This article reminded me of one of the images on FayssalF's userpage on the
English Wikipedia.

Look at the image on the left and read the caption too.


On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM, CherianTinu Abraham <
> wrote:

> *The Indian Express : "Would Gandhi have been a Wikipedian?"*
> ( Article by Achal Prabhala)
> ( Single Page Version)
> *
> In 1941, a young Argentinian librarian who would soon go completely blind
> published a story about the futility of the “total” library. His
> inspiration was Kurd Lasswitz, a 19th century German philosopher and
> science-fiction pioneer, whose own idea of a “universal” library was a
> mathematical nightmare of frighteningly large but finite proportions. The
> writer was Jorge Luis Borges, and his story, The Library of Babel, (taking
> off from the mythical Tower of Babel, a place of linguistic dysfunction)
> spawned a minor publishing industry of its own. Borges’ library was not a
> happy place: its chronically overworked librarians were suicidal, thuggish
> cults periodically vandalised the books, people spent lifetimes searching
> for a catalogue without success, and — wondrous as it all was — no one
> expected to find anything useful there ever.
> Eighty years after it was written, Borges’ feverish fantasy is a
> cautionary tale for those who are tempted to take Internet-era fantasies at
> their word. When a Google executive was asked to describe the perfect
> search engine, he is reported to have said, “It would be like the mind of
> God.” Preposterous, yes; but also exciting. And anyone excited enough to
> adopt this as a mission statement would do well to have a cold shower, and
> heed Borges’ conclusion on the topic — “The library is unlimited and
> cyclical”.
> Happily, there are more human, and altogether more humble manifestations
> of the desire to learn and share and prosper. In ancient history, the
> pre-biblical city of Babylon was a working counterpoint to the biblical
> Tower of Babel; a bustling site where diverse crowds made good together. In
> the present day, we are no closer to knowing everything, but we have
> Wikipedia: a bustling website where diverse people from everywhere in the
> world create miracles. Wikipedia’s humility is the flip-side to its
> success, and it comes from wanting to be precisely the opposite of the
> total library: call it a perpetually partial library, if you will. No one
> who has spent even a minute contributing anything to it would dare assume
> that the job is done, the perspective complete, or the game won.
> Eleven years ago to this day, Jimmy Wales typed out “Hello world!” and
> Wikipedia was born. In 1989, Richard Stallman pioneered a form of copyright
> licensing for software that allowed programmers and users to do virtually
> anything they liked with it. This formed the basis for free and open source
> software, or FOSS. In 1995, Ward Cunningham used FOSS to build the
> underlying software for a novel form of collaboration — the “wiki”. By this
> time, the benefits of a generous copyright licence to software were
> apparent, and it was extended to mainstream culture — to words, sounds and
> images. Wikipedia was among the early exponents of this free culture
> experiment, quickly followed by sister projects of the Wikimedia
> Foundation: Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks and more.
> Wikipedia’s collaborative system of knowledge has exceeded everyone’s
> wildest expectations. Today, it is the world’s fifth most visited website —
> and the sole non-profit upstart in the oligarchical fiefdom that is our
> online landscape. There are thriving communities of volunteers in countries
> like India and South Africa, among several other places, who are helping us
> discover that learning does not have to be a passive act, and that the
> value of generosity can be productive and revolutionary at once.
> Interestingly enough, it was about a hundred years ago that a young,
> idealistic lawyer set off on a similar journey. Affected by colonialism in
> his home, India, and faced with debilitating segregation laws in his
> adopted home, South Africa, he saw the productive and revolutionary
> potential in generous knowledge. Over a long sea journey from London to
> Cape Town, he wrote down his ideas on self-determination and independence.
> The young lawyer was, of course, Gandhi, and his book, Hind Swaraj, would
> go on to become the intellectual blueprint for the Indian freedom movement.
> The original was written in Gujarati in 1909. One year later, it was
> translated into English and published as Indian Home Rule. On the cover of
> the first edition of this English translation is a prominent, if unusual,
> copyright legend. It reads, “No Rights Reserved”.
> Now it can be told: Gandhi was a free knowledge activist. Consider what he
> was encouraging his readers to do. In short order, a person reading Indian
> Home Rule in 1910 would have been able to copy the book freely, distribute
> those copies widely, translate the book into other languages, and join the
> conversation as a participant and not merely as an observer. I know of
> Gandhi’s radical copyright intentions because I’ve seen an image of the
> cover of this rare first edition, even though it is mostly unavailable in
> museums and archives. Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie and Isabel Hofmeyr, two South
> African scholars, photographed the book and generously shared it with the
> world. And how did they do that? By putting it on Wikimedia Commons, where
> anyone can use it, in any form, for all time — exactly as Gandhi intended.
> Indeed, the universe is cyclical. Gandhi would have been a Wikipedian.
> Prabhala is a Bangalore-based researcher and writer, and serves on the
> advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation *
> Regards
> Tinu Cherian
> Important Note : The publisher ( The Indian Express ) of the above news
> article owns the copyrights of the article / content. Request to kindly not
> reproduce or circulate the content further. The information is only shared
> only with an internal community who have been featured on this article.
> All copyrights are duly acknowledged.
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