June 20, 2006

It isn’t that obvious to me, Dr Shenoy

Regarding GVK's idea of getting Mysoreans involved in civic problems through the medium of internet, I have to state the obvious that it is a non starter. First, there is a problem of few having the internet connection. And of those who have it, 90% are likely to be too "busy" to worry about the civic problems.

This is what Dr Bhamy Shenoy wrote in response to my post – Blog that empowers people. His premise may be right – not many in Mysore have the Internet access; and most of those who do, do not use it for much else other than to check/send e-mail. Assuming that we have around 10,000 Internet-connected residents in Mysore; and that 90 percent of them use it only for personal communication, we are looking at 1,000 odd Internet users who can potentially be engaged in interaction on issues of public concern.

MyMysore.com would be a thriving interactive forum, even if half their number can be initiated into ways of posting messages on the web and reacting to other people’s posts. Blogging is another way in which one can share one’s experience and put forward one’s point of view. At mymysore.com we have initiated into blogging a few public-spirited Mysoreans. It was a few months back that I phoned Capt. Anup Murthy, after reading his spirited letter-to-editor in Star of Mysore. He said he didn’t know much about blogging, but was willing to give it a shot.

I got in touch with Mr Vijendra Rao on reading about his website in a newspaper. He didn’t require my pep-talk on blogging. Mr Rao is a multi-blog person. More recently, we heard from Ms Vidya Nagaraj who stumbled on our site while on a web search for masale-puri recipe. We may not have helped her with the recipe, but our interactive enthusiasm for her quest touched her. She readily agreed to blog for us from her remote Japan town. Dr. Javeed Nayeem was another person I persuaded to blog for us after reading his column at Star of Mysore (what would I do without it?). The blogs that evoke comments are the ones that put across a point of view that is interesting, often informative, occasionally, controversial; and always authentic.

What has all this got to do with Dr.Shenoy’s question about involving people in civic problems through the Internet? Maybe the bloggers do not always write about civic issues (would be a bore, if they do), but they blog about their own things that interest readers; and many of them may be persuaded to interact on issues raised in the website discussion forum.


Anonymous said...

Out of 1000, even if 10% participate it will be a good beginning. With a strong willed 100, we can start a mini revolution in Mysore. can we find that many? Hope I will proven wrong. One day it will happen. But when? I am always optimistic. That is why I convinced MGP to publsih "Save Mysore" book to motivate those strong willed 100 soon.

Bhamy V Shenoy

Anonymous said...

Dear GVK,

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy's skepticism on the outcome of involving people in civic matters looks unusual in his case. I am in touch with him, as he is in Mysore nowadays.

Anonymous said...

I feel guilty that I occassionally put in my quarter cent on issues that I have no control over as I live ten thousand miles away from the city I was born in and love. Nothing is constant but change. Internet is a powerful gift that has changed the world especially India and of course Mysore. Read the current issue of the Time magazine on India and think about the opportunities that it (internet)created. It put India on the world map with such enormous force that I had to pinch myself. Mysore is not far behind. Why? Because we have people like Dr. Shenoy, Dr. Nayeem, GVK, Moorthy and many more who will not take no for an answer and embrace change so beautifully. Everything I think starts with one. One or ten or hundred is better than zero. Don't give up GVK. Keep plugging. Soon thousands will hear.

B.R.Ramaprasad, Millington, USA

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Mr. GVK, you have provided a forum for active discussion and even if a small minority starts doing something useful, it should be OK to begin with. From small acrons do mighty oaks grow (sorry if this is not the exact rendition).

As for Dr. Shenoy, his frustration is not misplaced I think, and he has not given up using the internet and the mymysore forum to come up with ideas and arguments. Looking at his latest interaction on the Makkaji Chowk topic, he is not only discussing the issue, he is actively doing something about it. It seems he and Vijendra are going to the Bahadur Institute of Management with an idea that is worth pursuing. What the rest of us should do, is try and build a wider base of users of mymysore.com and provide active support for "doers" such as Dr. Shenoy. This may happen slower than we anticipate but it will surely happen, internet activism, I mean.

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

spelling mistake in my previous comment, from small acorns (not acrons) do mighty oaks grow.

Vijendra Rao, the critical outsider said...

I don't know if things will happen the way we want in our life time at all, but I think the dream is still worth pursuing. In fact, I have started blogging on sulekha.com, the largest portal for the Indian community. I have sought the community's help in contributing to our ideas. That, I hope, will get Mysore some more attention. When our community men like Mr.GVK and Dr. Shenoy are doing so much to engage the community in purposeful interaction, it is but natural for them to give vent to their strong emotions when they don't get the desired response and participation. Let us keep pepping one another so nobody throws in the towel. I call upon the community not to take harsh sentiments expressed by any of us personally. We are a small team, let it not disintegrate. When thinknig persons are involved in a group, differences are bound to be there; let it not turn into personality clashes. Meanwhile, my own portal is gearing up for a launch. Well, I want to clarify at the outset that it is not a splinter community; whatever I do will be to supplement and complement the efforts of mymysore.com. I am making it a b-to-b portal, but commercial interest won't override community interest.
It is my conviction that our efforts are best conveyed to a wider section of Mysoreans through the print medium, as right now internet penetration is poor. Since it does not seem to happen for various constraints, let us make the blogging community grow and committed.

n.d.bhagavan said...

Dear GVK,

I am, like many, believe that focussing on any worthwhile causes/ issues enthuse most of us in whatever can be done in the public interest, but can take small steps,and fully support those that take lead to do so.Allow me to follow you and you can count on me to add to your number of supporters.good luck.

Anonymous said...

We are right now perched at a peculiar intersection which is common to any new innovation. Most people know that it exists but they do not know whether they too can put it to good use. The internet in Mysore and many other mid-size cities let alone smaller towns is like that especially in our country. So we not only have to give it some more time to catch up with people or for people to catch up with it. Since print media is still the king of communication and interaction, inserting small sponsored ads frequently in local newspapers, like I once did about our blogsite, will create an awareness about its existence and usefulness and will get more people to participate in meaningful discussion and action. Dr.Javeed, "the occasional speaker"

Prashanth, Mysore said...

Mysore youths are surely connected to each other thru the net. They only need to be directed to such blogs / communities which talk about Mysore issues. It should not take much time to do it if properly initiated.

forgive my English.