Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Years of Not Forgetting

Today is January 26th, India's Republic day (also Australia day), commemorating the day 61 years ago when India formally adopted its constitution.

Today also marks the second anniversary of the official founding of Never Forget (NF) by a group of friends on January 26, 2009, in response to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 (the original announcement can be found here).

Unfortunately, after several months of feverish action (including a 100+ volunteers signing up, some productive on-the-ground meetings and media coverage by the local press), the movement slowly fizzled away. As of today, the movement and the website is pretty much defunct.

That said, we have not given up on the idea; and I, for one, definitely believe that the idea was good. What was lacking was in our implementation of it.

The former belief was further strengthened this Monday, when I had the good fortune of meeting someone who was until recently a very senior member of India's election apparatus. He affirmed the core idea behind Never Forget, and gave some very valuable advice.

On the implementation front, I have gotten a fresh boost (thanks to T, who likes the overall idea, and has volunteered to co-lead the development effort), and will be able to give a concrete, if small, amount of my free time to it on a regular basis.

Hopefully we will have a basic system up soon for you all to provide feedback on. But for now, I need your help. Please post in the comments section what you feel went wrong with NF (and what went right). That will go a long way in guiding us as we rebuild both the system as well as the movement.

best wishes for a happy republic day.


  1. Congratulations on your freedom. Everyone should be free. Being a non-Indian (is that correct?), I've never heard of NF. Perhaps that's the main problem.

  2. There are a couple of problems:

    1. Public memory in India (and us Indians in general) is short-lived. Remember the mass movements, the candle-light vigils, a lot of things were forgotten. People were happy to know that R R Patil (of Bade Deshon mein Chhoti baatein fame ) and Vilasrao Deshmukh (of Ram Gopal Verma fame) resigned immediately in the aftermath. Both were re-instated pretty soon in different positions (Patil became home minister and Deskmukh got a position in the Union Govt)

    All promises, all those great stands people took are all gone. IPL comes and the memory becomes weaker than ever.

    A blogpost by greatbong ( is of the apt summaries of this.

    2. Neverforget had a little bit of misfortune. I think with every e-venture, you need that little bit of luck. While some will just spread like wildfire, some will die down very soon. Nevertheless, maybe a second try might push it ahead.

    Add to it that the people of India are power-users of cellphones. I have seen that in modern India, nothing spreads more awareness than well-written sms messages. I could never comprehend it till I saw it for myself :) .

    3. Tools like promise-trackers, knowing someone's background is good. But one gentleman told me something which was very true. He said, in his constituency, there were 3 candidates, all past legislators with a corrupt and lax record. It was just a matter of choosing one of the worst. The truth is , till educated people like you and me, need to enter head-on into politics- and that's the ultimate solution :).

    Finally, from the perspective of an engineer and not an Indian, one thing that neverforget might do is- some kind of unique features, some kind of features that people would say "Oh, you just have to check this website out" . Google had a good one put up in . It is sad but true that patriotism works better if supported by a flashy-multi-featured site .

  3. The idea was good and imho, the website should got a good list of volunteers, especially after the coverage in a couple of local dailies of the mumbai/pune area.

    The problem area, according to me, is the net effect of such efforts. For example the arushi case, the cwg scams, and take 20 other things happening in India. Every single day, if you search on google news, you will find 100+ articles from esteemed blogs/dailies on these issues. But what happens is zilch, because there is too much money involved behind all this and any amount of articles or such efforts are not driving all these scams to concrete judgements.

    So i guess people just think that this too shall pass away and get busy with their own dal-roti..

  4. Starman, Harshit, Furobiker: Thanks for the inputs. All are good points, and we will surely take them into account as we prepare for the second iteration.

    Keep 'em coming!

  5. How about learning how to use, and using, the RTI Act? We could build a kind of social network around this concept; where people could hook up with each other, file RTI applications and share the results with their peers. I need to look into this idea a bit more to know whether it will actually work or not. Thoughts?

    -Krishna Aradhi

  6. Hi Krishna,
    Great idea!

    I checked with Vishal, my go-to guy for all things RTI, and he pointed me to the following:

    the largest and perhaps the oldest:

    a slightly more recent one

    and a new one from last week