An Open Letter to the Core Team, Antaragni ’17

Dear Antaragni core team,

Hope you have recovered from the euphoria of having conducted the most awaited calendar event in IIT Kanpur. Congratulations on inviting some of the biggest names in entertainment industry! But in doing so, respecting the intellectual property of a fellow student organisation probably slipped low on the priority list.

While walking past the imposing standee displaying the schedule near the pronites ground, something odd caught my notice. I was sure I read ‘Vox’ somewhere on the the banner but I had to pause and scan it to realise what it was. A competition, called ‘Vox Walks’, planned for Antaragni without the Vox Populi team having any knowledge of it! Over the course of the next three days, I was approached by multiple people, mostly Vox team members, curious about its presence. It was not easy trying to convince them that as the Chief Editor of the body, I had no clue why the name ‘Vox’ appeared on the schedule.

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t might seem too trivial an incident to be even given a second thought, but let me explain why I feel otherwise. I take offence to the fact that not just the name of the body, but a specific series (Vox Walks) has been blatantly used without permission. I have no knowledge of how the event was conducted, who judged the entries or if it even saw the light of the day. What I do know, however, is that the reputation of an organisation I lead was in the hands of individuals who did not find it appropriate to take consent before using its name. While discussing this, a friend of mine casually commented that it would reflect badly if the event is not judged fairly. To be honest, this was the least of my concerns. Since our success as a journalism body depends heavily on how our readers perceive us, I was more worried about how the participants were treated. An act like not distributing prizes (something Antaragni is infamous for!) would forever tarnish our image, for no fault of ours. I am not sure if the people who thought of including the event are aware of the concept of ‘Vox Walks’. Since it involves talking to random people, any number of issues could have come up regarding inappropriate interactions. Only time will tell if my fears come true or not.

Next, let me talk about something that probably hits closer to home for you. I take my role of a mentor and a team leader seriously and that is the second reason why I find this incident so disturbing. As student organisations, Vox Populi or Antaragni do not exist for the sole purpose of publishing articles or organising a cultural festival. They also carry the responsibility of enriching students with qualities which are expected of the leaders and influencers of tomorrow. As the senior most members of the team, the onus is upon us to ensure it happens. By letting such an incident occur, you have implicitly sent out the signal to future generations of core team members that it is acceptable to not respect the intellectual property of others. In the confines of our campus, it might be brushed under the carpet or go unnoticed but it definitely will not be the case outside.

I sincerely hope that after reading this letter you will introspect and appreciate the responsibility you shoulder when organising an event of this magnitude.

Sincerely,

Simrat Singh