Campaign


“It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.”

Activism, Opinion

#SaveTheInternet


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The Internet has become so much a part of our lives that it is easy to imagine that it will always remain the free and open medium as it is now. We’d like to believe it will remain a place where we can always access any lawful content we want, and where the service providers delivering that content can’t play favorites because they want to charge more money for faster delivery. Network neutrality should be maintained.

Net neutrality means that Internet service providers should provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. It prohibits the owner of a network, that holds itself out to all-comers, from discriminating against information by halting, slowing, or otherwise tampering with the transfer of any data (except for legitimate network management purposes such as easing congestion or blocking spam).

Why would the telecom companies want to interfere with Internet data? Answer: Profit and other corporate interests. Companies might also interfere with speech that makes them look bad, block applications that compete with their own, or increase their profit by forcing developers to pay more to avoid having their data blocked or slowed down. I am worried. On one fine morning, I may not be able to access my blog due to very slow speed of internet for accessing my blog!

New technologies now allow telecom companies to scrutinize every piece of information we send or receive online – websites, email, videos, Internet phone calls, or data generated by games or social networks. And they can program the computers that route that information to interfere with the data flow by slowing down or blocking traffic and communicators that they don’t like and speeding up traffic they do like or that pays them extra for the privilege. Here’s a nice article on Medianama countering every argument of Airtel against net neutrality.

Save the internet! Yesterday, I joined others by sending an email to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) through the website savetheinternet.in responding to the regulator’s call for public consultation. Times of India reported that over 27,000 emails have been sent through this website in last 24 hours. An online petition though change.org has nearly 150,000 petitioning the Union minister and TRAI to act against violation of net neutrality.

Internet should be treated as an essential utility, like water. Without water, we die. Without access to the internet, our access to knowledge dies. We need both to survive and thrive. The Internet must remain a forum for innovation and free expression. Open, affordable, fast and universal communications networks are essential to our individual, social, intellectual, economic and political futures.

Activism

#BringBackOurGirls


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Almost a month has passed since the mass abduction of about 276 young schoolgirls on April 14 in Nigeria. They were just aged 12-15 years! The militant Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. In a video message, a leader of the group threatened to sell the schoolgirls and force them to marry.

Boko Haram means ‘Western Education is a Sin’. But is this not a sin? Which religion on this earth sanctions kidnapping of young girls and forcing them into slavery? By any definition, this is a sheer act of cowardice. These militants are terrorising the society by snatching away their innocent daughters  and children, whose only mistake is that they want to be educated to lead a good life. Every child in this world has the right to education and the girls have an inalienable right to be girls.

The world is slowly getting united under the campaign that began with a hashtag #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter to put a pressure on the Nigerian government and world leaders to rescue those innocent young schoolgirls from the clutches of Boko Haram.

When so many cradles of mothers are empty and their eyes are missing their lovely daughters, it cannot be a “Happy Mother’s Day” today. I support #BringBackOurGirls! I am waiting for the day when these girls are rescued. May the God be with them!

Image courtesy: Hindustan Times

Activism

Fasten your seat belt and stay blessed


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The Seatbelt Crew has come out with a novel idea for spreading basic protections while driving. Through a group of beautiful, purple sari clad transgenders, dressed as air crew members broadcasting important message in their unique unforgettable fashion they are spreading the message to the motorists for fastening their seat belts while driving.

The video has become viral and the message is well spread. But the purpose will be served when the car drivers start fastening their seat belts while behind the steering wheels. The idea is well appreciated.

Seat belt pehno aur duaa lelo!

Activism

Round the world on bike — Debnath in Baghdad


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Somen Debnath is in Baghdad now. He is staying at the Indian Embassy. I met him at the residence of the Indian Ambassador yesterday. I came to know of his arrival to Baghdad a few days back through Prashant. Debnath hails from West Bengal (India).

Somen Debnath with his bicycle in Baghdad

He is cycling around the world and has now reached Iraq after covering 77 countries. He started his journey in 2004 and plans to complete in 2020. His mission is to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.

With Somen Debnath

After the reception and dinner at the Indian Embassy to welcome the Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Baghdad on June 19, we had a nice chat for quite a long time. He was narrating his experiences in different country. I invited him to our house.

His next destination is Kuwait. Debnath is awaiting visa from them. Otherwise he will go to UAE from Iraq. He already got the UAE visa. He is blogging his journey & experiences.

Today Debnath came to our house in the afternoon. We had dinner together. It was nice chatting with him.

Wish Somen Debnath good luck, safe travel, and success of his mission.

Activism

3 year old girl made the brand name changed!


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Sainsbury’s is the third largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom with a share of the UK supermarket sector of 16.5%. Sainsbury’s was founded in 1869 in London. One of their product was Tiger Bread. Lily Robinson, a three year old girl thought that the Tiger Bread sold in Sainsbury’s doesn’t look like a Tiger, but a Giraffe. So she wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s asking them why it’s not called Giraffe Bread instead.

Sainsbury’s customer manager Chris King happened to agree with Lily and responded with a letter that started:

I think renaming the bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it does look more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?

He went on to explain the origins of the bread’s name and questioned the Zoology skills of the baker who came up with it.

It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked a bit stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.

And to make it better, He also included a three-pound gift voucher for Lily to spend in the store, which she could use

to buy some tiger bread (and maybe if mum and dad say it is OK you can get some sweeties too!)

Lily’s mother went on to upload the letters to Facebook, starting the ‘Campaign to change Tiger Bread to Giraffe Bread at Sainsbury’s’ which went viral, registering hundred of Facebook ‘likes’ and comments, and nudging Sainsbury’s into action.

In response to overwhelming customer feedback that the tiger bread has more resemblance to a giraffe, from February 1, 2012, Sainsbury’s changed their tiger bread to giraffe bread, with a note –

Thanks to a clever suggestion from one of our customers we’ve changed the name of our tiger bread to giraffe bread. Don’t worry, the recipe hasn’t changed and the bread still tastes as great as ever.

Generally, most of the companies would have put such suggestions to their trash bins. The appreciable points in this episode are their customer care, giving importance to each letter/suggestion from their customers and the marketing & branding flexibility of Sainsbury’s. Also, this proves again the relevance and power of social networking.

Just a note: Sainsbury’s said that Chris King had now left the company and had returned to university to study to be a primary school teacher. :-)