Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sampoorna Transformation at PanIIT: The Real Story

First, some background (if you already know about it, go to the end for the latest info).

The Pan-IIT folks created a 'spouses' program built around the theme of 'sampoorna' (complete) woman (the original web-page has disappeared, but I have a back-up copy here). When Ludwig outed this disgrace, there was quite a bit of blogospheric outrage (see, for example, here, here, here). A couple of leading women graduates (Prof. Priti Shankar and Prof. Rama Govindarajan, both from IIT-D) wrote to the organizers protesting against the insult implied in the program. Chandra Ranganathan did a story, in which the conference's chief organizer wondered what all the fuss was about, indicating that he wasn't going to ask for a change in the program.

And he didn't. Initially.

But he did, eventually! A couple of weeks ago, Ludwig told us that the 'spouses' program had transformed into a program 'for the family.' He also hinted at the real reason behind the sampoorna transformation:

This caused a certain very very very important sponsor to apparently gently hint that changes in the programme would be "appreciated", and hey presto. Paisa bolta hai.

Ludwig is right. Here's what Pradnya wrote about it over a month ago:

Additionally, in this case, I was lucky to have a supportive colleague who realized the ridiculousness of the whole thing and who had the tenacity to follow up the matter with the concerned folks. He pointed out that as a sponsor company, we should engage in a dialogue with the organizers, and highlight the wrong attitude of the track in question. After some back and forth between the organizers, and our HR folks (who were very persistent themselves), the outcome was quite positive, as seen in the final changed version.

So, there you have it: it's Pradnya and her colleagues (and folks like them at other firms) that pushed for this progressive change, and got it implemented through their persistent efforts.


  1. Ravi Venkataraman said...

    When you write "When Ludwig outed this disgrace, there was quite a bit of blogospheric outrage (see, for example, here, here, here)" with the "here" as links, would it be more readable to rewrite it as

    "When Ludwig outed this disgrace, there was quite a bit of blogospheric outrage."

    With some words such as "blogospheric", "outrage", etc., (or even each of the words "quite a bit") used as links, I think it might appear more natural. The parenthetical "here"s seem awkward.

    Ravi V.

  2. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    To me, Abi's looks more natural and linking random words looks contrived, but maybe that's because I'm used to reading papers with references. (My problem these days is that when I read a printed paper I want to click on references...)

  3. Anonymous said...

    For a moment I thought the blogging did it, which would be quite surprising. Good to see that there are bloggers who get up and press buttons to get the change they want.

    It would be interesting if Pradnya had said more about how she went about pushing the buttons. Blogs that **report change**, and the problems and solutions encountered during the process, are more useful than blogs that just complain and rage.

  4. madraskaari said...

    yEAH i really would like to know more from Pradnya about the relevant details.

    Could you tell us more?

  5. tris said...

    Abi -- This is rather unlike you. Asking us to take the entire thing at face value.

    Why can't we have more details, can names be named?