Saturday, March 24, 2007

Justice finally ?


That is what his friends called him.

He was a lively person who graduated from IIM in 2003. He could have very well-chosen any cosy job or he could have left India for better opportunities. Instead he chose to join a government PSU,Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).After joining IOC, he realised the harsh realities which no institute teaches. Lakhimpur Kirki, the place he worked was in the sea of corruption, the petrol being sold there was adultered and oil mafia ruled there. He raised voice against them. He closed few petrol bunks and definitely the oil mafia didn't like this.

The result..six bullets found way inside the young man's body.

Manjunath Shanmugam,fondly called Machhan was dead.

That was on a fateful November 19,2005.

16 months after this , court had pronounced all the accused guilty in the killing of Manjunath Shanmugam. In India, where judicial system is known to take painfully long durations to deliver and the accused fiddle with the system, this was amazingly speedy trail. Thanks to the media and Manjunath Shanmugam Trust which never let the things settle down.

Manjunath Shanmugam Trust which was formed by few IIM alumnus to seek justise in the Manjunath murder case, made every possible effort to fight for the cause.They hired a lawyer, attended the court sessions and most importantly mobilised all the resources to fight the case. Newspapers constantly kept the case in limelight, IIM students & many supporting persons attended the sessions.

Now after 16 months the court gave the judgement and it is a small victory for the trust , media and all those seeking for justice in Manju's murder case.

But is this any justice for a soul like Manju's ? Does it in anyways fill the void left for his grieving parents & family ?

What about the adulteration of oil against which Manju laid his life fighting ? Is something better there?

Definitely not..

But at least it is a little satisfaction that some justice is done. A little satisfaction that this case also was not termed as 'robbery murder' as it happened for Satyendra Dubey's murder case.Most importantly it is a little comfort that people no longer are resigning with the fate and at least few of them are coming forward to fight the system.

Manjunath Shanmugam trust has established an 'Integrity award' in Manju's name to be given to people or group working to uphold the values in Indian corporate,government and public matters. Also a Right to Information helpline was opened which provides the help regarding the use of Right to Information(RTI) act .The act enables the people to question the government, inspect their files, take copies of govt. documents, inspect government works, take sample of material from government works.

Similarly the S. K. Dubey Foundation formed after Satyendra Dubey's murder is mobilising against the fight for such cases.

Atleast fight for Manju's case was backed up by his alumni, media & some noted personalities. But how many cases has the luxury of such backing-up?Government has been talking of 'Whistle-blower' policy which provision to protect the whistle blowers.But there are no signs of it seeing light.

But the question which haunts is still how many more lives like Manju & Satyendra needs to be sacrificed?

Will the sacrifice of this martyrs go wasted?

PS: As you read this, court will decide on the exact punishments to be given for the accused in Manju's case.High chances that the sentence will be questioned in higher courts.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Reinventing the phone..

I'm not a die-hard gizmo man and I do think many times before I buy any consumer electronic goods.

As I have experienced,once in a while comes few things which can shake this whole mentality.It happened last time when that mind-boggling sleek portable music player came into market and how excited we were to get one of those. Apple got rewarded richly for being innovative and that product was called 'iPod'.

Apple every year conducts events such as Macworld Expo and Apple Expo. The highlight of this event will be the 'Stevenote'.It is the slang term for Keynote addresses by Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. Steve is known for his vibrant speaking style and manner of exciting a crowd, particularly during his speeches at Macworld conferences. He usually wears a black long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. Most new Apple product releases are first shown to the public in this keynote addresses by Steve Jobs.

Before every 'Stevenote', there will be tremendous buzz about what Apple is coming up or which product Steve is going to reveal. iPod was one such product which was revealed in one such Stevenote. So this year it was time for 'Stevenote' and rumors were high about a revolutionary new product Apple is going to launch and Steve didn't disappoint.

Apple introduced 'iPhone'.

I must confess I was totally blown away by its looks. The iPhone looks gorgeous.But when I heard its technical features, there was no way to escape from its charisma.

What folks in Apple did was they combined three different devices - a revolutionary mobile phone, a wide screen iPod with touch controls and a internet communication device with desktop-class e-mail,web browsing & maps. They bundled all these three devices into one small and ligthweight device.

But the best part about iPhone is that there are no physical keys on the phone ! That means the entire mobile phone is a screen. So how do you dial the numbers ? Use the touch screen keyboard and if number is stored then by pointing the finger at a name on the list.

One more striking feature is the 'Visual Voicemail'. If you have voice mail enabled in your phone, then you know the pain of going through of every voicemails in a sequential order.The iPhone eliminates all this and you can pick the voice mail you want from the list!

Now to viewing photos in the phone.You can zoom in & out the photos using fingers.Set any picture as wallpaper and sent it by email all by touch.

Using the built-in Safari browser, you can browse the internet and use mails.With built-in Google maps you can view maps and satellite images or get directions and traffic information

Some high technology talks now. iPhone supports GSM,EDGE,Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.It has acceralometer which detects when you rotate from portrait to landscape.The proximity sensor detects when you lift the phone near to you ears and turn off the display and ambient light sensor automatically adjust the light settings.

And finally you can do the same things you can do with iPod.Play audio songs and videos.

Apple has announced the price of 4-GB iPhone to be $499 and 5-GB iPhone to be $599.But the iPhones will be available only in April,2007 in US and in Asia it will be only in 2008.

Apple had maintained so much secrecy about this product that even for 2 years when this project was going on, nobody was clear about what Apple is into. Even its partners in this project, Cingular,Yahoo and Google were not aware of. Only few in Apple knew it and it was the tightly guarded secret.

So will iPhone is going to take the mobile market by storm. Very early days and difficult to predict.But the way, Wall mart responded on announcement of iPhone was warming.The Apple stocks rose within minutes. On other end, Apple's iPhone was welcomed by a law suite from Cisco which apparently has the 'iPhone' trademark registered.

Few are questioning the pricing kept for iPhone saying $499 is too much compared to any other mobile available in market, even if iPhone offers too many things.But I feel the price will not be a factor as we had seen with iPod. When iPod was introduced with $199 and above price, everybody said why would people buy a music player which is 3-4 times costlier than any available players.Then we know how iPod had stunned everyone.I feel samething is going to happen with iPhone.

A long way to go, lets sit back and wait for iPhone to arrive

Oh ! by the way, congrats on the new name - 'Apple Inc' .
(Earlier it was 'Apple Computer Inc ' and they removed 'Computer' from their name)

Over to Steve and Apple...