An old Latin proverb quoted by William of Malmesbury in the Twelfth Century which translates in English to mean "The voice of the people is the voice of God."
Perhaps some of the oldest adages of wisdom that were remarked centuries ago, have suddenly and ominously become more relevant and true.
Nearly a fortnight ago, the Economic Capital of India - Mumbai was enveloped in a state of disaster that cost a few hundred thousand dollars and over hundreds of precious Indian lives.
As a matter of emergency response, the Indian leadership screamed to the world that this was a case of one of the most blatant actions of terrorism organizedly conducted with surgical precision to destablilize the foundation of democracy and civilized behaviour.
Quite shamefully and dicreetly parallel to events unfolding, the Indian Government directed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting along with the Ministry of Telecommunications to pull the plug on several blogsites off the internet without much substantial evidence, rhythm or rhyme. Although, the next day's news papers loudly echoed a clear and blatant violation of the freedom of information and press, details were pointed out to alleged support of a number of radical fundamental terror outfits due to which reason a number of blogsites went offline.
It's 24rth of July 2006 and the day's paper carried the expose of a hidesously constructed mission by the Government of India.
The so called fundamental right of speech and expression stood shaken and thereby it seems that the nation stood at the brink of misinformation at a time that called for more unity in action and thought.
This mysteriously unexplained action can at best be construed as an act of desperation. And then the flip-flop continued in all its stupidity glorified amidst the top echlons of the political and press elite.
Just as agitiations and messages conveying grave disappointment and anger poured in, classic ploys of "Hunt the scapegoat" and "Who-is-to-blame?" started full-fledged across the corridoors of politics and media all alike.
At this juncture, when the nation's executive brass remained tightlipped along with a bunch of stupid babus from across Minitries and ISPs alike, we need to consolidate among ourselves and directfully focus our resources in a manner that would ensure that our supposedly wise leadership does not stumble on another faux pass. Therefore as a start, I have managed to obatin some useful information on how best to deal with this situation without much wrangling around.
Everything you wanted to know about the recent ban on popular websites in India - an FAQ:
Q. Which sites are blocked in India ?
Access to all blogs and websites hosted on the following servers is currently blocked in India;
For strange reasons, blogs hosted on Wordpress, Livejournal, MSN Spaces, Rediffblogs, IndiaTimes and Yahoo 360° are spared by the Indian censors and they are still accessible in India.
Q. Why is the Indian Government banning blog sites ?
While there is no official comment, most people are speculating that the ban is connected to the recent Mumbai Train Blasts. Probably the groups behind the bomb blasts used blogs to exchange information and co-ordinate the plan so the Government decided to ban these sites.
Q. Are all blogspot.com sites banned in India ?
Yes, all blogs hosted on blogspot.com are banned. According to some reports, the India Government issued a directive to block only certain blogs on *.blogspot.com but the ISPs decided to block the entire blogspot.com domain.
Q. When will the Blogspot ban be lifted ?
The issue is picking momentum in India and the entire Indian blogosphere is speaking in one voice against the ban. Popular international sites like Rediff Abroad, Mercury News, BoingBoing, MichelleMalkin, Google Blogoscoped, Digg and Techmeme have also picked the story. Again, no official word on when the ban would be lifted but it could happen very soon depending on the media cry.
Q. Did India restrict access to other sites before ?
Yes, earlier a ban was imposed on Yahoogroups.com but it was lifted in a week's time.
Q. I am a Blogger. Can I still blog ?
Yes, the good news is that access is blogger.com has not been blocked. So you can still publish new articles though readers in India may not be able to access them directly. Remember to publish full text feeds.
Q. I am blog subscriber. Can I still read blogspot or typepad blogs ?
Yes, but you can read them only in a web based rss reader which downloads the Blog XML feeds on server located outside India. Or use a proxy server.»
How to Access a Blocked Website or Blog»
What Bloggers Can Do To Bypass Blogspot Ban
Q. As a Blogger, what can I do to prevent such a situation in future ?
Buy your own domain name and switch from Blogger immediately. Don't consider shifting to another free platform like xxx.wordpress.com or indiatimes.com or rediffblogs.com as risk of banning virtually remains the same.
Q. I am in India, how do I read Digital Inspiration ?
Q. Where do I get more information about the ban ?
Head straight to Bloggers Collective - it has reactions and updates from Indian Bloggers located in and outsite India. Some nice conversations happening there.
While I type this message out, I also chance upon a site that reports the much awaited lift of the ban imposed on blogsites by the Indian Government owing to pressure from the blogging community. I must however warn you that this piece of information is a totally unconfirmed report.
"The Department of Telecommunications of the Government of India has lifted the ban on blogs (reported previously on Slashdot) following pressure from the Indian blogger community and the media. Even with the lifting of the ban several bloggers from BloggersCollective are getting ready to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) (similar to a Class Action Lawsuit in US) in the Supreme Court of India against the Government censorship of the Internet."
However, this is an act of gross violation when freedom and goodwill need to be upheld with maximum adherence to collective wisdom.
Are we turning into a nation of slaves being watched upon and denied the right to express our ideas and opinions.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Once again, this is a very dangerous prospect that can elicit some of the worst forms of peaceful opposition in order to quell the oppression against a section of the society which endorses, recognizes, promotes, upholds and respects the right to information and its necessity to be shared in any form or context so long as it does not come under the banner of those elements that pose a threat to National Security and the fundamental essentials of a good living.
Please prevail over these issues and ensure that the Indian people are not any further subject to such shameful acts of cowardice when actually the enemy is who needs to be accounted for and killed at the earliest possible opportunity.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei - as you very well know, your voice and stand remains true so long as it is endorsed by a billion plus population that this country is a home of.
Let us not make a choice of expressing our displeasure in your person