On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM, CherianTinu Abraham
<tinucher...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The Indian Express : "Would Gandhi have been a Wikipedian?"
> ( Article by Achal Prabhala)
> http://www.indianexpress.com/news/would-gandhi-have-been-a-wikipedian/900506/1
> http://www.indianexpress.com/news/would-gandhi-have-been-a-wikipedian/900506/0
> ( 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”.

This is news to me.  here is the link:

a page I will show to every one!


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