My Letter of Resignation From Renesa

Respected Sir,

I have been a Senior Editor of Renesa for more than a year now. During this time I have seen it scale greater heights and undergo tremendous change in terms of content and design. Over the past few months, our readership had exploded and people had actually begun to sit up and take notice. Our untiring efforts had finally bore fruits.

However, the decision of the administration to reconstitute and expand the editorial board of Renesa and to review the scope of the content, has come as a rude shock to me. I am unable to see the need of any changes, whatsoever, in the editorial board. Like most other well functioning organizations in the institute, viz Drishti, ACM etc, Renesa too follows a free and fair procedure of selection where the seniors select their juniors based on their actual skills rather than CGPA. The ever increasing quality of the magazine bears testimony to that.

I personally see this as an infringement on our freedom and creativity. As an human being and more so as an engineer, it is of utmost importance that we learn to think for ourselves, question established norms and express our creativity without any fear of repercussions. I am not sure this will be possible once the proposed changes to the editorial board are made and the scope of Renesa is reviewed.Since I do not see eye to eye with the new directive and cannot work under an atmosphere that might stifle creativity and expression, I hereby offer my resignation from the editorial board of Renesa. My best wishes to the new team that takes over. I hope they succeed.

I am honoured to be part of an enthusiastic and dedicated team and I leave behind a part of me in Renesa. I am thankful to the faculty advisors for guiding us and standing by us in times of need.

Please consider this email as my official resignation from Renesa.

Yours sincerely,
Sandip Dev
Senior Editor and Website Head,
Renesa

Obituary: Renesa

Someone byt the name “The Fourth Estate”  sent this in last night to the all students mailing list of SVNIT. Given below is the email and a obituary. Check it out. Hillarious and heartening at the same time

Fourth Estate:

This mail has not been created out of any sort of personal hatred or
animosity towards any person or establishment whatsoever. It has simply been
created to preserve the nature of free speech in the engineering college in
question. The authorities of the said college have tried to suppress free
speech by showing aggressive desires to control it. But the author wishes to
remind the authorities in question as well as his readers that free press
has an indomitable survival instinct. Using a better analogy, it is like a
hydra. Whenever you cut a head off, two new ones will invariably take its
place. This, then, is the new-sprung head of the hydra. Watch this space.

And this pic

Death of Free Speech

Will keep you updated on further developments

The end of the beginning

What happens when a group of motivated students decide to turn around a flagging college magazine by completely revamping the magazine? Well they succeed, they bring in guest writers like Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Richard Stallman, Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Rashmi Bansal. Readers take notice, they wait eagerly for the next issue to come. In a institute where elections are already banned, this magazine starts creating opinion with a view to bridge the gap between the students and the faculty. This means two things, explain the actions taken by the faculty or administration to the students and ensure that the greviences of the students reach the concerned authorities. And sometimes, this means criticizing some incidents , particulary the complete lack of response or timely action when a fire broke out in a hostel. These students reported what they saw – college authorities clueless as to how to put out the fire, where the fire extinguisher is and most importantly the fact that there was no water in the hostel at that time, a rather frequent phenomenon at our hostels. These foolish students thought that this would make the faculty wake up to the incident, learn from their mistake and ensure that fire-preparedness is maintained in future, lest we have charred bodies to unravel next time such a thing occurs. And what fools they were. And to add to their foolishness, they also added another article on the various disciplinary committees that are formed and the fines that are imposed for such crimes as forgetting to switch of the lights or using the word “Sexy” inside hostel premises, fines anywhere between Rs. 50 to 300, whatever comes up in the lottery that minute.

The authorities did not take this kindly. After all, students were not supposed to speak out, not when this could be read by outsiders, and certainly not when this magazine was largely funded by the college. What ensued was a disciplinary committee(Disco) with the unsaid agenda, “Show’em whos the Boss”. The editors were called one by one into the closed room, questions fired from all directions, students were reprimanded for their conduct including (but not limited to) their lack of mastery over the Hindi language. Each student is grilled for 30 to 45 mins and the,predetermined, verdict announced. The offending articles shall be removed, the original magazine too will be removed from the website and a new one put up along with a written apology stating that the facts we presented were wrong and ill conceived. The students grudgingly do it. May be we were really wrong with some of the facts. May be we shouldn’t have pointed out flaws like that. They are after all our teachers. We accepted all their conditions, of course the decision was made easier by the fact that we had no other option after all.

And we hoped, things were back to normal. We don’t critisize them and they let us do our thing. A perfect arrangement. But it seems the establishment had other things brewing. Already curbs were put in place to screen every word going into print, the final draft of all articles had to be passed by a chain of 6 faculty members and after getting signatures by all of them, could we go to print. And we accepted it. But on the 4th of Feb, we received a rude shock, the magazine committee was to reconstructed  (read dissolved) and expanded. A committee was formed for this purpose and its job was, as the official memo says

1. To review the scope / contents of the news letter
2. To invite nominations as editors from the students and carry out
selections
3. To suggest a system of information collection / retreival, screening,
editting, documenting, printing, circulation and feed back
4. To review  / suggest financial support for the news latter.

(Pls notice the  word “news latter” 😉 )

We had no idea this was coming. There is already a team in place that brings out Renesa, the college magazine, every month and are doing a great job of it. So why form a new team right in the middle of the academic year? The whole team had a meeting at night and we decided we were not going to take it lying down and we will all resign before they could dismantle us. Also we would not be part of any new committee that is formed. We would rather love to watch the new committee come and fail, fail miserably. A meeting with faculty advisers, the next day, confirmed our worst fears. Yes, the team would be reconstructed, with more bureaucracy added in the form of a General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Lady Representative, besides a few more members of the faculty as ex-officio members. Apparently, all this new additions were supposed to give the magazine the supposed required legitimacy and official recognition. Keep in mind that the magazine has always been official, there have been two faculty advisers overseeing our work and we receive funding from the college, it is a mouth piece of the students of SVNIT. Also we were invited to send in our resumes for the post of editors in this new team.

Our grounds of discontent are many and obvious. For one, why is the administration bent on putting in place its own selected team? For those who are not aware, our university banned elections 3 years ago and since then the General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Lady Representative have been selected by the administration based on their CGPA alone. And we have seen how well these elected representatives have managed the affairs of the students. Most of these elected representatives had never worked in a single committee or event of the college, you can’t really do that when you have a 9.9999 CGPA to maintain. And once again it has been mostly us, some low CGPA idiots, who have stepped forward at the time of crisis and work behind the scenes, round the clock, to make thing happen while our appointed representatives were running clueless.

We did not want these people to tell us what to write, most of them had never sent in a single article for the magazine. We have our screening process in place to select articles and it has served us well. Also first they would disband us, and then ask us to sit for interviews to form a new team. Damn unacceptable. Our selection process has always been transparent, the seniors selected the juniors based on their writing skills. We were asked to write an article and bring it to the panel which then made the selection. And no, none of our faculty have the time to go through that many articles to select the best, after all wasn’t the selection for General Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Lady Representative over in less than a hour.

Renesa has always stood for freedom of speech, we are the fourth pillar of democracy in this institution. But apparently, democracy here is passe, its a dictatorship baby. And we protest. We have asked our members to think for themselves (after all that’s what freedom is all about) and then decide if they want to be a part of the new Renesa or resign. As of now many have sent in their resignations and I shall send in mine shortly.

We refuse to sit mum when wrong happens. We value our freedom and will protect it all costs. Ironically, the theme of our last issue was Freedom and it featured Richard Matthew Stallman as a guest writer.

Finally, I have nothing against the elected GS,CS or LR. The hold they post they do because of their CGPA and many of them would be happy to vacate it for a more interested candidate. They are at no fault, they are my friends. They are part of the system. But they are awesome people, and helluve smart too.

Our February issue was going to be on love. Here is the cover for that

If you want any of our previous issues, just let me know. Some students have decided to make a peaceful protest on Monday (8th Feb) by wearing black. Lets see what happens. In case you want a unofficial PDF based Febraury issue  of Renesa to come out, drop an sms at +919825730603.  That will be our parting shot.

Until we meet again,
Senior Editor, Tech Chaser and Website Guy, Renesa



The world we pretend doesn’t exist

Here, we can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. And throw it away if we don’t like it. And Americans throw away 50% of their food. A colossal wastage. Understand that people in many parts of the world don’t get to eat, they die starving. Watch this video, it will say more than I or anyone can ever write.

And this is the follow-up to the above video

Well, its been a long time I cried like this. But then again, me shedding tears ain’t gonna help one damn bit…

Updates

Here are a few updates:
1. ACM Quest 2008 is finally on a roll. We are now working franatically
2. New ACM Team for 2008-09 has been formed.
3. Certain things I thought I would quit and/or forget are back again.
4.Certain things I thought I would never forget are on the verge of being forgotten.
5.Am participating in Imagine Cup 2008
6. SVNIT Linux Cluster just might see the light of the day.
7. Am doing CAT coaching at IMS.