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Going online to make a change

For Mumbai’s student community, going online is no longer only about Facebook or YouTube.
Hindustan Times | By Apoorva Puranik, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2013 09:52 AM IST

For the city’s student community, going online is no longer only about Facebook or YouTube.

If the number of online petitions doing the rounds is anything to go by, it is about an attempt to bring about a change, to contribute in some degree to the issues they care about.

The latest to have gathered people’s attention is the one challenging Congress MP Raj Babbar’s statement on how one can have a meal worth Rs 12 in Mumbai.

An online petition challenging him to prove his claim has seen over 15,000 signatures in just three days.

With many online platforms such as and offering one a chance to start a petition and garner thousands of signatures for it in just a few clicks, it takes only a trigger to start off a nation- wide campaign.

Kshitij Garg, a BITS Pilani student, started an online petition against the JEE normalisation formula by the CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi, titled

‘Vineet Joshi stop the highly erroneous normalisation for CBSE JEE (main) ranking,’ on

The petition gathered a lot of steam and within a month Garg received over 8,000 signatures and a high court case was filed against Joshi.

“I wanted people to realise that something wrong was happening with the students. It’s a pity it took so long for the case to land up in court but I’m glad it ultimately happened. Such petitions are popular with youngsters as they are perennially online. If they get a chance to support something they care about, they jump at it,” said Garg.

Another post-graduate student, Abhishek Shaw, worked for a petition to ban manual scavenging.

“We wanted more and more people to realise how degrading this job is and thus create pressure on authorities to formulate a law to ban it. However, such petitions are effective only if they can impact the right people at the right time,” said Shaw, an intern in a media house.

Those who cannot be physically involved in causes they believe in feel a sense of involvement through these petitions.

“No one can take time off work in the middle of the day to go to Azad Maidan and join a rally. An online petition is the next best thing,” says Neha Joshi, who had started an online petition ‘Save our teachers’, in support of the teacher’s strike.

“We made a Facebook page, a twitter handle and also generated an online petition. We managed to convey the real cause behind the teachers’ strike. The only reason it could reach so many people was because of its online presence,” said Joshi, who has just graduated from from Ruia College, Matunga.

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