Hunger strike of Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice

On 11th April 2011 Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 in order to have a significant monitor and control over the vicarious web world. The act will allow government agencies to have access to each and every activity of ours on the internet. Let it be your facebook profiles, twitter accounts, blogs, YouTube, gtalk, Skype calls and even data stored via cloud computing, they can trace them all. If the government finds something obscene on the ministers or disagree on few issues, they can shut down site or blog on its own. Basically the IT Act 2011 will lead to;-

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers). Courtesy (Save your Voice).

The Protest

On 2nd May Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and Journalist Alok Dixit from ‘Save Your Voice‘ started open- ended hunger strike at Jantar Mantar to support the ANNULMENT MOTION against IT Rules-2011 in the Rajya Sabha.

It started with the Anna Hazare agitation against corruption; he went on “fast” from 27th December, and cartoonist Aseem went all the way to Mumbai from Kanpur to attend. He made few cartoons which were later on published in Hindustan Times and Prahar a leading Marathi newspaper. And the next day his sitecartoonsagainstcorruption.com where he uploaded the same poster was shut down by Mumbai police on a complaint being filed by the local Congress leader. After checking up with the lawyers he found that the action taken by the police official is not covered in the IT Act.

So, Aseem and Alok decided to take an action and started protesting against the various loopholes and freedom of speech held by IT Act 2011 in the gandhian or Anna way by fasting. The protest was started quite peacefully and they gathered support from a Rajya Sabha MP, Sh. P. Rajeev., and theatre personality Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre (New Delhi) and other associates.

The protest was gaining momentum and on 6th may the duo decided to quit water as well. But later in the evening Delhi Police came on spot and on their persuasion, Aseem and Alok were admitted in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. However, they are adamant to continue the protest.

Recently Mamta Banerjee got Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra behind the bars for making cartoons on her! Most of us were shocked on this lame news, but if the IT Act 2011 gets approved than people like Ambikesh will lose their voice and there can be a monarchy similar to Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime where only a government run channel was allowed to show what PM wants to show.

However, there has been an increasing need for an IT regulation, as Cyber crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, Pornography is highly accessible, Piracy has been adding new channels and the worst part is Terrorism is make a full use of social networking sites leading to high risk for the country. But the current Act is of severe loopholes, which can lead to an adverse effect on the freedom of speech and expression provided by the World Wide Web.

Courtesy:  Madhav Gupta & Youth Ki Awaaz

Cartoonist Shankar, the legend of Indian cartooning

Keshav Shankar Pillai: The man behind ‘Ambedkar-Nehru cartoon’

The NCERT (National Council Of Educational Research And Training) school textbook cartoon of Dr BR Ambedkar  and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru which created a furore in parliament was sketched by renowned cartoonist Keshav Shankar Pillai, popularly known as Shankar.

Shankar sketched the said cartoon in the 1950s while the Constitution of India was being framed.

Shankar (31 July 1902-26 December 1989) was  born in Kayamkulam, Kerala, considered as the father of political cartooning in India, founded the publishing house, Children’s Book Trust, in 1957.

He made number of cartoons for newspapers and magazine, in addition with his magazine, Shankar’s Weekly.

The government of India honoured him with Padma Shri in 1956, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan in 1976. In his honour, the Government of India released two postal stamps 1991.

He is remembered for setting up Children’s Book Trust established in 1957 and Shankar’s International Dolls Museum in 1965.

Shankar’s wife name was Thankam. He had two sons and three daughters. He also published an autobiographical work, ‘Life with my Grandfather’, 1953.

Noteworthy, the said cartoon shows Ambedkar seated on a snail with ‘Constitution’ written on it and Jawaharlal Nehru, whipping the snail with crowd in the background. (courtesy: Dainik Bhaskar)

Dalit Litterateur Devanoor Mahadeva as Guest Editor of Prajavani (Kannada)

Brilliant edition by the Kannada daily Prajavani on Ambedkar Jayanti. A whole issue dedicated to the ideals of Dr Ambedkar with Dalit litterateur Devanoor Mahadeva as guest editor..

Many Indian newspapers now invite a “Guest Editor” to create some buzz.

Usually the guest is a boldfaced name: a cricketer (Yuvraj Singh), a godman (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar),  a businessman (N.R. Narayana Murthy), a news maker (Amartya Sen) or a celebrity.

Take a bow, Praja Vani.

On the birth anniversary of the father of the Indian ConstitutionDrB.R. Ambedkar, the Kannada newspaper from the Bangalore-basedDeccan Herald group has brought out a special issue, guest-edited by the Dalit writer and social activist, Devanur Mahadeva.

Eight broadsheet pages of the 16-page main edition—plus seven out of eight pages in two four-page broadsheet supplements—have pieces commissioned by the guest editor.

In all, there are 37 pieces of text, led by an introduction from the paper’s editor, K.N. Shanth Kumar.

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Each of the pages carrying the pieces has a common panel that reads “Swatantra, Samanathe, Sodarathe” (freedom, equality, fraternity) and each article carrying the piece has an icon of Ambedkar.

Among the articles, a business page report on India’s first Dalit bank; a metro section story on why Bollywood ignores Ambedkar; and an edit page piece on the need for social police.

Robin Jeffrey, whose lament on the lack of diversity in Indian (read English) newsrooms, prompted the experiment would be pleasantly surprised at the spunk of a leading regional-language newspaper.

Image: courtesy Praja Vani & Churumuri