You have probably heard about the controversy that has sprung up around the JAM article on IIPM. Rashmi Bansal published it, Gaurav Sabnis linked to it, there were silly legal notices served. But the joke was not funny the second time around, when Gaurav had to resign from his post at IBM when IIPM people threatened to burn their laptops in front of the IBM office in Delhi. The entire situation is detailed here by Amit.

Now consider this. The people involved (the IIPM-related people, I mean) are supposed to be educated people, articulate and capable of settling things in a human manner. But we see that the age-old tradition of hooliganry is still alive, and burning and pillaging seems to be accepted even by these people as the correct way to settle all problems.

The truth is that they do not have a leg to stand on. They know it. And when they were posting insulting comments on Rashmi’s blog, they were hurting no one more than themselves. They did not give valid arguments, they resorted to vile language and insults, and in the process, they destroyed their credibility and whatever dignity they might have salvaged if they had done things the civil way.

And before Gaurav’s resignation, things might have been taken somewhat lightly, but this has now become serious.

At the risk of sounding pompous, I would like to say the following: The Blogosphere has to (and has) come together to fight, and at stake here is freedom of speech, which is what bloggers price above everything else. When you threaten to take away a blogger’s freedom to say what s/he wants, it is the silliest thing you can do, because it is the pillar any blog stands on.

So go ahead. Spread the word. Blog about it. Tell people you know.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Gaurav’s decision to quit his post rather than hurt his company’s reputation is a hugely courageous one. I don’t know if I could have done such a thing. When push came to shove, Gaurav decided to fight his battle himself. He stood up for his principles, and he did it in spite of the fact that it hurt him. So it is our duty to support him – and it is in our own best interests to do so. Imagine what happens if we don’t.

PS: This is bizarre. Take special note of: ‘I was told that my manner of speaking was too “un-lady like” and “Too aggressive for a woman”!’ And Varna, the blogger involved, has also been served with a legal notice for her posts. I can do no better than quote Amit: ‘Ever seen a headless chicken dancing?’