Anonymity vs Invisibility

A comment that was submitted by anonymous@gmail.com to an earlier post that talked about corruption reads “Want to make some good money? Try to get a contract job with HCU. Be prepared to bribe everyone from the gatekeeper to the top guy. HCU is a filthy corrupt place.

Other than adding a ? I have done no editing, but I thought that rather than simply approve the anonymous comment, I would highlight it to request that if you are going to be a whistleblower, then (a) please be specific and (b) share your name, even if privately- I can assure you that I will respect confidentiality.

Specificity is useful if you want some action. In the above, the implication is that the guards (who, for the most part are Group 4 employees) all the way to the VC are taking bribes. Since I do have some knowledge of at least some part of this chain, I know that this is not true, even though I have been told that there are some areas in the University where there is serious cause for concern… Unless by “top guy” the writer means someone else, in which case it would be useful to know who.

About sharing your name. Anonymous letters are difficult to take seriously. I have got my first one, a typewritten page that is filled with half truths, untruths, and improper allegations (not just about me, about any number of people) and plain inaccuracies. What does one do with this other than discard it totally? I know that the person who wrote it must be aware of this- and may well read this post, so here is an offer I hope you cannot refuse: If you are serious about it, engage in a dialogue and I will guarantee both privacy and confidentiality. Write to me here.

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5 thoughts on “Anonymity vs Invisibility

  1. Perception is an useful concept that is difficult to quantify. However, we perceive a system based on our experiences, however incomplete or imperfect it may be. This perception drives our future actions and influences our thoughts. In some way, it becomes irreversible.

    Sometime back, I requested the webmaster to put a button (tenders) on the home page of our web page so that all tenders can be accessed from the home page. I could not figure out how to access the tenders from the web page. And if I could not figure it out, very few could. Therefore based on my perception I can convincingly say that the university tendering process is opaque (till the other day) and therefore malafide. Now you can find the tender button on the top of our home page. This small step goes a long way.

    Transparency is the best antidote for most of these maladies. When I do not agree with someone, I first want to hear his points and perhaps several times and over several days. When I was in one of the committees, I did study over a few days (close to a month) the intricacies of the the air-conditioning and was convinced that we are not getting a fair deal. To be fair, one of the contractor’s man came and explained the software he used but could not explain my queries. I gave up.

    Whenever we are trying to hide something from someone, our perception suffers. We need to do something about it. Urgently. Today one can run, but cannot hide.

    By the way, the university email system is terribly insecure. It is good enough for circulation of notices and less important matters (my email has been locked, without notice and I cannot see my emails). It may be more convenient to make a email just for this purpose.

  2. “Anonymous” may serve a limited purpose, but often it alerts the system to relook at its internal working. Often people, who consider themselves to be those “gunned down by the system” tend to voice their perceptions, however misconcived they may be, through anonimity.

    It is heartening to see that the head of UoH is willing to bring it into public domian.

    I do not think that our university is “filthy corrupt place”. It is a thousand times better than several institutions. However in the last 5 years, the way the things are done by the administration of UoH, unfortunately endorsed by the EC, (without transparency, and in a manner indicating underhand dealings) gave credence to this new perception that UoH is also corrupt.

    It is time that the leadership of the UoH, (whether one likes it or not the leadership is in the hands of few Deans, Heads, VC, Registrar and EC) take remedial measures to make three things:

    1. Make things transparent

    2. Do not tamper with the basic system (For instance, per the sake of one individual our administration has completely messed up the list of seniority, even disregarding the UGC rules)

    3. Follow the rules strictly.

    Hope something good would emerge out of this open discussion on corruption.

    Professor Atlury Murali

  3. Pingback: A Indian University Vice Chancellor’s blog « The k2p blog

  4. The issue I think is not so much anonymity in itself but the protection of the genuine “whistleblower”. The problem is that malicious people exploit the anonymity to malign others or pursue their own personal feuds or jealousies.
    I tried once – when I was MD – to address this by asking the complainants to at least reveal their identities to one of the independent directors on my board. But it was not very successful – probably because “independent” directors in India are not perceived as being very independent.
    The consequence was unfortunately that some anonymous complaints were discarded prematurely but every anonymous note was at least taken to be a warning of a potential case of misconduct. But it demands much management time which – I think – must be found.

  5. Only, recently i came to view this discussion on this blog. Many students, who stay in hostel K, feel that lot of corruption took place in constructing this hostel, which was opened in the last week of July. Water seeps from the roofs of toilets. Drainage system is not in good condition. Those hostels, which were constructed 20 years back, are in good condition rather than our new hostel. How can this happen? I hope this would not happen in the case of new hostels which are in the process of construction.

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