[Fsf-friends] Fwd: Walking from Kasargod to Trivandrum for Freedom

Praveen A pravi.a at gmail.com
Thu Sep 25 08:51:51 IST 2008

A wonderful initiative happening in Kerala, and I believe we did not
see an effort this huge to spread Free Software to such a wide
audience have happened before. I hope all of you would try to join in
at least one of the locations of the Walk. (You could even plan a tour
around this, there are many beautiful places in Kerala to visit).

At the minimum join the mailing list at freedomwalk.in and share your
ideas and pass of this message to your friends.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anoop John <anoopjohn at gmail.com>
Date: 2008/9/23
Subject: FOURTH ESTATE CRITIQUE Walking from Kasargod to Trivandrum for Freedom
To: fourth-estate-critique at googlegroups.com

Dear All,

This is my first mail to the group and I think this warrants a short
introduction about myself. Anoop John, running a small IT business in
Trivandrum by the name Zyxware Technologies. I had started this
company with a definite vision to actually drive the change I wished
to see in this world. I don't know if you remember this but we were
the company who released the Chikungunya Tracking Software as Free
Software to the Govt of Kerala last year. You can read more about the
company at www.zyxware.com and more about me at www.anoopjohn.com and

This time we are planning on a mobilization campaign across Kerala to
promote social and environmental activism in the state. A team of us
are walking from Kasargod to Trivandrum and are planning to organize
programs in Schools, Educational Institutions and other Non Profit
Organizations to build awareness about the issues. Additionally we
hope to connect with activist individuals and organizations across the
state and give them an opportunity and a common platform to
collaborate with each other.

I am writing to this group because I know that there are quite a lot
of activists in here and we need help from you to organize the
programs in your respective areas. If you are interested you can read
more about the project below or you can check out the site at

If you are interested you can please subscribe to the mailing list -
freedomwalk at googlegroups.com by sending a mail to
freedomwalk-subscribe at googlegroups.com If you know somebody who will
be able to help us with this please forward this information to your

Hoping to hear a positive response from this group.

Warm Regards
Anoop John

FREEDOM WALK - A Walk to Claim, to Ensure and to Preserve Freedom


Our society is ridden with problems - social, economical,
environmental. People have always been trying to solve these problems.
Sometimes they have been successful while sometimes they have not
been. The level of activism and the sensitivity of the people towards
these problems have been going down progressively. Good can survive on
their own while evil has to collude to survive. This lack of a need
has resulted in a definite lack of communication and collaboration
among activists in diverse areas.

Free Software as a community driven initiative has been growing in
leaps and bounds over the last decade or so. This has been made
possible because of the use of technology for efficient collaboration
and communication in the community. The parallels between Free
Software activism and Social and Environmental activism are very
close, but their individual progresses have been very different.


1) Run a mobilization campaign across the state to build awareness
about the issues that we are addressing.
2) Use this campaign to connect with and connect together individuals
and activists across the state
3) Offer Technology as an efficient means and a supplement to the
existing systems used by the activist organizations


1) There is lot of inherent goodwill in the society. If we can tap
into this goodwill to promote social causes we should be able to scale
up any kind of social operations massively
2) There is inherent goodness in everybody. If we offer the right kind
of opportunity for people to offer their capability, services and
resources in a way and scale convenient and comfortable to them, they


Identify a campaign that will be bizarre that people would find it
novel. I am making myself available for this project as the crazy IT
guy who gave up a life in the US, a job in the US and who came back to
India to try to do the impossible. Additionally do something that
people don't hear very often. So we have figured out this idea of
walking from Kasargod to Trivandrum covering all district capitals and
conducting awareness seminars in Educational Institutions and other
organizations along the way. Politicians have done this, Adventurers
have done this, Activists have done this - but an IT entrepreneur with
the above profile - not before. This idea have been thrown out to
peers and the only response that we have been getting is - Crazy - and
we think that is good.

What is this freedom that we are talking about?

It is the freedom to live our lives to its fullest without harming
anybody else and without violating any of our accepted social norms.
There are several areas of life where we invoke this freedom. We are
primarily concerned with three different areas - Freedom from Social
Evils, Freedom to live our future without having to worry about
environmental catastrophes and energy insecurities and Software

Our offer to activist Individuals and Organizations

1) Ride on this program to promote their activities locally and across
the state.
2) Use this program to connect with like minded individuals and
organizations across the state
3) Upgrade their operations by using technologies and services that
are being offered

Organizational aspects

We are trying to partner with organizations who have reach and
presence in local areas across the state to organize the programs.
Currently we are partnering with Free Software communities across
Kerala. These communities are going to utilize this vehicle to promote
the free software movement in the state. Free Software communities are
already well connected and they have reasonably good presence across
the state. These organizations will be able to organize public
functions and local gatherings where the general public can be

An agreement has almost been reached with WWF to partner with them to
channel all the environmental activism and queries that are going to
be generated. WWF has presence in schools across Kerala through their
social forestry and nature clubs. They should be able to organize
programs in schools where these clubs are active

We are trying to mobilize support of other social activist
organizations and individuals to use this opportunity and organize
their programs along the way.

Attracting Media Attention

The walk and the people who are walking and the collaboration platform
are areas which we think are going to be attractive to the media.
Media has also been very attracted to Free Software and has been
promoting Free Software liberally during our activities in Trivandrum
and we are hoping to bank on Free Software for this program also.

Promotion over the web

We will be using web as a primary channel to promote this project. The
whole walk will be covered virtually everyday and reports, photos and
videos will be updated to the website - www.freedomwalk.in - to let
people across the state and the world know about this. The site is
designed to let people interact with the people walking on a real time

Collaboration Platform

There is no point in bringing people together just for the event and
forgetting about them after that. The whole point of this exercise is
to connect activist individuals and organizations together and build
awareness among the general public. The event should serve the purpose
of building public awareness. For connecting individuals and
organizations we are developing and are planning to launch an online
collaboration platform that can be used for free by this target
section of the population. In addition this platform could also
possibly give an opportunity for people in all sections of the society
to contribute towards causes and we will have an opportunity to
validate our hypothesis no 2.

General Strategy for the program

We are going to follow a more or less impromptu strategy for
organizing the talks and seminars and public functions.
There are three reasons for this :-
1) We don't have good centralized resources for doing this.
2) We don't have very strong local connections.
3) The organization is going to get easier once the public visibility
and the momentum of the program increases.

Pending items in organization

1) Actual details of talks/seminars have not been finalized
2) Actual details of organizations who will be organizing the programs
3) Contact information of people who will be organizing the programs
4) Approximate dates during which the walk will pass through a
district have to be finalized

Impromptu items that are going to be fun and exciting

1) Places of stay have not been identified
2) Path through certain districts are flexible


1) Very strong in web based collaboration and building web based
systems to rapidly mobilize online
2) Permanent team in Trivandrum to act as the Virtual Operations Centre(VOC)
3) Strong brand presence and reach in the Free Software Communities
across Kerala.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world", M. K. Gandhi

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