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<nettime> News from India [3x]
Frederick Noronha (FN) on Mon, 8 Aug 2005 13:48:17 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> News from India [3x]


Table of Contents:

   India's cutting edge of film censorship: denying free expression                
     "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>                                 

   The Mumbai Floods and the Mithi River...                                        
     "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>                                 

   Apna Opus... a local/global device for shared creative practices                
     "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>                                 



------------------------------

Date: Sun, 07 Aug 2005 11:10:16 +0530
From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>
Subject: India's cutting edge of film censorship: denying free expression

          Docuwallahs2, the list about documentary film in India
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/docuwallahs2
          -------------------------------------------------------

INDIA's CUTTING EDGE OF FILM CENSORSHIP: DENYING FREE EXPRESSION
By Shoma A. Chatterji shoma_123 {AT} vsnl.net

Film censorship in India is statutory. The Cinematograph Act
1952 is primarily based on provisions, which form a part of the
Indian Constitution. Article 19 refers to the Right to Freedom,
which is a fundamental right. Article 19 (1) (a) gives the right
to freedom of speech and expression to all citizens subject to
reasonable restrictions. The broad scope of such reasonable
restrictions given in Article 19(2) are: sovereignty and
integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations
with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in
relations to contempt of court, defamation or indictment to an
offence. These restrictions form the legal basis of censorship
of films in our country.

The picture in reality however, is far from simple. Every other
day, a new controversy raises its head, arising in terms of what
should or should not be shown, what should or should not be cut
out from this or that film.

          The word censorship with reference to cinema conjures
          up images of a gigantic pair of scissors merrily
          clipping away through reels and reels of celluloid.
          Today, it is Mahesh Bhatts Sadak, tomorrow, it is
          Shashi Ranjans Siyasat, the day after, and it is Ketan
          Mehtas O Darling! Yeh Hai India followed by Mira Nairs
          Kamasutra and Mahesh Bhatts Zakhm. Of course, one must
          not forget to mention Shekhar Kapoors Bandit Queen and
          Mani Ratnams Bombay.

The Central Board of Film Certifications guidelines amended up
to May 1983, clearly laid down its three-fold objectives of
censorship: (a) the medium of cinema remains responsible and
sensitive to the values and standards of society, (b) artistic
expression and creative freedom are not unduly curbed, and (c)
censorship is responsive to social change. These objectives are
in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 5B
of the Cinematograph Act 1952, (37 of 1952) and directions given
by the Central Government for sanctioning films for public
exhibition.

Apart from the obvious loopholes, the above codes completely
missed out on one thing the obscenity contained in the lyrics of
film songs. Filmmakers desperate to compete with the opening sky
which did not brook censorship, tried to compensate with sound,
what they were not allowed to do through visuals. Sound here,
meaning song lyrics, which, they hoped, would be overlooked by
the members of the CBFC.

Then one fine day, a song opening with the line, choli ke
peechhey kya hai (What is behind the blouse?) hit the scene. It
was from a Subhash Ghai film, Khalnayak, danced in duet by
Madhuri Dixit and Neena Gupta and sung by Alka Yagnik and Ila
Arun. Anand Bakshi, who penned the song, denies till this day
that there is anything vulgar about it. It was a song
appropriate to the situation, he insists, going on to say that
the next line answers the question in the first line choli mein
dil hai mera (its the heart) that is not obscene at all. The
rest of the lyrics in the song however, belie Bakshis claim as
they have little to do with the heart. As Madhuri does her
number, the camera focusses on her heaving cleavage, swaying
hips and ample midriff, making the real purpose of the song
obvious.

The success of the choli song right across India and even abroad
(this writer saw Indian girls gyrate to this number for the
benefit of their guests in London), gave rise to songs, which
made the choli song sound like a nursery rhyme.

Yaarana had a song that went kaise nikaloo choli se and the
Censors were caught napping on this one as well! Lyricist
Sameer, notorious for penning the Raja Babu song sarkailon
khatiya jaada lagein picturized on Karisma Kapoor and Govinda as
if they are making love with their clothes on, pleads innocent.

This is a folk song from Uttar Pradesh and I heard it sung by
Sapna Awasthi, a U.P singer of folk songs. It is a song often
sung at weddings. It would hardly have received the kind of flak
it did because of the vulgar way in which it was picturized. He
adds that folk music is often the inspiration for songs accused
of bawdy lyrics in Hindi films but the error lies in the
visualization and the choreography, not in the lyrics per se.
Sameer adds that after the tremendous success of Khalnayak and
the choli ke peechhey song number, filmmakers and music
companies insisted on songs with double meanings and vulgar
connotations.

The story writer of Eena Meena Deeka actually supplied me the
opening line of the song towel mein bahar jaogi to halla much
jaayega if you go out in a towel, there will be a furore which I
had to develop into a full-fledged song. For a major part of the
song, the camera zeroed in on Juhi Chawlas bare legs and back as
she romped across the screen in a towel. The motive of the
filmmaker was obvious to titillate the audience and fill the
coffers at the box office.

Thankfully, the audience this time did not swallow and the film
flopped inspite of an overdose of vulgarity. So did Andaz, the
other film which had Juhi Chawla sing darwaza khulla chhod aayee
neend ke maare (I kept the door open because I was drowsy with
sleep) which is a pointer to the fact that the audience cannot
be won over every time just with bawdy lyrics and vulgar
picturisation. There were shocking numbers that followed. One
such being sexy sexy sexy mujhe log bole picturized on a
skimpily clad Karisma Kapoor doing a sexy number on stage for
Khuddar. Another was a guttar guttar number penned by Maya
Govind for the Mithun-starrer Dalal.

          Trouble started in early 1994, boosted further by
          excerpts of songs-and-dances on Doordarshan and on the
          satellite channels.  Choli ke Peechhey was forgotten
          in the wake of worse bawdiness in Khuddar, Raja Babu
          and Andaz. Alongside, there was the example of more
          graphic scenes of combat in the do-or-die scenes.
          Censor Board guidelines released through the
          newspapers on July 31, 1994, clearly laid down what
          would be henceforth, forbidden on screen.

These are enumerated below.

Censor Board Guidelines released in July 1994 (Formulated in
December 1991)

Double-meaning dialogues referring to a womans anatomy (e.g.
breasts as apples or some other fruit.)

Simulation of sexual movements (e.g. showing swinging of a car
with a couple inside.)

Man and woman in close proximity to each other or one over the
other and making below-the-waist jerks suggesting copulation.

Pelvic jerks, breast swinging, hip jerks, man and woman mounting
on each other, rubbing womans body from breasts to thighs,
hitting/rubbing man with breasts, sitting on each others thighs
and waist with entwined legs, lifting and peeping inside a
skirt, squeezing a womans navel and waist.

Vulgar kissing on breasts, navel, buttocks, upper part of thighs.

Coins, etc, being put inside the blouse and other types of eve teasing.

Disrobing women in public. 

There is a disapproval of display of violence in and on places
of worship such as hospitals, orphanages particularly using
bombs and guns.

Taboo on the portrayal of violence on pregnant women,
handicapped persons, patients and children.

Even kidnapping of children does not find favour.

Slapping/beating/assaulting of women by kith and kin.

Violence in police stations using chains, gun butts and other
third degree methods. (Any kind of violence that could be
imitated by the public at large.)

Visuals of violence on and victimization of women by forcing
them into prostitution.

Stabbing by dagger, beheading, visuals of dead body hanging
(could be shown in a flash.)

Setting human beings on fire.

If the aforementioned codes were to be followed to the letter,
or in principle, or through visuals and words, then every second
film released today should fall under that gigantic pair of
Censors scissors.

Sathya, Vaastav, Tarkeib (which has the titillating song-dance
number by Shilpa Shetty that goes dupatte ka pallu kidhar ka
kidhar hai) should have all been banned. Vaastav and Sathya both
films fetched awards from private organizations and at the
national level. Dushman and Sangharsh, directed by Tanuja
Chandra, leash the screen with graphic violence including
violence committed on women. Blood and gore tear the screen
asunder and the CBFC couldnt care less.

It picks up a film like Zakhm for its communal overtones, though
it has the real-life, post-bomb-blast Mumbai communal riots as
the backdrop. Fiza with current heart-throb Hrithik Roshan has
the same backdrop the Mumbai communal riots. But the CBFC has
put on blinkers probably because they do not dare to question
the hysteric mesmerism of the Indian audience.

Hrithiks debut film, Kaho Na Pyar Hai is no less violent. But it
goes scot-free under scissors whose blades have selectively
(conveniently?) lost their razor edge. The Bobby
Deol-Kajol-Moneesha- starrer Gupt directed by Rajeev Rai had a
series of the most violent murders recently witnessed on the
Indian screen. But the censors were napping as usual. The same,
or more, goes for the other Bobby Deol-Rani Mukherjee starrer
Bichchoo. Plagiarized from a famous French film called Leon,
graphic violence is the very base the film is structured on.
Never mind its lukewarm reception by the masses, the fact
remains that it could hoodwink the Censors all right. The story
is centred on a mercenary killer. Need one say more?

The so-called off-mainstream films are no less, as far as the
picturization of graphic violence goes. Gulzars much-praised,
abundantly awarded and commercially successful film Maachis, is
an illustration in point. Gulzar never tires of repeating that
the film is a love-story, not on terrorism at all.

The film opens on a tortured corpse being pulled out of a well
in the compound of the local police station. It closes on the
murder of the hero and suicide of the heroine, which
rationalizes the love-tragedy story, but does not in any way,
undercut the violence bit. His next film Hu-Tu-Tu unspools the
story of two children pitted against their own corrupt parents!
They conspire to kill them at a public rally and then kill
themselves. Should films show children sitting on judgement and
actually execute their parents? In an ambience where corruption
is more the rule than the exception, wouldnt this kind of film
trigger killer instincts among some, high-principled children
when they find their parents indulging in corruption of any
kind? The grown-up daughter who kills her own mother has no
compunctions whatever about living with an underground terrorist
and getting pregnant by him! Priyadarshans Kaala Pani is
similarly violent. Kaala Pani offers a model lesson to students
of cinema on how effectively graphic violence can be filmed.

Vinay Shukla's Godmother, a film that bagged five National
Awards last year, has so much violence woven into the shooting
script that you come out of the theatre feeling physically tired
of the strain on your eyes and your ears. Shool, the film that
got Manoj Bajpai an award at the BFJA Awards this year, has
violence spilling across the entire film. Godmother dispels many
myths about motherhood, true, bringing down the Indian woman
from the pedestal society forcibly places her on.

But the manner in which he goes about telling the story, the
strategies he adopts to invest it with credibility, are
anti-social and dangerous for a generation already being bred on
ethnic warfare, match-fixing and corruption in politics. Anu, a
Bengali film that marked the debut of one more woman director,
Satarupa Sanyal, revolves around the gang rape and its aftermath
on the life and marriage of a young girl. Apart from being a
part of the Indian Panorama at the Hyderabad Filmotsav a couple
of years back, it won a few awards at its home state. How did
the CBFC allow this to pass through its rigorous scissors?

Kalpana Lajmis Darmiyaan and Amol Palekars Daayre are also
violent films. Some of the violence is subtle and strong and
therefore, more positive than dangerous. But the graphic
violence that these two films indulge in, cinematographically
and in terms of sound effects, is positively harmful and
violates the latest guidelines of Censorship. Buddhadeb
Dasguptas latest film Uttara, brought him the Best Director
award at the National Awards this year and the Special Award for
Best Director at the Venice Film festival recently.

The quality of the film does deserve the awards and the critical
acclaim it has been winning. But the intensity of violence the
film offers breaks almost every norm contained in the Censorship
guidelines delineated above. A Christian priest who looks after
lepers in the area, is torched in the village church he preaches
in. The Church burns down along with the priest. Uttara, the
girl who becomes the bone of contention between two friends, is
gang-raped by the goons who move around aiming to kill the
priest and burn the church down. The same goons gun down a
midget who offers Uttara marriage and a settled family life, in
cold blood. When the goons chase Mathew, the orphan, the masked
dancers of the village shelter him. The wrestling the two
friends engage in, as a form of leisurely pastime, turns into a
fight-unto-death when Uttara creates a schism between them. So
much violence! To what end? Why? What purpose does this serve?
And what were the Censors doing while they were watching this
film to give it the certificate? Or did the august name of
Buddhadeb Dasgupta scare them away from even suggesting cuts or
changes?

The emphasis of the CBFC, wrongly, is on literal representation,
both for sexual censorship as well as for censorship on violence
in cinema. Blocking a literal view of the figure, in violence or
in sex, does little to achieve the desired effect of eschewing
their effects on the audience psyche. The grounds of censorship
will have to be aesthetic rather than social or cultural.

The CBFC should frame its future guidelines by considering the
film as a total visual and narrative experience. To impose a
code of censorship that depends upon the literality of
representation of particular images is to miss the nature of
what a movie screen is and how it works in relation to the
regime of desire says sociologist Veena Das. She insists that
collective imagination constantly lives out the horrors of
contemporary forms of politics and violence. So, guidelines that
say that violence in police stations using chains, gun butts and
other third-degree methods will be censored lest they offer
models for imitation has little meaning. Not showing beating
with chains is fine. But the chilling scream of a figure in a
darkened cell with a shadow suggesting the torturer can activate
the imagination much more strongly of an audience already fed on
real-life stories of police torture.

The last word on this may perhaps belong to Shyam Benegals
comment on the CBFC brouhaha over Mani Ratnam's Bombay. Freedom
of expression has in-built constraints. It implies honesty and
conviction honesty about humankind and conviction about the
moral right of the films statement. Freedom of expression is an
empowering process, without which our society cannot grow. And
what is galling is that freedom of expression is granted to the
leaders of our country but not to the rest of the people.
**********************************
WORD-COUNT: 2550




------------------------------

Date: Sun, 07 Aug 2005 11:49:12 +0530
From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>
Subject: The Mumbai Floods and the Mithi River...

LIVING DOWNSTREAM

The Mumbai Floods and the Mithi River: What caused the people to
'fall in'?

While most of Mumbai has struggled to reach home over the last
few days, very few have questioned why Mumbai has suddenly
become a victim of floods that would have done Bihar proud.
Yes, it is possible that Mumbai has received more than her share
of rain, but that still does not account for why the water took
so long to recede.  Also no one seems to be questioning why the
flooding has been particularly bad in the Kurla-Kalina region;
no one seems to have made the connection with the mysterious
Mithi River and the Mahim Creek.

The Mithi River, which at one time must have been a glorious
channel of water, has now been reduced to a filthy nalla of muck
and pollution.  The river runs from Powai, reaching the Arabian
Sea via Kurla and Kalina.  The Mahim Creek acts both as a filter
for the incoming Arabian Sea and a drain for the river.

In 1999, when the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation
Ltd. (MSRDC) gained permission to start construction on the
Bandra-Worli SeaLink, reclamation work at the mouth of the Mahim
Creek began.  In 2001, the Indian People=E2=80=99s Tribunal on
Environment and Human Rights was requested to conduct an
investigation into the feasibility of the Bandra Worli SeaLink.
During the investigation numerous experts and environmentalists
deposed before the Tribunal objected that reclamation and
blockage of the Mahim Creek could lead to increased flooding.
To quote the report (An Enquiry into the Bandra Worli SeaLink
Project, July 2001 Pg 23) =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9Cby disturbing the natural co=
urse of
events and redrawing the geography of the Mahim Creek the link
has gradually upset the flow of effluents and floodwaters that
drain into the Arabian Sea.  Experts say that this in turn may
cause the Mithi River, which starts upstream at Powai and runs
along the Andheri-Kurla Road to back up and cause inordinate
flooding along the adjacent areas=E2=80=9D.  (The report is available at
www.iptindia.org).  If one connects this with the flooding that
Mumbai saw on Tuesday July 26, 2005 it appears that maybe the
experts were correct.  In the past, even with heavy rainfall,
water would never collect for such a long period of time.  Also,
the particularly bad flooding in Kurla-Kalina points to the fact
that the river was not able to discharge the water as rapidly as
it used to.  One cannot ofcourse contribute all the flooding to
this but in our quest for development, so often we simply fail
to take into account nature and its forces that will follow a
set pattern whether we choose to work with it or not.

Taking heed of warnings and learning from past
mistakes=E2=80=94especially when it comes to large scale development
projects=E2=80=94is not something that our government likes to do,
however.  Recently Shripad Dharmaadikari and others released
their study on the Bhakranangal Dam and its impact on irrigation
in Punjab.  They found that the Dam which was portrayed as the
temple of modern India in reality contributed to under 8% of
Punjab=E2=80=99s irrigation requirements and has caused water logging
and salination of acres and acres of land in Punjab.

          The government when faced with this report instead of
          looking at the recommendations and seeing how one
          could use the findings from the Bhakranangal to
          prevent similar occurrences in future dams has chosen
          to start a defamation campaign against the authors and
          undermine the credibility of the report.

But then, in our present system it pays to make mistakes and
create disasters because the bigger the relief package the more
people in the line of authority benefit.  Every disaster is
followed by the same pattern =E2=80=93 Stage 1: the lack of early
warnings, the existence of good Samaritans, the resilience of
the people, Stage II =E2=80=93 the collection of relief and
rehabilitation aid, Stage III =E2=80=93 relief and rehabilitation not
reaching the most needy and a recognition that many of the
effects of the disaster could have been avoided if a few small
precautions had been taken earlier.

As Sandra Steingraber in her book Living Downstream tells the
tale =E2=80=9Conce there was a village near a river, every day the
villagers would find one or two people drowning in the river.
The villagers would rush and try and save these people.  In time
the villagers became proficient in rescuing people who were
drowning in the river and the pattern continued for a while;
until somebody began to question =E2=80=98what was happening upstream
that caused these people to fall in.=E2=80=9D

Deepika D=E2=80=99Souza
deepika_dsouza {AT} yahoo.com
India Centre for Human Rights and Law
July 2005




------------------------------

Date: Sun, 07 Aug 2005 22:54:51 +0530
From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>
Subject: Apna Opus... a local/global device for shared creative practices

- -------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Jeebesh Bagchi <jeebesh {AT} sarai.net>
<http://apnaopus.var.cc>
<http://sourceforge.net/projects/apnaopus>

Technologies used in ApnaOpus > BitTorrent, Python, sqlite database
(tracker), xml (Podcasts, RSS)>
BSD - Style License

'APNA' OPUS

APNA OPUS ('Our Own' OPUS) is a tool designed to facilitate collaborative creation
and peer to peer sharing of media data for communities gathered together on a
local or enclosed network, as well as on the internet. APNA OPUS works for any
context where people want to collaborate on creative media projects, be they local
- in one class room or media lab, in a cluster of class rooms or media labs, or
global - - all over the internet.

Any group of users on computers that use a local area network can begin to use
APNA OPUS to create their own peer to peer network, share and exchange files, as
well as create collaborative media works. This makes the sharing and collaborative
creation of cultural material possible even when there is no access to the
internet, or when the scarcity of bandwidth or low-speed web connectivity make
high volume file sharing and transfer a difficult or near impossible task.

 From OPUS to APNA OPUS

APNA OPUS is a development of OPUS (Open Platform for Unlimited Signification) a
php/mysql based took which was created in 2001 by Raqs Media Collective, in
collaboration with Silvan Zurbr=C3=BCgg, Bauke Freib= urg, Pankaj Kaushal and
Mrityunjoy Chatterjee at the Media Lab of the Sarai Programme of the Centre for
the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. OPUS is currently accessible at the
OPUS-COMMONS website at <http://opus.walkerart.org>.

APNA OPUS emerges from a process of collaboration between Raqs Media Collective,
Silvan Zurbr=C3=BCgg (a programmer based in Zurich) and Victo= ria Donkersloot (an
interface designer based in Rotterdam) initiated at Sarai in 2004-2005. APNA OPUS
is currently accessible at <http://apnaopus.var.cc>. Apna Opus uses BitTorrent,
Python, sqlite database (tracker) and xml (for Podcasts & RSS).

What is APNA OPUS

As in OPUS, Apna Opus too permits and encourages users to access, upload,
transform and upload media objects of all kinds. Like OPUS, It too, is based on
the concept of 'Rescensions' - mutually non-replacable and non-hierarchical
iterations or configurations devolving from a shared commons of cultural
materials.

Rescension

A Rescension is a media object that is newly created or found and uploaded on to a
shared space ( a digital commons such as OPUS or APNA OPUS ) by a pracitioner
after transforming one or more media objects (untouched source material and/or
other Rescensions) downloaded from APNA OPUS.

An aside - The word Rescension comes from the practice of exegetical studies and
textual criticism, and is taken to mean a re-configuration and re-working of prior
textual, or narrative materials in such a way that the pre-existing material is
not effaced. A Rescension is either a re-arrangement of an existing text, or a
re-working of an existing text, incorporating new materials, and/or deleting some
old ones, or , a new edition with a substantive commentary or annotation.

A Rescension is neither a clone, nor an authorised or pirated copy nor an improved
or deteriorated version, of a pre-existing text, just as a child is neither a
clone, nor an authorised or pirated copy, nor an improved or deteriorated version
of its parents.For more on the conceptual foundations of the term Recension see
The Concise Lexicon of/for the Digital Commons
<http://www.sarai.net/compositions/texts/works/lexicon.htm> by Raqs Media
Collective.

Shared and Collaborative Creativity

APNA OPUS adapts key features of the concept that drives OPUS for use within
enclosed and localized networks (using LAN) as well as on the internet. The
difference is, that instead of residing only on a central online platform on the
web, (as was the case with OPUS) APNA OPUS also makes it possible for users to
store 'Rescensions' (either their own, or those of others) on to their own
clients. This makes it highly adaptible in terms of usage as a tool for sharing
and collaborative content generation, and the distribution of 'rescended'
materials, even in contexts where internet connectivity may be either very low, or
erratic, or both. It also makes APNA OPUS ideally suited for usage where
collaborative energies derive from a strong culture of creativity that is grounded
on sociality and solidarity. APNA OPUS works best when every act of 'uploading'
within a group is seen by the members themselves as a conscious decision to enter
into an ethic of sharing and mutuality.

APNA OPUS can also be used for pedagogical purposes - for students to create media
projects together, and as a means of fostering collaborative creativity in groups
that have either been recently formed, or that are in the process of formation.

The Context for the Development of APNA OPUS

The APNA OPUS pilot was developed and designed in close association with young
media practitioners in the Cybermohalla Project Labs of the Sarai Programme, and
its first implementation will also be carried out by Cybermohalla practitioners in
free software equipped Media Labs located in working class neighbourhoods of
Delhi. APNA OPUS is specifically designed to address the desire for creativity in
culturally rich contexts, with a strong ethos of shared and collaborative work and
especially in situations of technological or infrastructural scarcity. This makes
it ideal as a platform for use in schools and educational institutions, youth
groups, artists and media practitioners collectives, research networks, cultural
organizations and affinity groups in those parts of the world where access to
computers does not yet automatically translate into access to high bandwidth
internet connectivity.

What is New?

APNA OPUS continues to be based on the model of networked rescensions, but adds
crucial categories such as 'contributor' , so as to make 'finding and placing' or
'curating' material as important an activity as 'creation' and 'transformative
creation' was within OPUS.

How Does APNA OPUS work?

APNA OPUS relies on the design of all applications that are built to use
BitTorrent. Like them, it breaks down, in terms of usage, into 'Clients' (on users
machines) and 'Trackers' (which clients access when users go online).

APNA OPUS builds on Bram Cohen's original design of the implementation of
BitTorrent by including the ability to handle metadata from files on the client
and use that information on a customized tracker in order to enable search
operations at the tracker level. This means that instead of just knowing the name
and file sizes of a given data object, the APNA OPUS tracker can also yield
responses to queries about a variety of meta-info keys such as 'title,
description, file type, contributor and author'. The APNA OPUS tracker is
searchable and can generate bittorrent metafiles dynamically.This makes it
possible to conduct very advanced searches and allows different uploaded files to
be linked on the basis of their contents.

The advanced search capabilities of APNA OPUS makes it possible to mark actual as
well as potential relationships (based on cross referencing metadata keyed in
while a file is being uploaded).

The clustering of information about uploads/rescensions takes place on a tracker,
while the actual data is dispersed amongst all the users/clients through the
'swarm' - i.e. through downloading from all the nodes that store or work on a file
. Effectively, this disperses the activity of making 'rescensions' to the
client/user nodes rather than at a central level.

The moment a client/user decides to upload, meta-data about the 'resecensions'
reaches the tracker. Conversely, meta- data about new uploads/rescensions reaches
clients/users as and when they browse the tracker or through RSS feeds (if they
have subscribed to the feed) the moment they go online. It could be said that APNA
OPUS uses Bittorrent, RSS feeds and Podcasting to deliver an experience of
'collaborative connectedness' for members of a creative community that doesn't
however have to rely on constant connectivity.

RSS also allows the user to subscribe only along the lines of particular queries
(if he or she so wishes), allowing for highly advanced and specialized filtering
of information about new uploads based on parameters customized to the
requirements of the user/client. Further, by using Podcasting techniques, APNA
OPUS also enables the user to automate the download of bittorrent meta files to
his/her queue of shared files.

What Needs to Be Done

Making APNA OPUS work on Mac OS X

We need to make the client smooth for Mac OS X . This requires the coding in of an
aqua (or similar) gui . Using gtk through X11 has not proved to be satisfactory.

Visualization

We need a visualisation on the tracker of the material. We think that the
del.ic.ious method of visualisation could be useful. (See, for example the way in
which keyword-tags are rendered on 'flickr' <www.flickr.com> the online Photo
Sharing platform).

However, In APNA OPUS we want this to be visualized not according to keyword-tags
(as is the case in 'Flickr') but according to file names. I.e. the file that is
most linked will have the biggest name size in the visualisation. (The obverse
will also be available - clicking on filename in the detail page of a file should
also be able to show you the file name's place in the visualisation). This will
deal with the problem of language of tagging (words written for instance in
romanized Hindi may be written in a variety of spellings, due to the absence of a
prevailing standard orthography). It will also have the added incentive of making
users keen to see their file/concept grow more links.

To see what a possible visualisation may look like, go to
:<http://kevan.org/extispicious.cgi?name=3Dvar>

Meta Data

On the file detail page, we need to provide-not only the listing of the files that
the file is linked to, but also a list of other files (according to keywords
matches from the meta-infos) that may be of interest to the user.

Versioning

We need to work out how the sorting out of the versioning of files can be
approached. This is because there is confusion when different versions are
announced to different trackers.

Moreover, there is a need to generate a new file for each version that can hold
the complete contents of the file and not just the diffs (differences between
versions). Further, we also need to work out how the client can recognize files as
being just a new version of an already existing file. (Perhaps this will rely on
recognizing similarities in file name).

Localization and Translation

Localization and Translation to languages other than English, starting with
Hindustani/Hindi is something we need to address immediately, as we want people
who are not familiar with English to use APNA OPUS on an urgent basis.


Invitation

WE ARE VERY ANXIOUSLY LOOKING FOR A PYTHON CODER TO JOIN US. If anyone has anyone
in their network who would like to join up - for any of the above - please let us
know!! If you are a python programmer who would like to contribute to the
development of APNA OPUS please join us.

Also, please get in touch with us if you would like to work on Localization and/or
Translation.

We will be happy to answer all your queries if you write to
Monica Narula - monica {AT} sarai.net
Silvan Zurbruegg - slivan {AT} bitflux.ch










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