Monday, January 02, 2006

Rage Rage Rage

Sting operations are a crowd pleaser with the hidden cameras satisfying the voyeur in everyone. Of course they have their utility like increasing awareness like the Tehelka tapes or providing entertainment like the Shakti Kapoor stuff. But when it directly affects you things are a different matter.

In the aftermath of the IISc incident, one intrepid reporter decided to try getting into My Esteemed Institute (MEI). She had a hidden camera in her bag and actually managed to get inside the place by giving false names to the security guard. She wandered around the whole institute - the reception, a professors office, a chemical room and even our famed auditorium. She says that her bag was never checked and she was never asked for an I-card. This was gleefully touted on CNBC as a report about how the security at research institutes is lax. She also got into the IIT, Mumbai and wandered around in the some room with a lot of pipes and ducts and was able to access keys to several rooms

How will this incident affect me?

Security at the gates will be tightened. They will check our bags thoroughly. Life overall will be difficult. But that I do not mind.

Did it serve the purpose?

God knows. In my opinion, if someone actually wanted to attack the institute they are a million different ways of doing it –none of which involve the security gate anyways.

Did it benefit the general public?

The first time I came to MEI was when I was doing my Master’s. I did not have a proper laminated I-card then. I just came with the recommendation of my professor. If the guard had not allowed me inside then I would never have able to access the rich library of journals I could not get anywhere else. To use a cliché, coming to MEI then opened my eyes and all I wanted since then was to a part of it.

I doubt that anyone with good reason in spite of having the right documents will be allowed in at all, unless they personally knew someone with a valid MEI I-card. Hell, it will be difficult even for me to go to IIT to use their instruments.

How did it benefit the reporter? A raise definitely and a promotion maybe.

I hope the reporter realises what a loss it is for science in this country if the limited resources that we have are not shared with the general public and especially with the students who come from institutes/colleges that are not as well funded.

I condemn the reporter as mean, petty and selfish and I condemn CNBC for using this cheap ploy to boost TRP's (and therefore advertising revenue).

I hope she rots in the deepest circles of hell.

12 comments:

oook said...

I agree. The problem with explosion of the media in India is that we have a bunch of idiots that don't know what power lies in their hands. Worse are those that realise what power they have and misuse it!

A pox on their yellow selves! grrr!

Voice Within said...

Hey!!! You have given away the secret identity of your esteemed institution!!! At least I think so...or am I the last to have realised that? Whatever...

guess who? said...

For Voice within :D

Supremus said...

Jeez!

This is cheap. And I agree - there are so many ways attacks can be done anyways; all about cheap TRPs nothing else.

Suyog

Voice Within said...

The Indian Media is a bit reckless for my taste too, but I dont have much experience with any other. I guess we are all trying to do our jobs. "How well?" is the question. I hope the reporter had the right intentions.

@Guess Who
Yeah! I knew this was going to happen :-)

Abi said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. When people ask for security, they don't realize its adverse consequences. I hope our institutions (including mine -- IISc -- too) don't clam up, and start shutting out a lot of people who need us, and whom we need.

Amit said...

I remember after 9/11, the security was tightened in Navy Nagar and the last stop of BEST Buses was pushed back close to Dhobi Ghat. Of course, nothing happened and when everyone forgot 9/11, the "security" was removed.

All these security attempts are useless and only common man (like Research Scholars of MEI/TIFR) suffer from it. I wonder how these guards will fight against terrorists? With a lathi and a danda?

I too condemn that "smart" reporter.

Nikhil Joshi said...

Hidden camera is a new way of terrorism. Aks Kareena! Thank god I am not that famous.

But on the other hand, I can't curse the channel crew for their deeds! Afterall it is their job and there is lot of competetion in the room.

What I have a doubt about is "Shall we take everything so seriously?" I mean the terrorists are not the people, who can be identified easily. The uprise in the pressure on the economy through this security upgradation(which is any way useless) covering every market place, every gali-chauraha is what they (unknown) want and we are helping them (without hope)!

samudrika said...

@oook
If only our collective bad vibes could accomplish something....

@voice within
Indian media is just in its infancy. In the future, things will get worse - not better. One only hopes that things dont go totally out of hand.

@guess who?
Thanks. You should not have bothered. Really.

@Supremus/Suyog
That three letter word TRP's yes.

@abhi
Thank you for stopping by. Yes, that is an important section that I missed. The people that *we need*. After the IISc incident many scientists from abroad will think twice before coming here.

@amit
Funny thing that after the *Banglore incident* the BEST bus stop was not pushed back to Dhobi Ghat! The implications of this are - navy considers new york terrorists to be more dangerous than banglore terrorists??? :)

@nikhil
What effect will increased security have on the economy? interesting question. Short term they can be calculated but long term (when a whole generation of students will not be able to experience the wonder of research and will therefore not join it) cannot be measured.

Anonymous this time. said...

The problem, I think is waiting for somebody else(like the media) to tell us when security is good enough. I feel there is a lack of accountability within the system. I guess each institute must have their own standards(of security), and must strictly adhere to them. These standards must also be reviewed periodically, and not only when something like this happens.

This pattern of thinking is recurrent in many facets of Indian policy making. We always treat, the symptoms whereas the disease keeps growing inside, silently. This has to end.

(Samudrika, I've chosen to be anonymous this time, but I'm sure you can find out if you want to)

Nikhil Joshi said...

yah, I agree with you! Though, my point was increasing security does put pressure on the economy through the management of this security and easy moving of the confidenciality! The same way it was affected during world war II. The effect won't be that severe, but similar. And all this for no hope of improvement over the situation, since we can't identify the terrorists that easily.

And moreover, effect of student coming to research, I don't think will be affected too much by this! Particularly, when the effect of terrorism is almost on every field of society! for e.g. quite a few incidences of bomb-blast in the BEST buses has not affected the traffic! The BSE runs the same crowded, even on the 3rd of the blast, sensex was down but not the rush!

Something is good here! we all are discussing these issues seriously. It is important. Thanks for bringing up this blog! Keep touching

samudrika said...

@Anonymous this time
How did you find me out? I figured out who you are! How is the 'forced' vacation going?

@Nikhil
I dont think I am that knowledgeable to comment on the econo-politics of this sitaution.