[Reader-list] Quit India. 2007

Ravikant 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.   
 August 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." 

 Digital Commonwealth 

 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 
neighbourhood kite-fights. 
 "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 “Yes! Your passion is your potential.” 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.' 

More information about the reader-list mailing list