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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Protests by SMS

The recently launched Mumbai Mirror tells a tale of how the Thane Municipal Corporation is being bombarded by text messages from 627 families of Saket Complex, a society of buildings, complaining and urging action against the stench created by open garbage.  So much so, that the Municipal Corporation has had to change some of their officials' cell phone numbers! 

mumbai mirror.jpgSMS satyagraha!  [for the uninitiated - Satyagraha is a philosophy of non-violent resistance against injustice, popularized by Mahatma Gandhi]

So intense was the onslaught that began on the morning of July 19 that the TMC changed some of its officials' cell numbers.Not to be outdone, the protestors took just two days to get hold of the new numbers and unleashed a fresh flurry of messages. While Day 1 saw over 300 SMSes beeping on hapless TMC officials' mobile phones, they are still receiving a 100 odd messages every day.

A brainwave of event manager and Saket Complex resident, Dayanand Nene, the protest is gradually showing results with TMC health department covering the garbage with sand to beat the stench. The residents, clearly unimpressed, say the SMS assault will continue. "In my profession, SMS is the ultimate way to reach out to the people. I realised that if we send SMSes to civic officials, they would have no option but to look into our problem," Nene said.  Before they turned their cell phones into weapons, the residents of Saket Complex had tried everything from petitioning TMC officials to dharnas to get rid of the garbage dump. "For the past 25 days the TMC has been dumping garbage here.

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