Archive for the ‘Citizen Journalism’ Category

Flipkart sure is great way to purchase stuff on line. I recently ordered an induction cooker via Flipkart.I ordered it on 19/12/2011 around 12.30 PM and got it delivered to my residence the next day afternoon. Great delivery time folks.

But I have a problem with Flipkart. They have a product and I have the money,I am willing to pay the money and purchase what they are offering on line.When I go shopping to a shop in town and say I like a fridge, I purchase it and I don’t need to give my name or any personal information even to obtain a bill or warranty card. The fact that I have the money and they have the fridge I like and our willingness to transact cash for the good is sufficient for the transaction to occur.

The presence of the bill and the warranty card is proof that I have purchased the product and I get the service in the warranty period for any goods that I have purchased.

In case of an online purchase,the only thing that the vendor needs to know is your email address and mode of payment and the address to deliver the product, nothing more nothing less. You don’t need to even
register on a website to do the transaction. Flipkart created an online account in my name (xxxxxx being the username part of the email address I used to register with Flipkart) without obtaining my permission.

A few emails were exchanged and Flipkart had to close down the account that they created on my behalf without consulting me.

Note: I have modified name of my email address,model brand and name and other transaction ids so that my privacy and right to anonymity online is not breached and also the names of the customer service representatives of FlipKart who corresponded with me.
Privacy is a two way street right ?

Dear Customer,

Greetings from Flipkart!

Order ID : X7W2A12345
Item : Bajaj CHEF PRO Digital Induction Cook Top (Golden) (ZU7EDEEDEDDD)

Thank you for writing in.

As per your request we have deleted your e-mail id from our data base.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.

Have a pleasant day!

Customer By Email (.) – 21/12/2011 02.40 PM
Hi Flipkart,

The consignment has been delivered. Please delete my account and confirm
the deletion once it is done.


Response Via Email(Edward) – 20/12/2011 02.26 PM
Dear Customer,

Greetings from Flipkart!

Order ID : X7W2A12345
Tracking ID: ABCDEFGH123
Item : Bajaj CHEF PRO Digital Induction Cook Top (Golden) (ZU7EDEEDEDDD)

On checking our records, we see that this order has been shipped already through Flipkart Logistics. You should have received a shipping confirmation e-mail from us which includes the tracking number for this consignment.

On checking the courier web site, we see that the order is out for delivery and it’s likely to reach you end of today, if not within the next 24 hours. If for some reason this remains undelivered, please let us know so that we will take appropriate action to ensure the delivery.We request you to revert to us once the consignment had been delivered to you, so that we will go ahead and delete your account.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation in this regard.

Customer By Email (.) – 20/12/2011 02.10 PM
Hi Flipkart,

I have made orders with flipkart earlier without having to register my
email address on your site. You may use my email address only for
processing the current order (Order ID : X7W2A12345) and nothing

If it is mandatory to register on your site, then please cancel the order.
I do not want to register on your site or receive any further promotional
spam mail from your end.


Response Via Email(Charles) – 20/12/2011 10.04 AM
Dear Customer,

Greetings from Flipkart!

Order ID : X7W2A12345
Item: Bajaj CHEF PRO Digital Induction Cook Top (Golden) (ZU7EDEEDEDDD)

Thank you for writing in. We tried calling you but failed. Please be informed that
if we delete the account then the order will be cancelled. Kindly revert with an
alternative e-mail id so that we can have it changed for further communications to
process the above order.

We appreciate your anticipated patience and cooperation regarding the same.

Customer By Email (.) – 19/12/2011 10.40 PM

Have you deleted my account as I had told you to do.
This account was created automatically on Flipkart and without my permission.

If you do not delete my account from your system and confirm the deletion
within tomorrow, consider the order canceled.


Response Via Email(Martin) – 19/12/2011 05.56 PM
Dear xxxxxx,

Greetings from Flipkart!

We tried calling you to verify the order mentioned below, which you have placed
using Cash on Delivery payment method.

Order ID : X7W2A12345

Considering your mail as a confirmation, we will confirm your order for the same.
You will receive a shipping confirmation e-mail with the tracking details once the
order is shipped.

Customer By Email (.) – 19/12/2011 02.25 PM


xxxxxxxx is indeed my number. I have called your customer service department and confirmed the order.

My postal address is xxx-x, yy-apartments, xyz-locality,xxx-city,pin-code.

I do not need an account at Please delete my account
‘XXXXXX’ created by you without asking me first at and
linked to this email account.

Please revert back to me via email once this is done.

> Greetings from!
> This is regarding your Cash on Delivery Order X7W2A12345 for the
> following item(s):
> Bajaj CHEF PRO Digital Induction Cook Top (Golden) (ZU7EDEEDEDDD) [Qty: 1]
> We have been trying to get in touch with you xxxxxxxxxx regarding your
> order, but have been unable to. Please get in touch with us at the
> earliest, either by replying to this email or by contacting our Customer
> Support Team on 1800 102 3547 for us to proceed with your order.
> We look forward to hearing from you.
> Regards,
> The Flipkart Customer Support Team

I support the Electronic Frontier Foundation in their stand against Internet Censorship.

Ashok Chavan, the chief minister of Maharashtra was forced to tender his resignation by his party (which is on a desperate mission to show off that they are corruption free) to Governor K Sankaranarayanan, pending an inquiry into the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam in Mumbai.

The whole Adarsh Housing Society incident shows how the real estate mafia is said to have systematically manipulated real estate prices over the recent times in Mumbai, and how much anyone might stoop, including ex Indian Navy officials with political nexus, to obtain posh living spaces in Mumbai, the most populous city in India, and the second most populous city in the world, where exorbitant real estate prices and house rents are making it almost impossible for even the educated middle class to live in Mumbai with any amount of dignity. Most of the middle class who have migrated recently to Mumbai are said to be leaving Mumbai to cities with lower cost of living, because the skyrocketing rents and brokerages are eating into a substantial part of their earnings.

This satirical political cartoon depicts the Adarsh scandal ridden and now deposed chief minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan trying to sell a sea facing flat to Barack Obama who was in India a few days back as part the strategy to create jobs for Americans.

Ashok Chavan cozying up to Barack Obama.

“There is nothing new in this world, except the history you do not know”

Former President, The United States of America.

The Wikimedia Mumbai meet up 2010 happened at the Sophia College,Breach Candy,Mumbai.on Sunday (31/10/2010) and this is a first person narrative as a citizen journalist of the event.

I was exited to hear about the Wikipedia Mumbai Meet up at the Sophia College when I initially read a post about the event in the ILUG Bombay list a few days back.

I was even more exited when I heard that Jimmy Donal “Jimbo” Wales himself would be attending the event and would give a talk after brief interaction with the community.

I wanted to always contribute to the Wikipedia in one way or the other, but life always used to over take me. This time though, I decided that I would attend this event well in advance, and planned accordingly, and decided to use this event as a starting point to contribute to the Wikipedia community, a contribution that was long overdue from my side, as I have always consumed from Wikipedia and never given back.

I attended my church in the morning and reached home at Lower Parel around 2.00 PM and decided to take a nap. I was woken up at around 5.30 PM by my wife for evening tea. A look at the watch and I was a bit disappointed, I felt I would be very late for the meet up which was scheduled to start at 6.00 PM with a community interaction section followed by Jimmy’s talk.

I dressed up rather quickly and got a taxi from Lower Parel and reached the Venue at around 6.15 PM expecting to be late for the community meet up session.

On reaching the venue, I was greeted by Ashwin Baindur who requested me to enter my name and contact details so that the organizers could keep in touch me in the future.

On entering the Sophia Babha hall, I saw a fairly large crowd of around 250-300 people which is fairly large for a Wikipedia meet up. Many had simply come to hear Jimmy Wales who was supposed to give a talk titled “Meet the Movement”.

I slowly moved to the front rows, expecting to catch at least one if not some familiar faces. I met Alpesh Gajbe and a few faces from my HBCE,TIFR days, and exchanged a few pleasantries and decide to settle down some where in the third row, so that I could take some photos of Jimmy and the Crowd.

Jimmy started the talk a bit later than schedule, i.e, around 7.00 PM or so, and introduced the Wikipedia and the it’s model to the audience.

Jmmy divided his talk into 2 sections, the first part focused on on what Wikipedia was all about, and the second part would be based on how he envisioned Wikipedia for India.

He stated that the Wikipedia was based on ‘The Dream of Free Knowledge for all’ .

He asked the audience to imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge, and he stated that is exactly what the Wikipedia community is doing.

According to Jimmy Wales , some interesting facts about the Wikipedia is as follows,

1) The Wikipedia is the Largest, Free Online Encyclopedia entirely created by the Wikipedia community volunteers.

2) The Wikipedia currently boasts of 16 million articles.

3) The Wikipedia is now now available in 270 different languages.

4) The Wikipedia has 402 Million Unique Visitors.

5) 87% of Wikipedia contributors are male with the average age of 26.

Jimmy also stated that all information on the Wikipedia should be taken with a pinch of salt, when it come to the authenticity of the articles. According to him, the whole Wikipedia can be considered as a community of intelligent, amateur encyclopaedists who contribute as a passion out of their free time.

Jimmy then moved into the second part of this talk, which was about the role of the Wikimedia Foundation Office which was to be setup in India (the city where the office will be based is yet undecided) in catalyzing the growth of the Wikipedia community in India.

He began the second part of this talk by stating that there were 402,000,000 people who read Wikipedia every month in 250 different languages word wide.

He stated that Wikipedia is close to achieving his vision in the Global North, and that Global South which also includes India would the next great challenge.

According to him, in the global north, the Wikipedia Penetration was more than 30 % with Canada, Germany, UK and France belonging to the top bracket.

The second bracket with around 16-30% includes Australia, United States, Russia and some South East Asian Countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The third bracket includes the countries with up to a maximum penetration of 15% includes Brazil, India, China, the Middle East and the whole of Africa.

He then presented the Wikipedia statistics as he sees it in India, which is as follows,

1) India has 81 Million Internet Users.

2) India has a 4.7% share of Global Internet Users.

3) India has 191 Million Page Views.

4) India’s has a 1.5 % Page views in a day.

5) Indians perform around 91,000 edits in a month on Wikipedia.

6) India’s Share of Wikipedia page edits in July 2010 was 1.3% of the total edits on the Wikipedia.

The language wise breakup of Wikipedia articles contributed in Indian Languages is as follows,

Hindi – 57,823 Articles
Telegu – 45,963 Articles
Marathi – 31,400 Articles.
Tamil – 25,623 Articles.
Gujarati – 17,142 Articles.
Malayalam – 14,830 Articles.

Jimmy also noted that in the percentage of edits coming from India, the percentage of edits on the English Wikipedia was reducing and the number of contributions to the local Indian Languages was increasing, which according to him was a healthy sign, which indicated that more localized content is being created by Indian users on the Wikipedia these days.

Some of the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation in India which aims to build stong and healthy India-based projects is as follows ,

1) Top 10 Indian languages have mature Wikipedia (more than 10,000 substantial articles ) and Wiktionary available enabling potential reach to 80% of Indian population.

2) 100 Million unique visitors monthly to Wikimedia projects.

3) 75% of schools in India have access to a Wikipedia and Wiktionary either via the Internet or offline.

4) Top ten projects sustain positive monthly growth in active editors

Jimmy also put forward the Seven(Plus one) Wikimedia Foundation ideas which are as follows.

1) Contributor outreach and training: Create resources and campaigns to increase the knowledge about how Wikimedia works and help attract and retain editors

2) University clubs: Support students and faculty to create contributor clubs on university campuses across the country

3) Schools: Work with the education system to integrate Wikipedia as a reference resource for schools; offline Wikipedias where needed

4) Knowledge sharing: Support regular meetups across the country and periodic Wikimedia India conferences.

5) Technology support: Work with the community and developers on solutions to technical barriers faced by projects

6) Mobile products: Work with the community and the Indian mobile sector to create compelling mobile products for Wikimedia projects.

7) National article writing contests: Support volunteers to run regular contests to write quality articles for any language project.

+1 Fund and/or provide logistical support for community initiatives that are aligned with the mission and India goals

According to Jimmy the WMF’s (WikiMedia Foundation’s) Principles for working with the community in India will be as follows.

1) WMF’s goal is to help grow the Wikimedia community and projects in India; all our actions should align with this goal.

2) WMF is here to support the community: Wherever possible, the community should lead and the WMF team should support.

3) WMF seeks to facilitate growth across the country and a range of languages, not any single area.

5) WMF’s direct investment in staff and an office in India is temporary in nature; as the community and chapter build capacity, WMF will adjust our capacity.

6) WMF will be open and transparent with the community; we’ll communicate openly about our investments, progress and results.

7) Regardless of the location of the WMF office, the activities of the team will serve national goals and our team will not differentially support one locale over others.

8 ) All actions of the WMF will be evaluated for their impact on our goal. Successful initiatives will be expanded. Failed initiatives will be terminated.

He concluded his speech by quoting Daniel Pin from the article “The Book Stops here” which appeared in the Wired Magazine dated 13/03/2005 which is as follows,

“Wikipedia represents a belief in the supremacy of reason and the goodness of others.”

Once his speech was over, there was a question answer session, during which Jimmy Wales, Bishaka Dutta, Arun Ram and Hari Prasad Nadig answered questions raised by the audience.

Once the question answer session was over, Jimmy was very keen to interact with us, the actual contributors to the Wikipedia, but the main stream corporate media which latter provided a very shoddy coverage of the whole event, almost locked Jimmy Wales in a room and interviewed him.

Bishaka Datta and the other organizers had a hard time getting Jimmy out in time, so that he could have a dinner with the Wikipedia community and over which he could obtain feed backs from our side on the actual ground realities faced by the Wikipedia India Community.

We decided to go to Hotel Khyber at Kala Ghoda, where a few members of the Wikipedia India community shared our concerns with Jimmy, and he in turn was very keen to listen to us and offer us suggestions on how we could contribute better.

Ashwin, Kundan, Karthik Mistry, Bishaka, Hari Prasad Nadig, Arun Ram, Pradeep and myself had a nice evening with Jimmy after which he retired to his room at Hotel Taj for the evening.

My photos of the event can be viewed at: