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Opinion Dusting The Web


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Dusting The Web



In today’s world, it is the fount of all information.

It is also the receptacle of a mountain of misinformation.

By the latter, I do not refer to opinions that some of us may hold dear and others may reject, or the points of dissent or departure.

I mean intentional mischief: the fiddling with facts by those who know that they are distorting, misreporting, fuzzying, obfuscating, misleading, muddying …

Not surprisingly, that mound of infinite knowledge, the good mixed with the bad, is called the Net. The Internet. Or the Web. The World Wide Web ... “www …”

While responding to The Sikh Coalition’s recent appeal for help with its mission to weed out misinformation about Sikhs and Sikhism in the nation’s text-books, our readers are discovering that the internet too is a web of misinformation about us.

And that it needs to be cleaned, not for once and for all, but on an ongoing basis -- a daily chore, if you will -- because it is a spider which is fed by a million hands at every instant of every day.

While everything in life is normally riddled with errors and wrongs -- both innocent and mala-fide -- this is a different animal: it needs constant scrutiny because of its sheer size and ambit. And the fact that its mistakes multiply with geometrical progression.

This too, like the text-book project, needs urgent attention.

It too requires the involvement of the community with each one of us keeping an eagle eye on everything that crosses our path and identifying anything and everything we notice which mis-describes or mis-labels us.

But the next step is equally important.

I would suggest that for this problem to be properly handled, once the mis-recording has been identified, we need to report it to an institution such as The Sikh Coalition. And let its staff address it thereon because it will be easy if professionals approach the carrier of the misinformation and present the case for why it needs to be rectified.

If done in this way, it divides up the tasks according to skill, talent and resources, and produces an efficient and desirable outcome.

It also creates a long-term solution, giving notice to the world that all of such mischief is being monitored.

That’s one way in which each one of us can help, no matter what our background and occupation.

The other way we can help is by strengthening the hands of The Sikh Coalition -- and any other institution that takes up this important, nay, critical task -- by contributing to them financially so that they can then assign an entire team to tackle the problem.

Let’s not fool ourselves. This is a gargantuan problem … and it will require a super-human push to wrestle it to the ground and conquer it. Not something individuals can do individually.

But it’s something we can certainly do by doing it togethe



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