[Reader-list] Quit India. 2007
ravikant at sarai.net
Fri Aug 24 12:35:54 IST 2007
Scoll down for authorial details. I like the way Niyam mixes religious
secular and nationalist mythology to advocate free software.
Copied from: http://niyam.com/gnulinux/lfy/fy/FY-monthly-col.php?aug2k7
Quit India. 2007.
Indian Declaration of Digital Independence on 15 August.
by Niyam Bhushan
"At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake
to life and freedom. A moment comes, but rarely in history, when we step out
from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation,
long suppressed, finds utterance."
Thus declares Jawahar Lal Nehru, first Prime Minister of free India, calling
the end of a colonial era. I look at the calendar to note the date of this
historic moment. 15 August 2007. Exactly sixty years after India's freedom
from the British Empire. I must be dreaming.
Let My Country Awake
"History repeats itself" says a voice from the sky. I look around me. a
FabIndia khadi-clad geek is busy blogging the speech on his laptop. He's
word-processing in Microsoft Office 2007. I grab his notebook, click
the 'File' menu and look for 'Quit' in the drop-down menu. Instead, there at
the bottom I find the magic words that reverberate forever in my
dreams: 'Quit India'.
I click with joy and triumph. 'Deleting All Partitions' states a message next
on the screen as the machine automatically reformats its hard disk. This is
one historic moment in India's history that shall see no partition, I muse to
myself with relief as I wander into a long train of thoughts.
By the time the clock strikes twelve, all the proprietary software on the
laptop is deleted forever. Gone with it are the End User Lagaan Agreements of
each proprietary software, and the ugly patents and its oppressive laws that
had turned man against mankind. As the machine reboots with the jubilant
image of the Tux penguin initializing GnuLinux, the voice of Jawahar Lal
Nehru soars in the background, calling free Indians to:
"bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers
of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a
prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic
and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to
every man and woman."
As India passes through its midnight hour, hope soon dawns across the world.
Emails are pouring in from colonies across Asia and Africa, roused earlier by
Mahatma Gandhi's emphatic and noble statement to the colonial master "to
retire from every Asiatic and African possession. ... I ask for a bloodless
end of an unnatural domination and for a new era. Leave India to God and if
that be too much, leave her to anarchy...."
Everyone in the world just wants to know one thing: what is the price of
freedom we must pay? The answer from the Mahatma is simple: Everything. If
you are resolved you want your freedom, and you want the Digital Cripps
Mission for OOXML to fail, then just resolve to reformat your hard-disks, no
matter what the consequences. And weave your own code.
I step outside into the morning sunshine. Every garden and rooftop has joyous
Indians flying kites. I peer closely at the kites filling up the empty sky.
Strange! They all look the same. All have similar metallic-gray colors, with
rather thick kite-strings tethering them to their owners. Aha! Those are not
kites, but computer laptops, thousands of them, soaring high in celebration
of freedom, tied to long ethernet network-cables, engaged in friendly network
"Will you just fly paper kites today to celebrate the glory of your past, or
can you 'take back control' of your own freedom by flying your laptop high
with muft and mukt software?" Asks the echoing voice in the sky. I must be
dreaming. I wake up thinking â€œYes! Your passion is your potential.â€ What
an irony! That's really what our forefathers believed, else India's freedom
could not have been possible. 15 August 2007 slips by all of us, and once
more we click on 'Start' to 'Shutdown'.
Inspired by the vision of Osho. Niyam Bhushan is a leading technology writer,
editor, columnist, with a background in graphic design. He consults and
trains in digital imagery. He has been using computers across several
platforms since 1982, and loves the freedom and power offered by GnuLinux.
Email: freedomyug at linuxforu dot com
© 2007 Niyam Bhushan. First published in LinuxForYou magazine,
www.linuxforu.com. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article
is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved. In
Hindi, 'muft' means 'free of cost', and 'mukt' means 'with freedom.'
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