Gandhi Comes to WIPO

Well not literally…but metaphorically and perhaps metaphysically as well. IPWatch (the leading news service on all matters pertaining to international intellectual property) reports that a WIPO senior official, Anil Sinha recently adopted Mahatma Gandhi’s fasting strategy in an attempt to draw attention to the plight of “restructured” WIPO officials. It reports:

“A senior official at the World Intellectual Property Organization recently sent an internal letter to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry announcing that he would be undertaking a fast, depriving himself of food during a period of reflection in protest of his treatment as staff after more than two decades there. And while the complaint is a personal one, the official’s letter brings attention to the sometimes uncomfortable strategic realignment taking place at the UN agency.

The letter, dated 1 May and available here, is from Anil Sinha of India, a counsellor in the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Section of the new WIPO Innovation Division. Sinha said in the letter that he had been happy as the head of the Executive Program in the WIPO Academy, and was upset at the closing of the academy and his move to the SME Division. And now with the SME Division being moved under the Innovation Division, he felt the need to take action.

He said a meeting with Gurry did not resolve his concerns, and that “in my quest for justice and fair treatment, I am compelled, as of today, May 1, 2012, to go on a fast.” The fast was still continuing this week, according to sources.

…he said, “there is a palpable sense of injustice, insecurity and fear plaguing many hearts and minds in this Organization. … [T]he mechanical and inhumane manner in which the reforms have been carried out has left many of us feeling shortchanged, aggrieved and alienated.”

As many of our readers may be aware, the new age Gandhi, Anna Hazare repopularised this age old technique hardly a year back, threatening to starve himself to death till his demands were met…and strong demands they were, particularly around the precise shape that an anti-corruption bill ought to take. Unfortunately, while the movement showed initial promise and had many rallying around in support (and I was one of the few that wrote publicly in favour of the movement and its potential to democratise policy making), it died a slow death owing to a rather militant attitude (our way or the high way) and the lack of a coherent vision. 

One hopes (desires) that Anil Sinha’s andolan fares better and the matter is resolved soon to the mutual satisfaction of all at the World’s top IP body. But to hark back to a Ghalibian sentiment aroused during the hey days of the Anna agitation, Hazaaron Khwaishe Aisi….

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2 thoughts on “Gandhi Comes to WIPO”

  1. Dear Shamnad,
    Thank you very much for this nice piece of work. I attached your article with others published in FICSA and IP Watch.

    Finally, Anil has broken his “Fast” on Friday night. I hope discussions are on the way.

    Indian government is not serious about the problems of Indians facing under the present governance. I will continue convey my view point to the Government of India through Youtube. My next video will be for Mr. Anand Sharma, Min of Comm and Industry.

    (1st victim of Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General, WIPO)

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