Monday, May 08, 2006

Immigrant protests

Last week saw some of the biggest protests in US. The protests were against US Government immigration policies. Interestingly, these protest were in support of the illegal immigrants. Isn't this like Indian people pouring to the streets in support of illegal Bangladeshis? That's why I found it amazing.

US Government is planning to bring law, which will help to curb US immigration. The opponents of the law claim that illegal immigrants, about 12 million as per official figure, contribute to the US economy and they do not directly compete with American jobs. America is a nation of immigrnats and thus, these illegal immigrants must be absorbed in US.

This is where the difference lies. India has long history and people have been living at a place for generations. So there is a sense of attachment for their land and outsiders are considered as intruders. Moreover, they do interfere with the local jobs. For example, in Assam, Bangladeshis were ready to work at lower wages on tree plantations, which made the local Asamese unemployed. Similar is the case with north Indians in Mumbai. Even in Europe, which also has history, people are against the illegal immigration from Asia and Africa.

Therefore, people in US protesting for illegal immigrants has nothing odd, because they must have also came to US as immigrants.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Orkut rocks! It is the latest (or at least latest for me) trend on Internet. Everybody is on orkut. It's really nice place to meet people, especially your old forgotten friends. I met one of my friends, who had left the school in fourth standard and I wouldn't have met him had it not been communities on Orkut. It will be useful especially for older people.

But with the arrival of Orkut, there seems to be an intrusion over privacy. I mean, everybody can read my scrap book and watch all of my communities. So, everybody can know about me just by going through the scrapbook or communities. So, after starting using Orkut, I came to know many private things of other people, like--my cousin has girlfriend and one of my friend takes sutta. And now Orkut has launched profile view, where you get the names of the people who have just browsed through your profile. So now you can't just go through some interesting profiles, as the person will come know.

I think it will be wrong to restrict ourself to just Orkut, when it comes to privacy on Internet. If you want to know about any person in the entire universe, you can just google it and you can get all the information about him or her at your fingertips. So you can know, what kind of job a person is doing, what is he earning and all kind of stuff, which can be considered private. And the same can happen to you as well. And it's inevitable. In today's era nobody can refrain from putting up his or her biodata, information on the Internet, in order to attract potential customers and employers. It's really ironic that, at the same time when people are becomming finicky about their real-life privacy, their Online privcy is being compromised.

Thomas Friedman has commented metaphorically on this issue in his best-seller 'The World is Flat'. He says - " As the world has become flatter, there are few hills and vallies left. So there is no place left to hide from the world. All about you can be seen by everyone and you have access to all the information about others. There is little privacy left in the Flat World."

How true is that? Now the question is - how this intrusion on privacy is going to affect the way we interact socially. Are people going to refrain from putting things on the Internet? Will better security measures prevent this? I don't think the latter, because Internet was made for sharing of information and it will defeat the very purpose of Internet. Internet has changed the way we interact with people and will continue to do so in the future. After all, change has been inseparable part of human civilisation.

PS: Orkut was invented by Orkut Büyükkökten, researcher at Google, who has done his Ph.D. from Stanford. More than 70% of Orkut users are Brzilians!