Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bloggers vs. IIPM: One year on ...


It was a year ago that the IIPM vs. bloggers story broke. In subsequent weeks, it led to a massive wave of protests primarily -- but not exclusively -- in the desi blogosphere. It also led to an analysis (neutral word for debunking!) of IIPM's claims.

But first, do take a few moments to go back and read the original posts by Rashmi Bansal and Gaurav Sabnis, the two principals who bore the brunt of IIPM's threats, lawsuits, and unethical (and probably illegal) actions such as threatening Gaurav's employers of dire consequences if he didn't remove the offending posts from his blog.

The immediate aftermath -- which saw a large number of bloggers taking a hard line against IIPM -- created a lot of negative publicity for the institution. This also forced the hands of several MSM outlets (the Business World and Outlook, in particular) to shine a bright, harsh and uncomfortable spotlight on IIPM. The regulatory authorities such as AICTE breathed down the institution's neck for sometime.

Yet, one year is a long time! IIPM is back in action, with all its original claims in garish ads. The regulators have backed off. MSM outlets have made peace with IIPM's advertising rupees. Heck, one of them -- a crappy 'business' magazine from the India Today stable -- even chose to feature them in their B-school ranking!

IIPM is still around, and is upto its usual tricks. That is the bad news.

What about the good news? I see quite a few different strands of it, actually. The first, of course, is that the original threats to Rashmi and Gaurav have vanished, and they have got on with their lives.

Next, during its battle against IIPM, the desi blogosphere did a thorough analysis of all the publicly available information, and revealed to the whole world how silly and hollow IIPM's claims were. I'm sure all that IIPM-fisking has deterred -- and continues to deter -- more than a few good students who might otherwise have chosen to study there. And desi bloggers can certainly feel happy about this outcome.

The threat from IIPM united -- probably for the first time -- the desi blogosphere, a diverse group with divergent views on almost everything. Also, it led to the emergence of a new set of blogger-leaders -- I have in mind people like Kaps and Patrix, who used their sites (in particular, DesiPundit) to facilitate collective action, instilling in us a sense of community -- a community with a purpose.

Finally, the IIPM fracas also proved to be a good training ground for the united front of bloggers; when the next big threat to bloggers' freedom of speech arrived, we were ready!

4 Comments:

  1. Anirudh said...

    Is there a website which has all the data that had been collected and all the posts that had been made on IIPM? If so, perhaps Desipundit and a number of bloggers can link to it again- all on the same day - so we don't forget all about it. Of course, IIPM can be dismissed as a small thing but it is something a lot of bloggers took up together; perhaps the first thing at least a sizeable- if small - part of the Indian blogosphere collectively condemned.

  2. Gaurav said...

    Plus my blog on an average gets 200 visitors who land up there googling for iipm. A lot of them are students, some even write in, saying reading about the controversy on all the blog helped them to decide not to go to IIPM.

    Thanks for this post, Abi

  3. Abi said...

    Anirudh: DesiPundit's archives during October and November of 2005 should give you a lot of information about all the dirt unearthed by blogger-investigators (who were also called Google journalists!).

    Gaurav: Thank *you* for standing firm!

  4. Anonymous said...

    hi ...i read abt iipm ...its shocking ..its horrible how can sumbody make so many false claims and get away with it.... i m an engineer from nit surathkal....working at nxp philips semiconductors ....and i am thinking abt a mba degree