By Soham Chatterjee
They sent out about 10,000 invitations. About 850 responded. Maybe 25 showed up.
Make that 30 if you include the press.
These twentysomethings arrived to “occupy Bangalore,” to protest India’s efforts to shut down “torrent” sites that allow file sharing — and the distribution of pirated movies and music — and to tell the public about India’s attempts to punish people who post “obscene” content on their social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter.
I did something on Thursday that I never thought I would get a chance to do: I walked in the middle of MG Road, one of Bangalore’s busiest thoroughfares, and survived. This gesture normally would be suicidal, but today’s a different kind of day in Bangalore. An eerie quiet descended on parts of India’s call centre and tech outsourcing capital as a nationwide strike to protest petrol price rises shut down businesses and public transportation.
I rolled into town from New York City early Thursday morning, and went for a walk to find out how the “Bharat Bandh,” or “India Closed” (more or less), declared by India’s top opposition party, the BJP, and some other, smaller parties, was affecting the city. The sun was out, the humidity rising; it was a delightful day in the so-called garden city of India, but it looked and felt like a exaggerated Sunday, with men hanging out by their local paanwallahs, grabbing an idle smoke and noshing on fried goodies. Security guards drooped in plastic chairs in front of stores and offices, looking even more bored than usual. There were so few cars and motorcycles on the road that you could hear yourself think, and there was so little exhaust that the air nearly felt healthy. In other words: the strike was on.
The Indian Express published a story, filed from Lucknow, about the son of a local BJP bigwig who died after a security guard at a hospital shot him. The gunfight began after another guard told him and his flunkies to move his car from an illegal parking spot. The situation escalated, the goons beat the first guard, somebody drew his gun and that was that.
The Express told a straight story, but when the Web link (or “URL”) circulated on Twitter, someone made a change that made it look like the Express was expressing an opinion.
When people think about Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving Thursday, the relevant images are usually retail carnage of some kind — barbarians at the gates of big-box retailers, fights over discounted merchandise, scuffles in the parking lots, trampled store employees, and (a new one this year) pepper spray being used to keep other people away from stuff that you want to buy. (What to do with all that leftover pepper spray when there aren’t any protesters around to disperse?)
That’s the mainland. In Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the southern coast of Massachusetts, retail works at a more genteel pace. There is no Walmart; there is no Target.
Oct 11 (Reuters) – The publisher of the Wall Street
Journal’s European edition quit over ethical issues raised by
the newspaper’s relationship with a Dutch consultancy.
The resignation of Andrew Langhoff comes as News Corp , the paper’s parent company, fights accusations of
misbehavior in a UK telephone hacking scandal.