Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Silence is golden?





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I was all of 4. We were returning from the market, my father and I. He stopped to buy some fruits. I plucked a few grapes from the vendors cart and enclosed them in my palm. Close to home, my father chose to hold me by the other hand seeing the oncoming traffic. He saw the grapes clutched therein. One look of disapproval and I was promptly marched back to the fruit vendor, made to apologize and then return the ‘now almost squashed grapes’. The fruit vendor said, “Jaane do sahib, bacchi hai” (Let it be sire, she is only a child). To which my father replied, “Isiliye abhi seekhna zaroori hai” (Hence, it is imperative that she learns now).

Approximately 30 odd years since that lesson well learnt, I am now a blogger/writer. I still don’t take anything that does not belong to me (except chocolate cake kept in the fridge). I have also developed an aversion for plagiarism. Not a fan of all the copied hit songs, films or marketing campaigns either. I am reminded of this one time when Bappi Da sued hip hop performer Dr Dre, for plagiarism in his song Addictive. And then this was released as an Indian chartbuster. That he (Bappi Da) has borrowed feathers from many a bird all his life; seem to have for some reason, escaped his memory. Well, that can be said for half the trash that Bollywood produces, but will save it for another post.

Well, so it goes, that as a blogging newbie, I made some awesome virtual friends. Our minds met and our thoughts had conversations galore.  Hence, when a handful of them posted that their posts had been lifted, at times in entirety and passed off under the guise of another author, the ‘Durga’ in me showed up in full glory. I persecuted them plagiarists, posted, commented, mailed and informed all and sundry about their misdeeds they’d rather sweep under the carpet. Did I get a backlash? Of course, some threatening ones too, but yet, I just could not bring myself to be put on MUTE. The plagiarists had various reasons ranging from outsourced copy writers to simply being inspired by the posts. Everything, but remorse for their act. What was amazing to add, was the support that these thieves garnered. This, coming from a well read audience, who did not take the trouble to read through what was written or was being said. Fortunately, the truth needs no garnishing and can be served without any accompaniments. All was back to the way it should be, post many, many, many interactions on various web portals. 


And then I turned around and saw that I was the lone crusader. I’d found support along the way in the form of ‘likes’ on a post and was bestowed with accolades too. But when it came to raising a voice, I hardly had any back up vocalists. They were all there, all of them, watching from behind the sheer curtains of an offline status. But they refused to pitch in, just because it was not their fight. Neither was it mine. It never was. I just supported those, who I knew for a fact had been wronged.

Why then I wonder are we worried about a mute Prime Minister, when all he did, was reflect the larger populace of the country? A school going girl was openly molested by a mob in Guwahti, people kept quiet. A 12 year old girl was raped on a Mumbai Train, people kept quiet. A model was shot dead in Delhi because she refused drinks, people kept quiet. Two youth were stabbed to death outside a restaurant, people kept quiet. The lone waiter, who tried to help, lost his job and people still kept quiet. Day in and day out, crimes big and small happen right under our noses, we continue to reap gold in silence. Why? Because it does not concern us? So, should we wait till our house catches fire or just hope that the wind doesn’t blow any embers from the neighbourhood?


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When Gandhiji endorsed the three monkeys’ ideologies of ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’, I’m sure he was not advocating the citizenship of a nation of fools. I’ve come to the conclusion, we are not helpless; we don't just want to help. Period. And then we expect change to come about. Who is going to wash and iron our dirty linen if we refuse to do so? Why should anyone help us when we can’t bring about to help ourselves? Why is it so darn difficult to identify black from white? Even the grays have shades that can be seen with the naked eye. We love to show our angst on social networking sites, be critical when we casually discuss, play the blame game when we face the brunt of injustice, but refuse to stand up in the need of the hour.

Well, I was raised well. And I will continue to crusade. Who knows, run for President someday? I might not be perfect, though I am really close. Yet, in my own imperfect way I will never ever take a crown meant for someone else’s head. What’s the point? It won’t fit! I rather wear a crown of thorns, the way my savior did. They say, it is a designer piece and not many own it. I choose to be this way simply because, I like to follow the herd albeit, in the opposite direction.










                                                           

51 comments:

Rickie said...

There are but a few who lead. Most like to be led!

Purba said...

Guilty as charged. It's time we took up cudgels on each others' behalf. Enough of not wanting to get our hands dirty.

Anna jee tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Having been at receiving end of your kindness, I know how you can stand up for what's right.

I'm sorry I was missing in action for a while yesterday, but I know exactly what you mean about our ability to be silent spectators. I've been guilty for doing that too often in the distant past. Not any more, I hope.
Thank you for being you, Vinita.

Blogwati Gee said...

Rickie, agreed not all can be leaders but that should not stop us from having a vision.

Blogwati Gee said...

Purba, I am glad you feel this way... whenever in doubt come back and read this post :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Corinne, I am not being kind. I just can't get to turn a blind eye, no matter what. Thank you for being you too.

mridulachitnis said...

There is a problem for sure. My reasoning is that an average human being is never trained to be in situation. They find themselves in one and they dont know at that point of time how to react. The modern society has killed the community system(it also lead to discriminations, another story)but today we live as individual and loneliness makes us very weak people. Psychologically we fail to gather required courage. We really need to build a modern community system to deal not just this but several other problems. I'm ready to join your plagiarism fight. That incident might be over but prepare yourself for anything in future and you may find a different end to the story.

endowedwithmetis said...

All I can say till the time people like you are allowed I'll encourage my daughter to blog and when you are not I'll encourage her to be just like the BG I once knew :)

Hugs! :)

Phoenixritu said...

Jiyo meri sherni! Point taken. Will stand up more often. On my wall there are two bios - one an original and one a blatant plagiarism. And these are writer bios, to whom words should matter. Well!

Blogwati Gee said...

Mrids, agreed, situations are always going to be different but our innate nature can be the same ...that of reacting in time!

Blogwati Gee said...

endowedwithmetis.....awwww that is such a sweet comment! I am not very good with mush...I must warn you. Besides, your daughter should be able to blog with you watching her back, with or without BG. hugs right back!

Blogwati Gee said...

Phoenixritu, sherni par mera copyright nahin hai....aap bhi welcome ho :P

vasu said...

Your crusade was wonderful-here's hoping, it makes us brave enough to follow in your steps !

Rachna said...

A great post, Vinita and makes each one of us look inside of us. I also raise my voice and endeavor to fight what is wrong. I've done that in the past and will continue it in the future.

AJ said...

I like your crown analogy. Yes, where's the sense of fulfillment in wearing an ill-fitting crown? It either makes one's head look big or hides it as if it weren't there. :)

Deeps said...

*Stands up and claps vehemently for you! Hats off to you Blogwati G

Have been following the whole thread on FB and admiring you for standing up for what is just. Hope more and more of us feel as driven as you to fight for what is right and make the blog-world a safe haven and a wonderfully exciting place to be in!

Thank you for bringing this up!

Keep blogging!

zephyr said...

Having been at the 'receiving end of your kindness' as Corinne so beautifully put it, I did jump into the fray the moment I saw the thread. I plead guilty for not being on FB all the time. But when I did, I did everything -- raised a support ticket, sent personal mails to Renie and others in Inditeam, report plagiarism of the post et al. To their credit, they always take action against the plagiarist and even deactivate the profiles as has been done now. Do I stand acquitted? :)

Seriously, we should all keep a look out for each other. If we don't who will?

RAHUL MIGLANI said...

I guess I am no judge !!! But I can feel people do things to the point they feel they are allowed , Some people live in this dream that they will never be caught and that's where they fail.

Bikramjit said...

I guess I am lucky in that department, I am not that great a writer or blogger that someone will want ot copy my work or use it ..


But what you say is very true , it is wrong , a few months back we found a person who was doing something like this , to cheat his way to win a lot of prizes, although I dont think he was copying material .. But still he was cheating and a few people made a big hue and cry over it on indiblogger but it was SAD to see that most of this guys friends inspite of knowing what he was doing still carried on reading and voting for him..

Anyway coming to the point yes we need to point it out for sure and if we as readers see something then it should be our duty to point it out too..

Well done to you and all the best , and next time if you find no one supporting you, you can email me and for something right I will stand with you no matter what , you can depend on that always ..

Bikram's

Ghazala Hossain said...

Atta girl..! I wonder, how illiterate people can be..! In this day of high technology people still think they can get away:(

More power to you my dear ~

Sonia Rao said...

BG,Silence can never be golden and silence should never be the chosen response in the case of a perpetrated injustice.

And clicking 'like' on FB is just so easy.Unfortunately, likes are not enough to set the wrongs right.

This is an oft-repeated grouse against FB 'likers' who are not sure what else they can or are expected to do (Don't forget, we have become a nation of arm-chair watchers ever since 1947).

A suggestion, if you please. It would be a good idea to post a CTA (Call to Action) during any such incidents so the 'liker' knows what is the right action to be taken in such a situation. Because, sadly, everyone is not a leader.

Keep the fight for truth and justice always on, BG. You just THINK you are alone, you are not.

Richa Kholkute said...

I have to admit, I was one of the 'likers'. The few wee comments I made, got drowned out somewhere. But you are right, mere watching from the sidelines just because someone else is leading the crusade is not a good thing. Point well taken. Will certainly support more vociferously if there are matters that need support (although hoping ofcourse, this one case was enough to let plagiarists think twice before they hit Ctrl V)

jan neel said...

Staying silent in my opinion is rooted in fear. I have one neice who stopped a bullying episode at her school while an entire team of boys had stood back and watched a boy being beat. she stepped up and took on the boys who were doing the hitting. she was 17. Another niece helped an elderly woman who had fallen in the street while the adults simply drove around her. In this nation as well we are a people who don't want to be involved.

Farila said...

You fought the battle and won it for the bloggers.. When I saw you mention it on facebook, I assumed the author is going to apologize and take it off, had no idea so much of fuss would be needed bring out the results. I am glad you had enough artillery to hold till the end... Congratulations.

JANU said...

I was a mute bystander too...as Purba said, I am guilty as charged too. Now, you have an army. Hats off to you Vinita.

Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli said...

BlogwatiG... this is a dil ko choo lene waala post! A strong point made very well! Something that made me feel, "I am not a mute watcher but how come i missed supporting this cause?" Or did I hit Like? I fail to remember and blame it on fibfog ;) Maybe it was the innumerable updates from everyone that over occupied my News feed or maybe it was my comparatively decreased presence on FB in the last week.
How I have wrote stinkers to people who just copied all my efforts on the mumbai local blog without even a single credit mention. I am with all of those who stand against plagiarism. Do lemme know when you wanna teach a lesson to a copy-cat. I'll do my very best!

subhorup dasgupta said...

two separate things were going on in my head as i was reading this post. one was - of course, that is why we are in this mess, because people will not stand up and raise their voice. the other was - who wants to get into trouble. the reason for this second voice is the perception that 'whistleblowers' are a minority and end up facing more persecution than anything else. going by the recent episode, it is obvious that there are enough people who think otherwise.

there are enough of us who are outraged by things around us. we saw that with the anna movement, we saw that with the jessica trial, and we saw that with the recent contest entry. yet, there is something that has so far prevented these emotions from making far reaching changes to the system. i believe that is sustained vigilance, and your post will go a long way to make us all think about it, and who knows, maybe even act.

as far as i am concerned, i still need to grow and change as a person to come up to a point where i can consistently think and act like you. thanks for being an inspiration.

akanksha said...

People here chose to stay mute. That is a choice they have learnt,by seeing what happens to the people who speak up.

The fittest here, is the one who knows how to ignore everything around him and just carry on with his/her own life. We're a nation of cowards, and our foundation is utterly wrong. We have been taught to remain mute to everything, else, it will cause us harm. The foundation is incorrect and it is high time we all do something about it.

akanksha said...

First time here, thanks to yesterday's discussion on Facebook. Love the title of your blog! :)

Punit Dubey said...

You made me realise a lot... I know it wasn’t pointed to my reaction, but I do feel a proper research is always needed before christening something as plagiarised, truly inspired or loosely inspired – and that’s why I raised my concerns over it! But, yes if someone who calls him/herself a Blogger, that is 'a sort of Artist', he/she not only is expected not to plagiarize but also deserves to be thrashed if crosses the thin line…
One more point, whether one is following you or not, one would always respect that Durga in you (though you too steal cake from fridge) :) ;)

Blogwati Gee said...

Vasu, Bravery begins with a decision of standing for the right, today!

Blogwati Gee said...

Rachna, I can safely say that you were one of the back up vocalists I had :)

Blogwati Gee said...

AJ, if one MAN could change the face of the world, aren't we also in his image and likeness expected to follow suit?

Blogwati Gee said...

Deeps, next time I hope to see you by my side :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Zephyr, You and I have some Karmic plagiarism connection I think...lol. Thank you for being the guide that you were/are. Many a times we want to do things but don't know how. Thank you for being the resilient force, showing us gently how to move forward. I can't acquit you for you were never charged with anything :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Rahul, good or bad, everything has a shelf life. Sooner or later, the end is near!

Blogwati Gee said...

Bikramjit, don't wait for my invitation. Keep your eyes open. Trust me, you will find loads of these tribe.

Blogwati Gee said...

Ghazala, har chor koi na koi suraag chodh hi jata hai :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Soniaji, many a times you go by gut. the biggest problem in the blogging world is everyone want to be read....but no one READS. Every one will take the opportunity to plug a post they have written on the said topic, but won't pitch in to set things straight.

Blogwati Gee said...

Richa, to be able to self introspect and admit to our short comings is a great gift. Half your battle is won already. Thank you for your support, I know you mean well.

Blogwati Gee said...

Jan Neel, Hats off to your nieces. I am hoping they get this from you :)

Blogwati Gee said...

Farila, the saddest part is the person in question could have ensured none of this happened. But going through various posts on her blog, this was not the only one that has been inspired*. I found at least 3 other posts that had been picked from other sources. Four times cannot be a coincidence or an unintentional error.

Blogwati Gee said...

Janu, you better be there when I turn around the next time :P

Blogwati Gee said...

Anuradha KP I am glad there are people who still think this way. The sympathy vote that the lady kept getting was just beyond me!

Blogwati Gee said...

Subho, you could not have written it any better. So then again, we are to be blamed right. If we don't respect the framework and strive to protect it, why blame external forces that take undue advantage of an opportunity they see?

Blogwati Gee said...

Akanksha, thank you for being one of the few on the discussion thread yesterday. Glad you liked my blog. Keep visiting.

Blogwati Gee said...

Punit, as per all the evidences, you did see I had conducted a thorough research before launching any discussions. I am glad you saw where I was coming from.

As far as the cake is concerned, it is in my fridge which I pay electricity for....I jolly well be entitled to the cake and get to eat it too :P

Sabyasachi Patra said...

Nice to hear about your childhood upbringing. I can relate to i.

It is so unfortunate that people lift others ideas and make it their own.

Many people will not come forward and support you in the open because they fear others will attack them. Most of the people want to avoid conflict at any cost. Unfortunate, but true.

Blogwati Gee said...

Sabyasachi, maut ke khauf se koi jeena thodi chodh deta hai :)

Ash said...

Amazing post, and hats off to your dad!

Our people's heads are too full of apathy. The choose to ignore. The story of the Bangalore girl who was molested and thrown off a moving train full of passengers who refused to help her just shows what a nation of cowards we are.

sharmila said...

After reading this and going through the entire thread on FB,yahaan toh sorry bolna bhi gunaah hai.I am late as always..
BG you are rare,and your grit makes you specal.Margins koi kiti bhi laal kar le,Title toh Title hi rahegaa,BOLD or UNDERLINED!!

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