Monday, March 16, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi's works enter the PUBLIC DOMAIN

On 1st January 2009, the copyright for Mahatma Gandhi's works expired and his works are now in the public domain, all set to enter cyber space. This is very delightful news, but thanks to the sterile and puerile print media posing as India's "national" newspapers, there was no publicity to mark the entry with celebration. Needless publicity is continuously given to a few odd objects the Mahatma used, but never considered them as his "property" - a pair of glasses, the glass case, his slippers and a bowl set! Anyway, the following is a brief list of sites that have already published some of the works and they are absolutely free for all to download, read, use and benefit:

Mahatma Gandhi went through a lot in life and documented them carefully. We can measure and see how far things have changed in India because of his messages. The Mahatma reached out to solve every little problem around him, which is as great as the political liberation he fought for.

To give just one example, the Indian Railways have changed a lot today with freedom and is today the largest and one of the best run organisations. A glimpse into the past will amplify the improvements we enjoy and take for granted today:


I have now been in India for over two years and a half after my return
from South Africa. Over one quarter of that time I have passed on the
Indian trains travelling third class by choice. I have travelled up
north as far as Lahore, down south up to Tranquebar, and from Karachi to
Calcutta. Having resorted to third class travelling, among other
reasons, for the purpose of studying the conditions under which this
class of passengers travel, I have naturally made as critical
observations as I could. I have fairly covered the majority of railway
systems during this period. Now and then I have entered into
correspondence with the management of the different railways about the
defects that have come under my notice. But I think that the time has
come when I should invite the press and the public to join in a crusade
against a grievance which has too long remained unredressed, though much
of it is capable of redress without great difficulty.

... ... ...
... ... ...

The compartment itself was evil looking. Dirt was lying thick upon the
wood work and I do not know that it had ever seen soap or water.

The compartment had an exceptional assortment of passengers. There were
three stalwart Punjabi Mahomedans, two refined Tamilians and two
Mahomedan merchants who joined us later. The merchants related the
bribes they had to give to procure comfort. One of the Punjabis had
already travelled three nights and was weary and fatigued. But he could
not stretch himself. He said he had sat the whole day at the Central
Station watching passengers giving bribe to procure their tickets.
Another said he had himself to pay Rs. 5 before he could get his ticket
and his seat. These three men were bound for Ludhiana and had still more
nights of travel in store for them.

Computerisation of operations at Indian Railways have now made ticket issue corruption free. We may book even online through and browse through to get information about the rails running. Of course, cleanliness has remarkably improved today, but there is room for more tidiness.

Running operations with computer aid could bring in remarkable transparency, speed and efficiency. Mahatma Gandhi is one of the greatest inspirations for all times. One of his visions was as follows:

The government we dream of, I describe as Ramarajya.
Swaraj alone can be such Ramarajya.

How may we establish it?

In former times, the subjects did tapascharya when they
were oppressed. They believed that it was because of their
sins that they got a wicked king and so they tried to purify
themselves. The first step in this was to recognize a monster
as such and avoid him, to non-cooperate with him. Even
non-cooperation requires courage. To cultivate it, one needs
to give up comforts and pleasures.

He asked lawyers to give up practice and avoid working with the government then, whose "activities have done nothing but harm to India." Strangely, six decades after swaraj as the Mahatma dreamed of, a huge number of lawyers in the Madras High Court, have had to return vakalats and briefs to their clients and only few steps away from giving up practice as well. Their skulls were broken by a brutal police. Is this the Ramarajya he dreamed of?

What could be the penance of today?

Read code:
Read any and every piece of legislation that we use in our daily life.

Rewrite code:

Rewrite the code in a programming language, capable of machine execution.

Network with computers:

Every individual, home, organisation and government should be
networked through computers.

Make democracy feasible:

With that network of transparency and publicity, bring in Ramarajya.

As the great Mahatma said, "When we have the Government of our dream, we may enjoy some innocent pleasures."