True meaning of democracy

Two pieces of writing that struck me today:

Baroda Blues and Amartya Sen’s essay on democracy.

Somewhere in between our daily dose of news-channels and talk shows and elections, we have forgotten what democracy really is. Too often we equate democracy with “rule of the majority”. Far from it. Democracy is the model of society where every voice is heard and every person has the right to speak, irrespective of his/her social standing.

Can we please keep this in mind when we next attack an artist/writer !


The free speech debate

There is a fantastic debate over free speech raging here and here.

The point being debated is: Is the right to free speech absolute or does it need any preconditions.

What do you folks think ?

I will add my own two cents in a separate post should I feel the need.

The horrible world we live in…

India Uncut never fails to shock me…

Read this piece…I do not want to post any thoughts…I am left speechless.

If you’re straight, imagine one more time the dystopia gay Indians live in, where not just sex but love and companionship are elusive. Isn’t that criminal?

Thanks to Amit Varma for bringing this piece to us.
How insensitive can we humans be ?

Opening access to research

Quite an old piece but relevant today:

Rising journal costs restrict access to scientific research. Martyn Bull reports on a campaign to get institutions to set up free internet archivesIf the purpose of scientific publishing is to increase access to knowledge to enable further advances in science and technology, then researchers are not doing much to help. Too often they care more about the impact of publishing in a high-status journal than how many people might be able to read it.
The report advocates radical change in the scientific publishing process to prevent escalating costs and restrictive publisher agreements choking access to scientific research. It recommends that authors disseminate their research for free on the internet by storing articles in institutional archives, as well as backing a switch from “subscriber pays” to “author pays” publishing.

The SHERPA initiative is arguing that scholars put their research work on university/institution archives so the general public can access them free of cost.
My question is: how then, do the research scholars make money ? It is correct that journal costs are way too high. However, I do not think making the papers themselves free will help.

What are your comments ? Is that the way to go ?

Banning cricket !

Villages in Haryana ban cricket:

“We all have taken this decision and those who go against it will have to face social boycott. We’ve enshrined this in the Panchayat records of 28 villages,” said Tewa Singh, head of Dadan Panchayat.

“We will stop playing it (cricket). We will play kabaddi, football, volleyball and wrestle instead,” Pankaj, a resident of the village, said.

How about banning politicians, I say. Surely, politicians do more harm than silly, incompetent cricketers !
“Social boycott”, my foot ! Who would want to have anything to do with such a society, anyway !!!