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Update as on May 1, 2010

 

After our last post on the Right to Read campaign on April 15th the copyright amendment was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on April 19th. The bad news is that the amendment still contained the same disastrous wording which would effectively prevent NGOs, educational institutions and persons with disabilities from converting reading material including textbooks and reference material into audio, digital formats and other formats that can be used by persons with disabilities to “read” such material. The extremely cumbersome, restrictive and lengthy licensing procedure proposed by the Government for conversion to these formats would mean that students with print disabilities would be deprived of their Right to Education which has now become a fundamental right.

Now for the good news. The BJP and the Left parties have gone on record  <!–[endif]–>that they will oppose the amendment unless the concerns of the visually impaired community are addressed. Members of the National Access Alliance including Sam Taraporevala, Kanchan Pamnani, S.K Rungta, Dipendra Manocha and Ketan Kothari met senior leaders of the BJP including Shri L.K. Advani, Shri Arun Jaitely and Smt. Sushma Swaraj who understood our concerns and were extremely sympathetic. Nirmita Narasimhan from the Centre for Internet and Society <!–[if !supportFootnotes]–> and I met Smt. Brinda Karat who was extremely sympathetic and supportive. Mrs. Karat spent close to an hour understanding the issues involved and fixed up a meeting for us with Shri. Oscar Fernandes, Congress MP and head of the standing committee that will examine the copyright amendment. She also informed us that she has spoken to Mr. Arun Jaitely on this issue and that they would jointly oppose the amendment. Shri Fernandes was also extremely sympathetic and supportive and assured us that we would get an opportunity to be heard when the matter came up for discussion. We also met two members of the standing committee Mr. Biju (CPI (M) MP from Kerala) and Mr. Penumalli Madhu (CPI (M) MP from Andhra Pradesh). Mr. Biju said he would definitely help when this matter comes up for discussion since he believed it is a just cause. Mr. Madhu was even more receptive to the idea and said he would circulate the note which we had given to all the members of the Standing Committee and also write a letter strongly recommending this
case to the Prime Minister and the Standing Committee.

Mr. Javed Abidi, India’s most famous and accomplished disability rights activist, took Nirmita and me to the Prime Minister’s Office where we met Joint Secretary Mr. Sanjay Mitra who promised to put our note to the Prime Minister.

 

Last but not least, over the last 2 weeks this initiative has got some great press coverage from socially conscious journalists from around the country. We now have to prepare for submitting evidence to the standing committee when the hearings start. We understand that this will happen within the next 3 months. Let us keep our fingers crossed. If you would like to contribute to this effort mail me at rahul.cherian@inclusiveplanet.com

Update as on May 1, 2010

 

After our last post on the Right to Read campaign on April 15th the copyright amendment was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on April 19th. The bad news is that the amendment still contained the same disastrous wording which would effectively prevent NGOs, educational institutions and persons with disabilities from converting reading material including textbooks and reference material into audio, digital formats and other formats that can be used by persons with disabilities to “read” such material. The extremely cumbersome, restrictive and lengthy licensing procedure proposed by the Government for conversion to these formats would mean that students with print disabilities would be deprived of their Right to Education which has now become a fundamental right.

Now for the good news. The BJP and the Left parties have gone on the record that they will oppose the amendment unless the concerns of the visually impaired community are addressed. Members of the National Access Alliance including Sam Taraporevala, Kanchan Pamnani, S.K Rungta, Dipendra Manocha and Ketan Kothari met senior leaders of the BJP including Shri L.K. Advani, Shri Arun Jaitely and Smt. Sushma Swaraj who understood our concerns and were extremely sympathetic.  Nirmita Narasimhan from the Centre for Internet and Society and I met Smt. Brinda Karat who extremely sympathetic and supportive. Mrs. Karat spent close to an hour understanding the issues involved and fixed up a meeting for us with Shri. Oscar Fernandes, Congress MP and head of the standing committee that will examine the copyright amendment. She also informed us that she has spoken to Mr. Arun Jaitely on this issue and that they would jointly oppose the amendment. Shri Fernandes was also extremely sympathetic and supportive and assured us that we would get an opportunity to be heard when the matter came up for discussion. We also met two members of the standing committee Mr. Biju (CPI (M) MP from Kerala) and Mr. Penumalli Madhu (CPI (M) MP from Andhra Pradesh). Mr. Biju said he would definitely help when this matter comes up for discussion since he believed it is a just cause. Mr. Madhu was even more receptive to the idea and said he would circulate the note which we had given to all the members of the Standing Committee and also write a letter strongly recommending this
case to the Prime Minister and the Standing Committee.

Mr. Javed Abidi, India’s most famous and accomplished disability rights activist, took Nirmita and me to the Prime Minister’s Office where we met Joint Secretary Mr. Sanjay Mitra who promised to put our note to the Prime Minister.

 

Last but not least, over the last 2 weeks this initiative got some great press coverage from socially conscious journalists from around the country. We now have to prepare for submitting evidence to the standing committee when the hearings start. We understand that this will happen within the next 3 months. Let us keep our fingers crossed. If you would like to contribute to this effort mail me at rahul.cherian@inclusiveplanet.com

One of our member, Krissy, sent this to us. A truly amazing piece by Harold Krents.
Harold Krents, a graduate of Harvard Law School, practiced law in Washington, D.C. Blind from birth, he was a strong advocate for the rights of the handicapped. He speaks about the everyday prejudices faced by a blind person.

Darkness at Noon
By Harold Krents

Blind from birth, I have never had the opportunity to see myself and have been completely dependent on the image I create in the eye of the observer. To date it has not been narcissistic. There are those who assume that since I can’t see, I obviously also cannot hear. Very often people will converse with me at the top of their lungs, enunciating each word very carefully. Conversely, people will also often whisper, assuming that since my eyes don’t work, my ears don’t either.

For example, when I go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for assistance to the plane, he or she will invariably pick up the phone, call a ground hostess, and whisper: “Hi, Jane, we’ve got a 76 here.” I have concluded that the word blind is not used, for one of two reasons: Either they fear that if the dread word is spoken, the ticket agent’s retina will immediately detach, or they are reluctant to inform me of my condition, of which I may not have been previously aware. On the other hand, others know that of course I can hear, but believe that I can’t talk. Often, therefore, when my wife and I go out to dinner, a waiter or waitress will ask Kit if “he would like a drink” to which I respond that “indeed he would.” This point was graphically driven home to me while we were in England. I had been given a year’s leave of absence from my Washington law firm to study for a diploma in law at Oxford University. During the year I became ill and was hospitalized. Immediately after admission, I was wheeled down to the X-ray room. Just at the door sat an elderly woman—elderly I would judge from the sound of her voice. “What is his name?” the woman asked the orderly who had been wheeling me. “What’s your name?” the orderly repeated to me. “Harold Krents,” I replied. “Harold Krents,” he repeated. “When was he born?” “When were you born?” “November 5, 1944,” I responded. “November 5, 1944,” the orderly intoned. This procedure continued for approximately five minutes, at which point even my saint like disposition deserted me. “Look,” I finally blurted out, “this is absolutely ridiculous. Okay, granted I can’t see, but it’s got to have become pretty clear to both of you that I don’t need an interpreter.” “He says he doesn’t need an interpreter,” the orderly reported to the woman.

The toughest misconception of all is the view that because I can’t see, I can’t work. I was turned down by over forty law firms because of my blindness, even though my qualifications included a cum laude3 degree from Harvard College and a good ranking in my Harvard Law School class. The attempt to find employment, the continuous frustration of being told that it was impossible for a blind person to practice law, the rejection letters, based not on my lack of ability but rather on my disability, will always remain one of the most disillusioning experiences of my life. Fortunately, this view of limitation and exclusion is beginning to change. On April 16, [1978] the Department of Labour issued regulations that mandate equal-employment opportunities for the handicapped.

By and large, the business community’s response to offering employment to the disabled has been enthusiastic. I therefore look forward to the day, with the expectation that it is certain to come, when employers will view their handicapped workers as a little child did me years ago when my family still lived in Scarsdale. I was playing basketball with my father in our back yard according to procedures we had developed. My father would stand beneath the hoop, shout, and I would shoot over his head at the basket attached to our garage. Our next-door neighbour, aged five, wandered over into our yard with a playmate. “He’s blind,” our neighbour whispered to her friend in a voice that could be heard distinctly by Dad and me. Dad shot and missed; I did the same. Dad hit the rim; I missed entirely; Dad shot and missed the garage entirely. “Which one is blind?” whispered back the little friend.

I would hope that in the near future, when a plant manager is touring the factory with the foreman and comes upon a handicapped and a non-handicapped person working together, his comment after watching them work will be, “Which one is disabled?”

We are at the last leg of the Right To Read campaign. The Indian government has proposed certain amendments to the Indian Copyright Act, which will have a far reaching and severely negative impact on the lives of millions of Indians who are visually impaired, dyslexic, have cerebral palsy, etc. This amendment is scheduled to be introduced in Parliament during the upcoming budget session. The National Access Alliance has launched a movement to oppose the upcoming amendment and this has received support from several leading politicians in India.

Act Now! You could help bring about a transformational change to the lives of about 70 million people in India and enable people to exercise their Right to Education and Right to Read.

With your help, we’ll harness the power of the internet to get the message to people all over the world. You can help us in many simple ways. Here are a few things you can do –

Sign the Declaration

A simple act of supporting the campaign online can make a huge difference to the cause. We intend to showcase the support the campaign receives to the concerned authorities so that a change in the copyright law can be brought about. Visit Right To Read and sign the declaration!

Connect us with more MPs (Members of Parliament)

If you know an MP, you can brief them on the issues so that the amendment can be meaningfully discussed in Parliament. All you need to do is forward this note to them, Click Here for the note.

Contact the press

If you know anyone in the press, get them to cover the issues and raise public awareness. Just send this press release attached here.

Send an email to Shri Rahul Gandhi

Communicate to Shri Rahul Gandhi your support for the change in the amendment! Just send the following email to iycnsui@gmail.com and other politicians you know.

A small act done by you can go a long way in helping the visually impaired in India!

If you would like to know more about the amendment to the copyright law and the background of this campaign, click here!

Thank you for your support!

Together, there are no barriers!

When her imagination runs wild, Yaminy does exactly the same. She runs along with it and makes sure she a story to tell. Her love for the written word stems from her pursuit towards becoming a good orator, writer and translator. Yaminy enjoys playing the Veena – a music instrument, reading fantasy novels and feasting on chocolates.

A simple conversation about her views on Inclusive Planet  lead to this wonderfully creative article. Watch out for this young woman, she is a bestseller in the making.

Inclusive planet: My home sweet home – by Yaminy

Hey Guest,

Don’t go away looking from the outside. The external appearance is such that we can only go on a quick tour around the home along with brief glance. Our home is the best, the most beautiful planet. When you come in, you can stay for as long as you want. Once you start, nothing will stop you from experiencing the hospitality all around. Welcome Home!

At the beginning of your quest, you are given a special key which is the email ID and a secret code which is the password to enter or to log in. We then enter our home, the first thing we notice is the mailbox which shows the messages received. We can either reply immediately or move further depending on the mood.

Later, we enter the lounge where we find the members engaged in different discussions. If some are reading, others would chat away!  The best part is that we have all the rights to interfere in these chats or come to know what additional furniture (posts or comments) are there at home. Another brilliant feature is that, once a member states anything, it would be displayed along with the name tag which makes it easy to know who has said what.

If you’re not in a mood for that, just by clicking the toggles (links), you can contact the new members from earth, connect with recent conversations, and find the things at home, check what’s recently shared, respond to requests made by sharing things and so on. Do you know? Our home looks simple and small.  It is our humble abode, where we learn to love and live happily. But, it’s built using modernity and so, accessible through buttons or toggles.

We have more than 50 superb Channels; each one catering to different areas of interest.If one is set for humor, another is for food.  At one stage we can play, while on the other, we may get special education through online classes.  Have a flair for the language, then surely must have a love for literature and walk into the poetry world.  Wish to conspire on anything? You can discuss in various clubs or even the computer science has advanced so much that bloggers and content writers are ready to publish the same in the websites. You must speak out either in your voice or planeteer speak out.

Do we have to watch a movie? Need not.  If we just read or better participate in the planets on goings, it becomes a movie for any amount of time we spend. Full on action packed entertainment guaranteed. So sit back, relax, bring on the popcorn my friends.

This is the place where I learnt the art of expressing and even the meaning of unity and friendship.  Be what may, the arms are there to support in any kind of crisis and need not feel shy or worried to express something. Whenever I find time, I just come home, and even many a times get the stuff necessary for my class studies.

Oh, my friends and fellow inmates are so cute, charming and lovable that we just feel like interacting either through private messages or on spot dialogues. I’ve found many friends here who have no issues and have accepted me as I am.

This is our gorgeous habitat and my home sweet home!

Tony Fadell has left Apple. For all those Apple lovers, this was the man who gave us the iPod and the iPhone. Of course Steve gets most of the credit, but for all you Apple haters, this man was behind those stunning products that literally leapfrogged competition and earned your grudging respect.

Tony leaves the company with the statement – My primary focus will be helping the environment by working with consumer green-tech companies,” he said. “I’m determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones.

So long Tony and thanks for all the fish.

you can read the article about tony leaving on http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/godfather-of-ipod-severs-final-ties-with-apple/?src=twt&twt=nytimesbits and his short bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Fadell

Anant

Once upon a time…

Katty Gelt Meyer is a member from Belgium. As a new user, she is now familiarizing herself with Inclusive Planet. She enjoys reading folklore and also blogs about various topics.

This is her story so far …

  • Tell us something about yourself…

I’m Katty, 33 years old, and have and I have been in a relationship for the last ten months. I studied History at the University of Gent (with a year at the University of Leiden). I was lucky enough to have had a teacher who gave his subject in such a way, that it seemed he had been watching what he was telling: Storytelling was his method to give history. In the past, I thought he was able to foretell the future, but now I know how I could do this: he knew the past, saw some conflicts coming, So knowing the past could help you to foresee the future (in a limited way, of course, it isn’t as logical as Maths).

I really wasn’t good at Maths, but I was lucky to have had a teacher that knew me better than I did and who motivated his pupils, even if they had difficulties with his subject. Both he and the history teacher tried to see the person behind the student, and so they gave me confidence. I’m fond of cats, fairy tales, lore & myths, reading and listening to stories.

  • Where are you working now? What do you enjoy about your job?

I’m working for the “luisterpuntbibliotheek”, the Dutch Library of Belgium for people with reading disabilities. What I enjoy is helping our readers find a book they like, or helping them solve a problem with their daisy-player (if I manage it to solve the problem, I have a lucky day).

  • Last book read?

A book about folk tales & legends of the region I live in – Waasland

  • Which country would you like to visit?

I’d like to visit Greece, because of the fact I was fascinated by the myths my History teacher told me.

  • A person who inspires you and why?

Louis Braille – He was able to collect some tidbits of knowledge, and combined them to compose the Braille-system. With this invention, he made it possible for blind people to read, write, to study and to participate in the society.

  • Three of your favourite websites and why?

www.ccleaner.com : Here you can find an accessible tool for cleaning up your pc.

www.birthdayalarm.com : a website where you can compose a birthday calendar, it helped me to remember the birthdays of my loved ones, something I always forget.

www.hp-lexicon.org : one of the best websites dedicated to Harry Potter, made by a competent team.

I also own a blog (written in Dutch, my native language): http://kattykrabbelt.blogspot.com

  • What would make Inclusive Planet better?

If I could give my google-account access to inclusive Planet (and others could do the same with their primary account), there’s no need for us to remember another username/password.

  • Where would you like technology for the blind to head towards?

To make the internet and other aspects of our life as accessible as possible, so that everyone can participate in everything in the same way. That’s why I was so delighted when I saw the new verification method in the alpha-version of Inclusive Planet.