This is part 0 of Hamara Linux celebrating SFD 2015 at Chandigarh, Panjab University. There would be 2 more posts after this.
This was my third or fourth time to Chandigarh but easily the shortest. There were four of us, me (Shirish Agarwal), Raju Vindane, Vikas Tara and Amardeep Singh who left from Delhi at around 16:00 on 11th and reached Chandigarh late night around 23:00 hrs. Amardeep was the devil behind the wheels while the rest of us were enjoying the Expressway which is still being built in patches. It seems it would take at least another 2-3 years for the Expressway to be complete from whatever Amardeep shared. We were lucky that we reached a bit late as came to know the next day, our beloved Prime Minister had come to Chandigarh to inaugurate a new Airport terminal or/and an addition to the Chandigarh Airport and hence all vehicular traffic had been at a virtual stop. There is nothing more irritating than waiting in a traffic jam.
Anyways, reached hotel, had a good night sleep, re-freshed and started for the venue. One thing I had noticed before as well as this time as well, Pune is much better placed at having sign-boards on almost every square. This was due to JNURMN and the 2008 Commonwealth Games which were held in the City. Just having sign-boards with appropriate colors even for night makes a city so much more accessible. Anyways, while we started on time, we reached the venue a bit late as we had to ask people and sometimes the directions they gave were wrong and at other times even our GPS enabled phone and maps confused us so that took a bit more time than we anticipated.
Anyways, reached the venue (Panjab University, Jubilee Hall) around 11ish, we didn’t know what to expect but it was nice to see a good crowd.
As we had just come, it was time to look, observe and understand what was happening around us. Soon though, it was time for lunch and having a snack or two, talking to few people we came back in.
Soon it was Vikas’s time to share about Hamara. The idea of the Hamara project is all about celebrating the vibrancy that we all have, the different ideas and ways we are and can be and yet can come together to create a project such as the ‘Hamara Project’. Vikas shared his vision of how to use the project to bring a sea-change in education in schools, in businesses, in embedded systems, in almost all the spheres which are touched by technology today.
One of the clear visions he has is to motivate and help grow the DIY/Maker spirit that is very much in evidence in India. He also shared the vision of having localized interfaces on desktops, laptops and almost everywhere wherever technology touches people. It is commonly understood that anywhere between 5-10% of the population speaks and converses in English, whereas the other 90-95% have mis-givings that there is a vast gap between the knowledge and the skilling they are able to get and the ones who have access and understand the English language. While each language has its own beauty, there has been a significant step-motherly treatment towards all regional languages by the powers that be. This is not just their failure but failure for all including technology.
Now, in order to correct that wrong, there is a need to give people localized interfaces and content no matter what device they are using, whether it is a desktop, a laptop, a phone or some small embedded system, they all need to have regional interfaces which would be more contextual to the common man and also technology would be used 1000 times more than today.
Vikas also shared a bit about the initiative been taken by Hamara to have long-range wireless network infrastructure which is to be owned by people. We didn’t have time otherwise we would have loved to demo it and actually see everybody’s eyes lighting up as they see something they haven’t seen before.
But for all these different initiatives, it is also important to have a sustainable cash-flow hence sharing software, support and doing custom software development to businesses being one of the ways to get some funds and at the same time invest in these ideas with an intention that the technology itself become self-sustainable over a period of time.