Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Story of Report My Signal Email Forum and Blog

Today’s veterans are yesterday’s uniformed!!
Having spent many years in the Corps, some as much as 38 years, the Corps becomes more than a family for them. However, on retirement most veterans head home, some take up jobs and a few migrate to other countries. The only medium for Corps news is The Signalman. It is published every four months and the news becomes old by the time our Corps magazine reaches the veterans.

Saddest part is delayed and lack of information about those who pass away. The Friends and Comrades are unable to pay Shradhanjli to the departed souls. Also there is no platform where Corps veterans are able to express their views and thoughts about professional and Corps matters.

A periodic email based letter named REPORT MY SIGNAL was started by Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh, Signal Officer-in-Chief and Senior Colonel Commandant 1988-91, about five years back, with 15-20 email addresses of the Corps Veterans. The Aim was to do networking, remain in touch and exchange information about the veterans and other matters of mutual interest. REPORT MY SIGNAL was chosen as the Title, since it epitomises the Corps of Signals ethos. After a few months, Brig CS Kamboj, VSM took over the reigns. With his dynamism and dedication, he soon made it very popular and informative.

It has become single most important source of the Corps and other news for over 1200 veterans and some ladies from All the Three Services, including 47 ESM organisations, spread all over the world, who have joined up the email list. During 2008, 387 emails were sent out by “Report My Signal”. All the members and ESM organisations on the emailing list of “Report My Signal” have their forward emailing nets. It is estimate that within 24 hours of an email going out from “Report My Signal” around 12000 to 15000 veterans read that email. A large number of Blogs have started posting the emails of “Report My Signal” on their own blogs. However, this forum can only be periodic and every word has to be typed by Brig Kamboj himself.

The advent of Blogs set us thinking to start a Corps Blog. Based on suggestion to Brig Kamboj, he was able to identify (discover would be more appropriate) Col James Kanagaraj, living in Chennai, in Nov 2007, who was then on a visit to USA. Col James Kanagaraj has turned out to be a technical wizard and highly motivated and dedicated. Using emails between Brig Kamboj in NOIDA, Col James in USA and self in Chandigarh, we were able to work out the design and layout of Report My Signal Blog within a few weeks.

Though the original idea was to have only one blog for Shradhanjlis, we decided to split this one Blog into three blogs (Shradhanjli, Veterans Affairs and Professional). The Blog was formally launched on 01 Dec 2007, with an email from Brig CS Kamboj on his Report My Signal Forum.

There was a need to have one to two more veterans to act as moderators. Soon we had two volunteers; Brig Sukhwinder Singh and Maj Ramesh Agnani. However, Maj Agnani asked to be relieved after a few weeks due to other commitments that he had. Since then Col James Kanagaraj has been the Moderator for Veterans and Shradhanjli Blogs and Brig Sukhwinder Singh has been managing the Professional Matters Blog.

Blog is short form of ‘Weblog’ and is a journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. In a classical blog, people worldwide can themselves add comments/views. However, since our Blog deals with Service people and matters, the procedure adopted is that all those who want to post anything on the Blogs have to send the same to the two Moderators, who then post the contents on the Blogs.

The Blog “Shradhanjli” is exclusively for use by All Ranks of Signals. For other two Blogs, all Veteran Officers of the Indian Defence Services are welcome to participate. Generally speaking, all matters concerning the Veterans, professional matters dealing with the Defence Forces, National Security, Technology etc keeping in view security aspects, Shradhanjlis to comrades from Corps of Signals are accepted for posting on the these Blogs. Messages dealing with politics, religion and business are not accepted and security aspects are kept in view.

From a modest unique hits of 20- 30 in Dec 2007 the Blog has grown to hit range of 250- 285 with daily total hits ranging 650 a day in Dec 2008. There has been surge of visits to topics on "Sixth Central Pay Commission" and "Mumbai Terror Attacks".

The Report My Signal Blog is visited by interested people all over the world and has become one of the premier source for information as also expressing opinions and thoughts on National Security and Service matters. It is also heartening to know that we now come to know about the demise of our comrades in the Corps more promptly and are able to pay Sharadhanjlis to them.

Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh,PVSM (Retd)
This article was published in SIGNALMAN, the premier Magazine of Corps of Signals

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The contents posted on these Blogs are personal reflections of the Bloggers and do not reflect the views of the "Report My Signal- Blog" Team.
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Blog Moderator: Lt Col James Kanagaraj (Retd)