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Wanted: More Wiki India Concepts..

Some time ago I had written about how Wikimapia was a huge benefit in a country like India where we had little or no mapping of relevance. Particularly the kind of digital and satellite maps you can zoom in and out of many parts of the world.

I don’t know about everyone else but many friends and colleagues at work have found the concept and its utility fascinating. Considering you can identify and mark your home or area out on the map, wherever in the world. A friend who lives in north Mumbai’s Yari Road area found that his neighbour’s teenage daughter had already imprinted her name on his building. And just six families live there.

A colleague from work told me how the satellite picture of his village near Ratnagiri on the south western coast of India was taken exactly 1 year and 8 months ago (or some thing as precise). How, by looking at some construction activity which had just begun there.

A Wiki Project on Bribes !

The Economist in its latest issue talks about the Wiki principle in some detail. I also learn from the same article that “the word “wiki” comes from the Hawaiian word for “quick”, but also stands for “what I know is…. Wikis are thus the purest form of participatory creativity and intellectual sharing..” The same issue of The Economist carries an extensive survey on how newspapers’ very existence is at question.

Everyone is aware of collaborative experiences like Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia now believed to be several times larger than the Encyclopaedia Britannica. And expanding every day.

It strikes me that we should look to create more Wiki concepts like Wikimapia. Except that it could be dedicated to India or specific, information-starved areas within India. For instance, a Wiki project on government departments that accept or demand bribes with details of who, when and in what circumstances. Of course its prone to misuse. But so are so many things. Though experience suggest collaborative projects have a tendency to self-correct over time.

Right To Information Magnified !

Or a Wiki concept on the number of times your local MLA has actually done some work..or even your local usually lazy corporator. Or the last time the roads were paved and with what. You can even link with Wikimapia’s satellite images. To create a richer experience. Obviously this is your version of events but like I said before, it will self-correct. Think about it, its like a Right To Information Act concept magnified several times. But I sense it could work. Am sure you can think of more such Wiki concepts !

Comments

Jiten said…
I am curiously waiting for the day when something somewhere started on bribes or corruption in India. This one, other being red tape, is the greatest obstacle that is threatening to derail our march out of poverty.In the wake of RTI bill passage, seeking and publishing information has become relatively easier.Wiki, with its free availability, can prove a wonderful platform for the same purpose.
witnwisdumb said…
An ingenious idea, no doubt, but I have some reservations over how effective it will be... Chaotic mud-slinging frenzies seem inevitable. They happen often enough on Wikipedia, and there's isn't even anything personal at stake there. On a wiki on corrupt officials, there's a lot of room for personal affronts, and lots of reputations on the line... Still, I suppose it's worth a shot.
Gopal said…
Let's go, go, go!
RPM said…
How about eve teasing on BEST buses? Which route, which location, etc.

Or in general, spotting perverts on the road?
I really like the idea of an India wiki-bribe (as differentiated from a "wiki-bride"). Your commenters raise some important considerations regarding mudslinging, but wikipedia largely overcomes attempts to hijack the system by close monitoring of dedicated volunteers. (For an interesting article on the history of wikipedia, check out http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200609/wikipedia).

I have another wiki idea...wiki-pollution. Citizens could share info and data on the types of industrial or agricultural pollution they are exposed to in their communities. Ultimately, the wiki-bribe and wiki-pollution could be linked since many of India's polluters are bribing government officials responsible for monitoring pollution.
Shashi Prakash said…
MapmyIndia v-2007 is just like Google Maps/Yahoo Maps. In fact, even better, MapmyIndia is focused on India. Visit www.mapmyindia.com today.

If you want to see your house on a map (the street actually), visit MapmyIndia (http://www.mapmyindia.com)

This is an Indian company's initiative at creating an internet map site that will come up and do as much as Google and Mapquest has done. We're also adding an Indian twist to the things we do. Check out this concept called 'eLocation' MapmyIndia has introduced.

eLocation allows you to get maps and directions to a peron's place, and the cool thing is that it gives you the directions in the words of that person (take a left after you see a panwallah, go inside that gate...u know, how people explani directions in India).

Search for this sample elocation and you'll see what I mean. The id is: mapmyindia

Looking forward to your comments on the blog or through mail (my email address is: shashi@mapmyindia.com)

Thanks and hope you can enjoy India in much much more detail =)
Shashi Prakash (on behalf of the MapmyIndia team)
Anonymous said…
Bombay a part of Konkan was illegally renamed to Mumbai, by people who had no authority, as not being it's original people, and as being unhistorical and pure mythology. The history of the Mumbadevi temple is interesting and determines the claim of 'Mumbai.'

Under England's mercantilist policy, industries came to be set up in Bombay, and to man those factories, people were imported from the hinterlands. Thus the Marathi people began to pour into Bombay and soon came to dominate its demography, reducing its original people to a minority. A Marathi woman by the name of Mumba who subsequently settled in Bombay built the Mumbadevi temple and gave the temple here own name, this is not surprising since the advait hindus believe that every soul is a god. Later, in order to justify themselves, the marathi people with their brute majority invented a myth that "the temple is about six centuries old: Mumbaraka, a sadistic giant who frequently plundered the place at the time. Terrorized by these unwelcome visits, the locals pleaded with the god Brahma, Creator of all things to protect them. Brahma then "pulled out of his own body", an eight armed goddess who vanquished Mumbaraka. Brought to his knees, Mumbaraka implored the goddess to adopt his name and built a temple in her honour. She still stands there, an orange faced goddess on an altar strewn with marigolds: devotees believe that those who seek her divine favour are never disappointed."

Given the history of the Mumbadevi temple, it is obvious that the claim that 'Mumbai' is the original name of the city of Bombay is merely mythurgic: the malicious invention of the Marathi colonists as an instrument of Cultural Genocide, by destroying the original names and replacing them with Maharashtrianised names!

The renaming rests entirely on the goon power of the Marathi colonists' Brown Shirt party, the terrorist organisation that styles itself the Shiv Sena.

It is interesting that the Marathi people and Bal Keshav Thackeray the big boss of shiv sena who was born in Pune are not fighting to have Pune, the former Poona, be restored to its original Punaka.

As a result of their sustained agitation in the 1950s, the government of India after its independence included Bombay into the newly recreated province of Maharashtra and latter in 1995 also renamed the city as Mumbai, as the Marathi people demanded.

But the Marathi are not satisfied merely with colonizing the former British Konkan, they must also covet the Portuguese Konkan - the so-called "Goa". Indeed it is imperative for them to do so, in order to prevent the reclamation of the British Konkan and the attendant expulsion of the Marathi colonialists there. This imperative to consumate their crime pushes them in their program of Genocide against the Konkani nation. They wish to colonise the entire Konkan and destroy entirely the Konkani nation - commit genocide!

This Genocide takes the shape of renaming of places and landmarks, forcing the non-marathis to learn the marathi language and of denigrating the Konkani people as somehow inferior - a corrupted branch of the Marathi people.

The imposition of Marathi and Maharashtrianized names is intended to sever the intimate and vital connection of the Konkani nation with its homeland, the Konkan, thus make the Konkani rootless. This is Genocide; it is also Imperialism and Colonialism. By these tactics, the Marathi people wish to swallow up and destroy the last vestiges of the Konkani nation and eat up their land, leaving them to be merely a memory.
******************
Rajiv K. Nair
Bombay / India.

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