Saturday, July 07, 2007

Too Free or Not Too Free? -- Rant Two

These rants are in response to people's posts. Some of it may not make sense or be vague for that reason. I hope a lot of it does, despite.

It is precisely in /principle/ that I don't agree with this proposal. If you read my post carefully, not even once do I say that LAN is my right. What I'm saying is that this decision is in the wrong spirit and hampers the culture of freedom on campus.

LAN is not my birthright. It is certainly an institute facility and it is up to the institute to decide whether they can provide me with Internet and LAN. Yet, the institute goes to the trouble of setting up LAN infrastructure in all hostels and acquiring 34 MBPS of bandwidth - to the extent of buying it from Reliance when VSNL could not give them more. So the taxpayers have already paid for it. And will continue to pay for it irrespective of whether first years use it or not.

However, bringing in this point is confusing the whole issue. This is not the point at all. Like I said, I have issues of principle with this proposal.

1. It is setting a very /wrong/ trend. Like I said in my previous post, this proposal is sending the message that students cannot handle freedom until it is regulated. What I'm saying is one cannot learn to handle freedom if one gets used to 'implicit systems' that 'help' one handle freedom. Such implicit systems are not found in real life. Apart from imparting domain knowledge, the institute also aims to prepare leaders in all fields. How does one hope to prepare leaders when students are expected to use an external system to regulate simple things like their personal net usage?

2. It sends out a very wrong signal to the administration. In short we are just saying that we are toddlers and please spoon feed us. We are also saying that we are afraid to take responsibility for ourselves (even in our personal lives) and please handle affairs for us. How long will it take people to take cue and start regulating other aspects of my life? The first thing I was told when I came to campus is that this place treats me like an adult. I found that to be true in many respects. And when they treated me like an adult, I tried to become on. It was not easy. I myself have faltered many times. But I have learnt.

The next argument is going to be that the regulation is coming from the student body so it is the same as self regulation. Just like you sit in your home and regulate yourself, you make a law in the senate and regulate yourself. In each case it is self regulation and a step towards developing maturity.

I would like to point out that that is hardly the case. An institutionalized regulation is not the same as self regulations. One knows how bureaucracies and democracies work. If tomorrow the student body comes to realize that they NEED Internet in first year, how easy do you think it is going to be?

As far as computers spoiling academics are concerned I agree whole heartedly. Although I would not say that they are the sole reason, I would agree to the fact that they contribute negatively to academics. However, one must not make the mistake of assuming that Internet and LAN are somehow unique. They are like any other excuse. There have been other excuses in the past - alcohol, phatta, bulla. Once net is gone, people will find other ways to screw themselves up. What all and to what extent will you regulate things?

To this the answer will be -- at least do as much. The situation, as I see it, is like this. Some people use fire to cook and some people burn themselves. What is being proposed here is -- put off the fire so no one gets burnt. But lo! No one can cook either! Isn't educating a person that fire can burn your hand a better solution?


  1. I agree with what you're saying. But the arguments you use are used for every issue of this sort. There is nothing wrong with using them again and again to convince some people on the newsgroup but it makes for very tedious reading on a blog, especially since none of the arguments is put in a quirky way which makes one see something new.

  2. Yaar, if you read is carefully, it is a rant! I never claim it is a structured post. It has been directly copied from the newsgroup because lots of people are not in campus but they do read my blog.

  3. Yeh to sahi bola.