes a candidate to examine what is good/bad blogging, look at the comments, they themselves become candidates to examine what is good/bad commenting! And depending on the proportion of heat and light when the dust has subsided, we may also get to examine what is good/bad learning.

    As to Gandhism, there is already a lot of it on my blog and I will be glad to respond to any specific observations by other readers. While we wait for that to happen, by discussing how one should write such posts, each commenter tries to give some additional information, evidence in other similar situations, best practices, their sensitivties and ethical alignments, along with one's own strong feelings about good or bad blogging.

    None of this learning would have happened if the commenter had been indifferent to the blog post or if the blogger had been indifferent to the commenters. Whether we adopt all that others say is a different matter, that should depend on our examination of the feedback. But allowing back and forth interaction to happen gives an opportunity, on both sides, to bring to the other's attention what one might not be aware of. That is the value of debate and discussion.

    Thanks, however, for the warm feelings and compliments.

    Best Wishes

  14. @Savitha-ji's comments :

    First of all, I won't comment on the way in which the debate was conducted in other forums. I was participating in the discussion as a lay member, I stuck to subject writing and I did not have any role whatsoever in the admin actions that fell out later. (I was not a MOD at the time). Any feedback regarding other forums, should be directed at those forums. I will respond to what happened at my blog.

    About doing something just because others are doing it ?

    Agree that you don't have to treat The Simple Dollar and TechCrunch as benchmarks, Who are they, anyway? Fine, but can you give me a reference as to what you treat as industry-standard practices in good blogging ? If you can give a reference, and the reference mentions about taking permission, I will certainly re-examine my understanding. As per my research, there is not much standardisation around except for Oreilly's and IBM's which I have mentioned.

    Okay, assume no standardisation. Will you find a way to show that your idea of taking permissions is "widely prevalent" in the blogosphere ? From my side, I have given some information and external evidence to show what I am doing is right, can you do a bit of the same ?

    If it's neither industry-standard nor widely prevalent, then the only possibility left is that "you feel strongly about it". Fine, I appreciate your ethical fibre to speak out and do what you feel is right. But if you expect others to understand your viewpoint on what is good blogging, your strong feelings aren't stuff enough for others to adopt. This is what I meant by indigenous. They are wonderful but when you present such an ethical code to others, it should be accompanied by evidence in similar situations, merits and demerits vis-a-vis other alternatives and some research on what other people who have pondered such questions have come up with.

    You might think that finding other instances, looking at industry standards and evolving a Draft Code of Conduct for the blogging community are all herd psychology at work. How about disobeying traffic rules? What if someone comes up with their indigenous set of rules, calls it code of ethics and follow their innermost instincts in the middle of the road? Where lot of people with similar functionality or intention meet, it's not only what individuals think, but what lot of people think about what's common acceptable behaviour and more importantly, its codification. People who think differently in a minority do have a place, in fact they have a great place of pride with their original thinking, but they should start a movement and contribute to changing the law/guidelines to include their preferences as standard practices. Like "asking for permission" to be included in the Oreilly's Draft Code of Conduct for Bloggers. And before that happens, they shouldn't call it a travesty bcos it's not there in the guidelines yet.

    Sensitivity is one sound reason you brought up, you get points on that. But thats again equally relative. It's impossible for any writer to be simultaneously sensitive to the millions of viewpoints in the world (Ex.Satanic Verses). Rampy's comments on Sawariya handle this point. Since you were the one who brought up both sensitivity and the manner of debate at the Orkut forum, do you think certain views (apparently labelled as radical, relative again) presented at the Orkut forum took care of the sensitivity of the audience and culture of that forum ? Just in case you say yes, I would like to think my views at this blog post are as sensitive (or as insensitive) as the sensitivity meter reading of the Gandhi Bash. Relativity of sensitivity ?

    Another option you have suggested is that I could have rearranged my material to avoid a reference to the original debate. In that case, I am sure someone or the other would have accused me of suppressing the context and running away from giving the reference. Someone who happens to read the stuff at both places, atleast knows by the initial link in the opening sentence that its a rehash of a primary discussion elsewhere. Quoting the original bash verbatim as I have done, also lets the readers know that the possibe ferocity in the rebuttal is directly proportional to that found in the bash.

    Also note that, though I have given only two examples of popular blogs, as far as I know, hardly anyone, takes permission before responding at a web forum or a blog. Hardly. A hyperlink is usually considered courteous enough and quite serves the purpose of the reader. If you don't like blogs that have won the awards from Performancing, pick any blog/blogger and ask how many of them took permission. The practice is not even present in the print media. Does the editor of Times of India take permission from the RBI Governor before extensively commenting on the uselessness or otherwise of RBI Guidelines ? Tomorrow, I might disagree with Noam Chomsky or Medha Patkar. Do you expect me to take permission from them before I respond to their views ?

    As to your views on my guilt, insecurity, confused intentions and copious feedback on how bad a blogger I have turned out in the recent times:
    Sure, I'll have a look at what I can do.
    It's my continuous endeavour to improve both as a person and as a blogger. (Why does it sound like a customer service statement of a bank ? ).
    This thread seems to help both in one shot.

  15. Some links that may be relevant on:

    What the New York Times and Associated Press think of bloggers quoting their news articles :

    And what some bloggers have got to say :

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Human being is never satisfied...So be it...

    There is no point in replying to your responses, O Miss Well-Organized! You are so good in arguing that there finds no reason for me to comment on it...English language does have too many words at disposal that adds this complexity...

    You are happy with your thoughts, I am happy with my thoughts, outlook and attitude. No intention of making you think like me, and I too have no intention to learn or even analyse and know your way of thinking (Thank God!). Cant enjoy blame game, so i quit.

    I get your point: Either continue arguing (and stoop down) or dont reply and you will be tagged 'loser'. Thanks for whatever you want to think...

    Well, I did learn the lesson...inspite of realizing the futility of this exercise, I barged in...You win. I am happy to be left alone in my own world. Amen!

    p.s: For the hurt that is caused to you because of me, I duly apologize. May God bless you.

  18. Look before you leap, it may be worth the effort! @Rampy

    [sorry to address you by your nickname, but I don't think your original name is available to me]
    At the outset, Mr. Rampy's comments don't merit a response. I thought about it and decided to respond because he has referred to me in his comments.

    Firstly, who is getting into the business of making judgments? I was only highlighting an act of the author which smacked of his megalomaniac tendencies.

    Secondly, I am quite taken aback to see that now Reuters and Association Press are being cited as precedents. I really wonder how much more the comparison can be distorted out of its true proportion. [ever heard of the metaphysical poets, you will find them quite interesting!] They are news agencies, and news agencies are technically supposed to reporting facts, not forming judgments! This is a different debate altogether going on over here. Wake up!

    Thirdly limited reading always has its pitfalls. My whole point was about the author being aware of his intentions, which would obviously shape his writing. Was this supposed to be a debate, in which case, citation with due permission would have been acceptable, or recording for posterity, in which case the material could have been rearranged so that there are no references to individuals. In case you have cared to notice, the author has used the word 'rebuttal' in his introduction. And of course, the point is not whether I want the comments of Surya to be cited the not. [Try asking him!]

    Coming to Saawariya [I haven't seen the movie so I will not comment on the artistic merits of the movie], just in case you have missed, the movie is not Mr. Bhansali's own imagination and creativity, as you have said. I think it has been mentioned in the movie as well that is an adaptation of a novel by Dostoevsky. [you can do the research and find out] So what we see is the perspective Mr. Bhansali's has taken towards the original story. Of course, Dostoevsky is dead, so no question of taking his permission in person or virtually. But the point I am trying to drive home is that it is not a sensitive issue like the present one. So varied opinions and adaptations are acceptable in their own ways. Needless to add, the illustration chosen is a half baked one.

    Okay, the author committing suicide-don't you think you are becoming too hyperbolic. Try checking how many opposing responses this author has got. At least till this point in the blog in the blog, there don't seem to be many. Assuming for a moment there are, don't you think you are actually saying that your friend may not actually be capable of taking criticism? Try discussing this with your friend. There may be some epiphanic moments.

    Moving further, are you actually trying to say that Mr. Srinivasan is supporting Mr. Surya's views? Of course the debate wouldn't have happened and we would have all been singing the same tune. Don't you think that would have been rather boring?

    And Sir, if your comprehension levels are really sound, then you would really know who started the business of attacking individuals through the 'shock and awe' tactics. At least I am not trying to get into that business. And I am also not in the business of trying to understand individuals here [No time for that by God's grace] If you have written something and you have opened it for comments, then you should be able to accept comments in all colors and shades and defend your stand [if you have one] On a personal note, I learned that lesson the hard way. But let me assure you, it is great learning!

    Sorry to say this, but no, at the end of reading your comments, your writing does come across as very haphazard, and there is indeed a lack of direction in your comments. Obviously you won't understand the issue that I have raised.

    So as in the lesson of the old time fable - please look before you leap. It may just be worth the effort. Otherwise your comments will just hang in the air without a sense of logic or direction.

    Of course, I will admit that the increasing number of the comments on this post is making jealousy, the green-eyed monster raise its hood, but I will respond to Mr. Srinivasan's comments, which I have been following since yesterday. [as soon as I am able to find some time.]More so, because, I can somehow feel that something is not altogether alright with the manner in which I have been addressed as ‘Savitha - ji.' That is where I draw the line.

    PS: An explanation is due. These comments were actually supposed to be before Mr. Rampy's second post. But I realised, in retrospect that I was going to be unfair to two parties who may have at the end of the day have had good intentions.[ at least orangemoongazer has I think] So I edited the relevant comments. But the rest of the post regarding my response to Mr. Rampy remains the same. That has not been edited. The inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.

  19. Just in case there is some kind of displeasure about addressing, let me clarify my intention :

    It's my usual practice to address people whom I do not know personally, especially women, with a suffix for respect.

    It's more of a habit, which came up I think, to avoid the possibility of disrespecting people who might possibly be elder to me or may not liked to be called by name except from close acquaintances.

    Thats the intention.

    This other post, for example, has a different reason: I am referring to a leading personality in a lighter vein:

    I am not sure what might be the reasons for your displeasure, but if there is any displeasure, sorry about the addressing part.

    If you have a personal preference otherwise, I'll be glad to take note and follow the same.

    As to mine, it can be anything, Namaji/Nams/Namam/Srini/RS whadeva. Most friends call me Namaji.

    Best Wishes

  20. Clarification understood
    @Mr. Srinivasan
    Yeah, I understand. What I had originally thought that it was a dig at me for using the suffix 'ji' in my previous comment for Gandhiji. And I had to revise the last few lines of my post because I wanted to know the reason and then respond, not react. Yes, you can continue calling me 'Savitha-ji.' Respect, from wherever it comes, is always appreciated. [As long as you don't call me 'O Ms. Well Organized!' it is fine.]

    PS: This response is in a lighter vein to offset the bitterness and light that was shed in the previous post. I do desperately want to respond to Mr. Sampy's 'apologies for the hurt caused!' but am wondering whether it will take the discussion totally elsewhere. But am not able to help myself. The thinking hat is still on my head.

  21. As to the question of taking in criticism :

    The fact I run a public blog with
    unmoderated comments means I have the digestive capability to stomach
    all kinds of feedback, praise and blame, advice and command, rhetoric
    and sarcasm and use all of them for personal growth. It's not just an
    experiment in writing skills but also for communicating with and
    understanding all kinds of minds.

    [Atleast thats what I would like to think when I am in a good mood... :) :) ]

    Of course, one should assume average control on malicious web phenomena like spam, troll etc and inappropriate social practices like racism, indecency etc.

    It's unlikely something will get removed for the sake criticism. I think each blogger has his/her own set of principles regarding these. I am young on the blogger's curve though not on the writer's curve. So I am sure these are subject to change and hopefully for the better.

    My understanding of Rampy's comment when he said "the author would have...." and so on is that : He meant : If the author were to depend solely on third party praise to push himself to writing, then by now the pond would have gone dry since there is not many comments on the blog compared to the bestsellers. So it's not dependent on praise, thats the idea. I don't think he meant the author would have been driven to frustration out of criticism.

    I have found this approach from The Simple Dollar quite helpful.

    P.S. The mailbag contains many questions. Look for the question :

    'How do you handle comments you feel are offensive or hurtful?'

  22. From the stuff that I read, my thought goes like this.

    Savitha seems to be under indigestion in all circumstances...
    Looks like if one wants to contradict, he/she will continue doing so in all circumstances...
    Savitha, grow up...become mature and start taking things in correct stride...

    Hope one day you would...sincerely praying for your well-being...

  23. Hello Ankita

    At the outset, thanks for your prayers. And let me assure you, I mean them.But do you understand that you have just stepped into an arguments whose dimensions you have probably not realised fully?

    No I am not trying to contradict everything that Mr. Srinivasan is saying. In fact I am checking each and every link that he is citing in his support and trying to give my side of the arguments. I am not here to contradict each and every statement that he makes. Due to reasons known to him and me, I am raising these issues. If he has a problem, let him tell openly that he doesn't want this kind of a debate. [I am sure that he doesn't meant that.In fact his response to Orangemoogazer assured me that even he is open to learning as much as I am!]

    And one more thing I would want to assure you. In my very first response to his post, I had appreciated his capacity to write good stuff so effortlessly. My appreciation is not a blind one but a carefully qualified one after reading each and every post of his till this point.

    Do you understand that as a researcher, I have to stay clear from assumptions which are not valid? The three statements that you have made are assumptions about me. And to make matters worse, you don't even know me.

    Is it because of my tirade againt Mr. Rampy? Well, if he can't take criticism of his own unstable stand, that is his problem, not mine.

    At this point, I would request Mr. Srinivasan to say openly whether this debate can be continued or not. I am clear that at no point I have tried to malign anyone. I am sure that all of us could do with a little bit of humour. I am assuring Mr. Srinivasan that if he thinks that I am being too harsh on him, I will back out. But I don't think representatives should be clamouring for that.

    The point of having a debate is not to kill opposition, but to emerge with new perspectives, which we can possibly apply at our own personal levels. Ankita, do you even understand how much of learning has happened over the past one week. I, as a researcher, have immensely benefitted by it. And in turn,all my responses were not posted in blind. Each and every detail was cross-checked and from there I have tried to assume a stand that might be typical of a Devil's Advocate.

    If that is a crime, let me assure you, debates will not happen, perspectives will not emerge, and all of us will be singing the same tune.

    Look at the comments Mr. Rampy has made about me. Is that the manner in which you would talk about an individual whom you don't know? You may say that I was nasty to him in the first place. Please go through the comments carefully. What I said had basis in what he had posted and at no point maligned him as an individual. It is in fact not my problem if chooses half-baked examples or a disorganized method of writing. Did I say he was a disorganised individual? In fact some of his posts which I have read on his blogspot are quite organized.And that is what surprised me in the first place.

    So, Ankita, please think before you pass statements!

    I am once again asking Mr. Srinivasan to tell openly whether I have to post my concluding remarks on this debate which is right now something in the nature of a work-in-progress. Honest, I am tired of the bashing that I am being subjected to by people [are they your friends?] I will respond to your constructive statements, but I don't think bashing me through others will work. [I know that you are not responsible for that!]


  24. Well CS,

    The impression that I wrote in my earlier comment is the spontaneous reaction to the stuff that I read then here (Everywhere everything is not analysed. Chill). 'I am clear that at no point I have tried to malign anyone' - doesnt hold good from you to me though, after reading the stuff here. It may be a problem in the way I read or in my personal understanding. Let me take it as my personal (mis)understanding.

    Plus I was not aware that you knew Mr. Namaji personally (this I understand when you say, the way Mr. Rampy commented even without knowing you personally). So, I think I should not have come amidst a 'known' gang. I am not anyones' representative. I do not know anyone here. Confirm from your 'known' gang. About being good at debates, I disagree with Mr. Rampy's view about your argumentation qualities. Hope his statements were not sarcastic!

    I get your point from this comment of yours that it is a learning process that is going on here. But believe me, from what I read, not more than little suggest that to me. If this is one way of learning, then Happy Learning... :)


  25. Some declarations that have been asked of me:

    May the debate continue with as much good spirit of learning as it can muster.

    If it doesn't, May the concluding remarks arrive from commenters who may wish to conclude.

    As part of the "Fair Disclosure" norms that have been demanded, here is the list of commenters whom I know personally :

    Rameswar, Rajesh, Vinay, Orangemoongazer and Rampy.

    As to whether they subscribe to my views or I subscribe to their views just because we know each other, my request (and my endeavour) is to delink personal acquaintance or otherwise, from the discussion of issues.

    Happy Learning, Once Again!

  26. Clarifications to Ankita from CS
    1. I don't know either Mr. Srinivasan or Mr. Rampy personally. Yes, I do know Mr.Srinivasan through his postings on orkut communities of our university and of course through this blog. His posts over there are quite comprehensive and of course, interesting to read. Mr. Rampy, I know only through his occasional posts on the orkut community.

    2. Obviously this debate has its roots in the debate that had happened on orkut and I think both Mr. Srinivasan and myself have made that quite clear in our posts. Naturally, from that perspective, on asking me to grow up and concluding that I suffer from indigestibn and am not ready to move from point A to point B, in case I am proved wrong, or remain at point B, if I have sufficient evidence,is simply a reaction to what you have read. Not a response.
    3. In fact, if my intention was to indulge in maligning anyone, I would have taken up Mr. Rampy 'apologies for the hurt caused' as a red herring and would have gone chasing that. I looked at his responses objectively and concluded what he himself had concluded about his writing.

    4. And I had very specifically said that I would respond to Mr. Srinivasan's responses. When he offered that clarification about 'ji' I was ready to look at it from his perspective instead of concluding something that would not have basis.

    5. Now of course, it all depends on whether Mr. Srinivasan would love to hear my own conclusions from the whole discussion that had happened over here. And let me assure you, this is not known gang.

  27. Conclusions are welcome, as mentioned in my earlier comment this afternoon.
    (May be the two comments might have crossed around the same time).

  28. That was heartening to hear from the bloggers...Maybe I too should start blogging... :)

    Thanks Savitha for the clarification. Yes, it might be a reaction and not a response, But these are my findings on the definitions of both the words..(to know if they were different as per your call)

    # a result; "this situation developed in response to events in Africa"
    # reaction: a bodily process occurring due to the effect of some foregoing stimulus or agent; "a bad reaction to the medicine"; "his responses have slowed with age"
    # answer: a statement (either spoken or written) that is made in reply to a question or request or criticism or accusation; "I waited several days for his answer"; "he wrote replies to several of his critics"
    # reception: the manner in which something is greeted; "she did not expect the cold reception she received from her superiors"
    # a phrase recited or sung by the congregation following a versicle by the priest or minister
    # reply: the speech act of continuing a conversational exchange; "he growled his reply"

    #what you, the reader, feel when you read a text and what you must be able to explain and illustrate in examination answers or coursework

    That was hence, one of the reasons (unknowingly...ahahhaha), why I mentioned it as 'response' and not as 'reaction'.

    Thanks for your and Mr. Namajis' clarifications on the 'gang' thing. I understand it now. :)

    Anyways, productive argumentation is healthy...Happy Learning, again!

  29. @Ankita

    Sorry but I really couldn't help responding to this.
    Are you aware that in spite of the fixed meanings that we assign to words, their meanings depend on the context in which you read them? For example, in schools, children are supposed to be encouraged to puzzle out the meanings of the words based on the context in which they are used, not keep referring to the good old dictionary at the drop of the hat. For eg. one of the links you have cited is actually a glossary of technical terms for comparative reading. Attitude for eg. over there refers to the stance taken by the reader towards the text. This basically means your own systems and frames with which you approach the text to analyse it from your perspective. However, we are also aware that attitude refers a way of thinking or also the way in which you hold your body. Moving over to informal usage, it can also mean displaying self-confident and aggressive behaviour. [a beginner's dictionary will give you this info]

    In the context of a debate, the way I see it, a reaction displays your immediate emotional stance to the subject matter. Whereas a response would be a more qualified and carefully considered stance. [am ready to stand corrected in case it is otherwise or somethiing different] However, a dictionary might classify both reaction and response as one meaning the other.

    To further support my argment, we may think that a resolution may refer to an ending of things [at least that is what it refers to in drama, a plot achieving its resolution] But in the parlance of a debate, it refers to the topic that is being debated on.

    The point is, words have to be understood within the context in which they are being used.

    I am really wondering as to how I am able to take time out of my rather busy day to respond and comment. The final comments, since Mr. Srinivasan has given the green signal, will come in as soon as possible. Sometimes I really wonder whether Fate has a hidden agenda in loading me with so much of work. :(


  30. See Savitha,
    You say at one end that you should understand in context and other end you say, it was a reaction and not response. Agreed, we are completely legitimate in re-defining reaction and respond to the way one generally uses it in this part of the world; but at the same time, one cannot ask others to know the difference, if one is to understand in-context, as expected.

    Same thing is applicable with the way you responded to Mr. Namaji's replies with a stark knife. It was not just about Mr. Rampys'...I missed mentioning it in the earlier the reply...

    By the way, why I am trying to post things here and create work for others, forcing one to come out of their buzy schedules...


  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. CS’s final comments

    I know that the heat and light generated in the discussion was somewhat defused rather lamely on a totally irrelevant note, but I was swamped by so much of work that I could hardly find time to write anything decent. Anyway, the task has finally commanded my total attention and here I sit to put down my final comments on this whole issue.

    The bone of contention between me and Mr. Srinivasan is quite a controversial one which has echoes in some other precedents he has cited. However the issue as I see it is whether it was ethically correct on his part to have cited surya’s comments without taking his permission.

    The precedents Mr. Srinivasan has cited are mostly those of Techcrunch, which is a more of a group blog to and similar is the case with Twitter. At least this is the initial understanding that I got of both. I really can’t go into the technicalities of how they work but this statement from another link that he has cited towards the end should actually clear the picture about what kind of a place a blogosphere is, with reference to the issue mentioned in the blog.

    “But he probably also knows by now that the blogosphere is an unruly place, and one that doesn’t like organizations suddenly emerging that appear to speak for bloggers”

    Which is why what he says may be perfectly acceptable from the usual run-of-the-mill kind of practices that are widely prevalent in the blog world. In fact Mr. Srinivasan may find the following link to bolster his stand. The post is actually a review of a book

    If we try to condemn the practice of the author of reviewing a book sans the permission of the author and condemn it as a negative practice or as I would put it ‘a travesty of ethics’ then we are actually extending the limits of my argument into areas in which it may not hold water. To further clarify this, if this were true, then every time Rajeev Masand writes a review for ibnlive, he may have to take permission of the director etc. which we know is not possible for free expression of one’s views.

    The point I am trying to drive home is that such precedents would not apply in case which I have raised. Let us look at the comparisons itself. It was an individual opinion made public on a forum which proved to be the starting point for the whole blog post on Gandhi bashing. I would definitely give some brownie points to Mr. Srinivasan because this blog post and his defense on orkut happened around the same time. [I can’t really catch him there] However as I have said before, this post demanded some sensitivity on the part of the author. It is a known fact that Surya’s defense has not been posted in its entirety and I do understand the helplessness of Mr. Srinivasan in this regard. But then, there should have been some attempts at least to contact the author and inform him that his comments are being cited here. He definitely cannot get away by saying that he had just pinged.

    Yes quoting and citing have been done on the sites that Mr. Srinivasan has cited. But those sites are more organisational in nature and are something more of group blogs. Whereas in this case, it is an individual blog. Even if the individual says that he is open to deconstruction and butchering the fact remains that he has presented only a one sided debate and definitely can’t expect a rebuttal to materialise from thin air.

    I strongly feel that the ethical stance of a person in case of a debate is revealed when he uses his conscious self to defend his stand regarding any controversial issue rather than by the practices that are followed. The link I give below may not be directly relevant to my argument but does express what I want to say on the ethical stance of an individual very clearly.

    Mr. Sainath’s view substantiates my argument. As he says we have to define our own personal ethics and follow them. And I didn’t find that happening in this post. [Now please don’t ask me whether I had taken Sainath Sir’s permission to quote him. It is obviously a public forum and what he said is not in the nature of a debate where he has to defend his view!]

    And as I see it, Mr. Srinivasan and I have to [to use a favourite phrase of mine!] agree to disagree on this issue. So all that I wanted to tell him a couple of weeks ago, and that I would repeat now is to hold on to the practices which he feels makes sense to him, because at the end of the day it is his blog.

    However, the attacks directed at me for having raised this issue set me thinking and made me veer off this blog as well for sometime. More so, because the author of the blog also did not feel that it would have been correct on his part to have discouraged those posts. A re-reading of the comments directed at me would prove that. First, when I rationally deconstruct what Rampy had to say about my stand and conclude what he himself concluded about his writing, he sarcastically calls me ‘Oh Miss Well-Organised.” I let that pass. Then comes along Ms. Ankita and says,

    “Savitha seems to be under indigestion in all circumstances...
    Looks like if one wants to contradict, he/she will continue doing so in all circumstances...
    Savitha, grow up...become mature and start taking things in correct stride...” [as if I was personally affected by the debate!]

    I am quoting the same link which Mr. Srinivasan has quoted before.

    “P.S. The mailbag contains many questions. Look for the question :

    'How do you handle comments you feel are offensive or hurtful?'”

    And in that link what does the author have to say about personal comments directed at the readers of his blog? So should I assume that for Mr. Srinivasan, precedents are applicable only according to convenience?

    The very fact that he did not have an issue with my tone and style of writing and instead encouraged me to present my point of view made me think that here was a writer who was willing to listen. An debate need not always end on with both the parties agreeing on the same resolution. However, the views and ideas generated from the debate enables us to examine our own practices from a different perspective and helps us to decide on the validity of our own stand. I can safely say that the very fact that Mr. Srinivasan allowed those unsavoury remarks about a dissenter to remain in his blog shows may make me conclude as to what extent he is sensitive.

    Towards the end, I would like to assure Mr. Srinivasan that it was a pleasure for me to respond and try to argue with him on this issue. Yes, new perspectives have emerged for me, only to assure me that writing always needs sensitivity, blogs, books whatever. And the best practices emerge not only from precedents but also from one’s conscience, which only makes them relative. And that is precisely the reason why this argument cannot continue further.

    Sorry for the delay in posting my final comment because I was swamped by work.
    I can take consolation again in the response posted in the same link that Mr. Srinivasan had quoted. To save the trouble of checking the link once again –

    “Question - Is there any one resource you’d recommend, whether it be a book or a website that would help me achieve my goal of becoming a much better writer? I’d greatly appreciate it.

    Response - The absolute best resource for improving as a writer is you. All of the books and websites in the world don’t matter. The one thing that separates good writers from bad writers is practice, refinement, and more practice.”

  33. Thanks for the concluding comments.

    Although I understand the word 'concluding', here is a little explanation to a point of displeasure raised.

    On allowing/disallowing certain posts: By the same yardstick of sensitivity (or lack thereof, depending on which side of the river), I think, 'indigestion' (word and the tone) should be as much allowed as 'megalomaniac', particularly when it follows the latter. And so should 'grow up' be allowed as much as 'stoop down'.

    This is not to say, I endorse either of the usages. But one is definitely not in better taste or worse to gulp than the other. Atleast from the relative stoic standpoint where I see from.

    Set the tone ball rolling and What goes around... well, comes around... as sensitively.

  34. Clarification on the use of words 'megalomaniac' and stoop down from CS:
    All that I can say is that indeed what goes round comes round. If Mr. Srinivasan has noticed closely, I had used the word megalomaniac with quotation marks. The following link will substantiate the reason for using that

    In his response to the discussion in this link, Mr. Srinivasan includes him in the community of megalomaniacs. He doesn't have a problem there, but has a problem here? Strange indeed.

    'Stoop down' may seemed to have been a strong word to have been used. But from my perspective, that is what seemed to be happening here. Well, if Mr. Srinivasan had a problem with my tone, he should have just made that clear in his response itself. Instead he responded and set the ball rolling for further arguments. Quite funny that he waits for somebody else to make that statement. Isn't this stooping down? Isn't this fishing for support by pretending to be victimised? So what I had said initially, and would have been willing to stand corrected if proven otherwise seems to have been validated.

  35. I don't have a problem with either. Which is why I let both be present, for whatever worth they are for all to see.

    Problem arises only when one is somehow acceptable and the other is somehow unacceptable depending on whether one is at the firing end or at the receiving end.

    As I have said before, for me, one is as good or as bad as the other. It is not about the acceptability or non-acceptability of the tones, both tones are pretty okay with me, I sieve for the content and not for the tone.

    If A is the tone in which a discussion is begun, then A-dash would be the tone in which a response will be evoked. What else would one expect ? One can expect better, but more often, what one gets is in proportion to what one has given.

    I don't have a problem with the word megalomaniac or indigestion, but if I am allowing one, I am only being fair enough (or as much fair enough) in allowing the other, particularly when I am not using either word myself.

    Thanks for reiterating the constructive feedback.


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THANK YOU: These reflections draw sometimes from readers and friends who initiate ideas, build up discussions, post comments and mention interesting links, some online and some over a cup of coffee or during a riverside walk. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this blog are the blogger's personal opinions and made in his individual capacity, sometimes have a story-type approach, mixing facts with imagination and should not be construed as arising from a professional position or a counselling intention.