A letter from IBM, for Gaurav

InstaPundit’s intial post on Gaurav Sabnis issue seemed that IBM was being unfair with him. This superbly written letter which was later published as an update [via] in InstaPundit’s blog was written by an IBM employee. The IBM employee points out the case as IIPM Vs The Indian Blogosphere and not IBM Vs the Indian Blogosphere, with enough arguments.

The letter from the IBM employee is re-produced here from InstaPundit’s site –

As an IBM employee I was very interested to read about IBM vs The Indian Blogosphere, however if you read Gaurav Sabnis’s post you’ll see that isn’t actually the case, or at least it shouldn’t be. Rather it’s a case of IIPM – The Indian Institute of Planning and Management – and their reprehensible tactics in attempting to silence a critic. As far as I can tell much of the brouhaha on this issue re:IBM has arisen from the article you linked to on Global Voices posted by Neha Viswanathan. That article excerpts Gaurav Sabnis’s blog post where he announces that he’s resigning from IBM, however it does so without mentioning why he left, loyalty.

It seems that the Dean of IIPM contacted Lenovo (IBM) and threatened them with a student protest where IBM Thinkpads would be burnt in front of the IBM offices in Delhi. In the face of what could only have been a public relations disaster Lenovo demanded that Gaurav do…nothing. No pressure was brought to bear, no demands were made, there was no “counseling session” where it was darkly hinted that any failure to mollify the demands of IIPM would go on his permanent record, nothing.

In fact Gaurav decided to resign because out of appreciation and a sense of loyalty to IBM. He wrote, “The second thing dear to me is IBM’s well-being. IBM has been a good employer to me. I have no complaints about them. Even in light of these events, they did not pressurise me to go against my principles and hush the matter up. Yet, IBM was being dragged into this unnecessarily. It was being made a target of bizarre pressure tactics. If even one Thinkpad laptop was actually burnt, it would cause a lot of bad press and nuisance for IBM. So I did not want IBM’s well-being to be compromised in any way.”

To me that is the big story, that any corporation can still inspire such loyalty in it’s employees that they’d rather leave the company than see it get hurt is, these days, nothing short of wondrous. That there are still people like Gaurav Sabnis who stick to their principles, even when it means making the tough decisions, is marvelous. I’m sorry I never got a chance to meet the man, or work with him, as he’s exactly the kind of person we need to keep.

Do it !! Do it !! Do it !!

7 thoughts on “A letter from IBM, for Gaurav

  1. Just a thought… The post I had at Global Voices clearly states that IBM was NOT to blame. In fact I had quoted Sabnis at the exact places where he clarifies the context of him working at IBM, and the dynamic of relationships.

    At a personal level, I don’t agree with the way IBM reacted. The very fact that they accepted the resignation with the urgency that they did might reflect on IBM’s ability to deal with a PR crisis.

    My intent at Global Voices was to reflect popular mood and opinion, and not colour the issue with (an overdose) of my own inclinations. 🙂

  2. Ridiculous…

    Making Sabnis look like a hero that is…

    I feel that his quitting IBM was the most immature thing to happen in this whole episode, more than that of the IIPM dudes threatening to burn laptops.

    So what happens if he joins MicroSoft and IIPM threatend to switch over all their Windows OS to Linux. He’s gonna quit again ?

    By quitting IBM, he actually pettied the whole issue . I’m sure IIPM is having a heart laugh…

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