Zooming in on India's map

At least there is some initiative for India. Me thinks Map My India, the desi version of Mapquest has still long way to go but it's good. I tried searching for my locality at my native place Bhopal (only a limited number of cities are covered as of now) and though it just managed to point at a broad outline, no street level data was given as with Google's Keyhole, but then Keyhole would not ever concentrate in India, will it?

I can understand the limitations, you cannot expect the sarkari mapmakers to get into such nasty details, may be when the business prospects are understood and the moolah beckons the municipal corporations will wake up. As far as the business use of such products is concerned, unlike CNN news channels in India hardly ever use such micro-views with news capsules, we are still accustomed to looking at DD styled political maps of India and the ones send by our good old Insat. [Link through Animesh.]

Drawing the line

A Mumbai based lecturer I hear has moved the courts with his public interest litigation (PIL) demanding that it must be made binding on all Cable wallahs to show only that stuff on TV that are passed by the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC). He is perturbed by the unwarranted ill effect that such programmes cause on the children. Contrary to what you may presume I support this.

It has now been established that visual medium has long-term effects on child psychology. I am not going to pen an essay on the merits and demerits of the idiot-box here but I know that violence and nudity on this household medium has been increasing everyday and there is absolutely no control on how much of it percolates to children. No child-lock can guarantee that. You cannot police your child round the clock. Talking of the impact, I remember that while watching some Hindi movie my parents used to recall, “you were just a kid when we went to see this movie in a Cinema”, I would hardly remember it, but many times it happened having seen a scene depicting violence, the hero being dragged by a rope by the villain riding a horse and the like. My mother says that they could not watch Sholay in entirety and had to leave the hall midway, as whenever Gabbar would come on screen I would start crying. If you don't believe how seriously I take this, I must mention that I removed my cable connection soon after Tanmay was born. My wife and I decided that in order to curtail the impact we must first teach ourselves to be away from satellite TV. I only watch DD at my home and I am able to see its impact already which my mid mocking the “Apang, opang, japang? commercial of Horlicks and glued to the set without bashing his eyelid whenever the “school chale hum” promo is being played.

Coming back to the subject, it is true that while movies in India have to get a CBFC certification the same yardstick does not apply for TV (or for that matter also for Internet). By the night Cable wallahs open doors for unheard TV channels or play their own TB-6 shows under the very nose of Government. Some channels do show program ratings before showing them but I have seen mature programs (take “Sex and the City” for instance) being telecast at Primetime. With the onslaught of Internet never kids are exposed to porn like never before. Can you be sure that while your kid is surfing the net, the guy next-cubicle will not be surfing any porno site? Can you sure about your own kid? Now, I would not debate on “censorship” here but Why not allow cafe-owners to erect closed cubicles market “A” meant for adults (lest that goes on to become some other kinda trade)?

I know these issues are touchy. We are in a free-market economy; we want to be hip like the west. But then, the lines need to be drawn somewhere.

An Update: While the Mumbai High court has passed the decree on the channels based on this PIL, the CBFC chairman Anupam kher, who is an accomplished actor himself, said that he was the first to point the matter of nudity on TV, but confessed that CBFC has no manpower to tackle this considering the magnitude of such programmes churned out by the hour. It is up to the Channels, he maintains, to realize the perils and censor themselves.

Mix Masala

  • Though I have never been able to decipher an iota of the concepts of business blogging (and most of the posts at her blog), I wonder how people like her are still making money selling the same old image of India in the name of ethnography, as a country of snake-charmers and cows walking on streets. Wish Munnabhai MBBS asks Circuit for another body for doing his practicals 😉
  • Got yesterday a Gmail account (debashish ([aaat)] gmail {antidote} kaum), courtesy: Blogger.com. Though 1 GB storage sounds great I see the real problem in using the account. I remember that when I created my Rediffmail account (yes its is snail slow now but once it used to be lightening fast, literally) to get rid of the spam at my Yahoo one (and the spam filters weren't there yet) most of my friends did not update their address books and so most of my mails still arrive at yahoo and rest at Rediffmail. All in all, I cannot do without checking both the accounts at least once a week. But Gmail is prompting me to repeat the exercise!
  • Shantanu has (burp!) made a choice for his election symbol. You can't find a better one with so many virtues.
  • Lot many Indian bloggers (prominent personalities too) are flocking at mBlog prompted by Sanjay. Lot from the Microsoft camp. BTW if you are facing any problem with your current blog hosting here are some reasons why you would like to consider mBlog.
  • Blatantly raw and scaringly focussed with that inevitable touch of sophistication. This man would sure need a lot of polishing if he is to survive in the murky waters of Indian politics.