So, English is your first language..impressive, you know your wines and cheese, have a multi digit audience on twitter and facebook. You flash the latest in mobile telecommunication technology. Have an ‘app’ for tying your shoe laces to pacifying the kids..! And enjoy nothing less than High Def in your home theater. You are the technocrati of today…!!
Now close your eyes and wake up to a new day. A day without the daily e-mails, without the digital noise around you, without the internet, the social networks, the latest cellphone and ringtones, the eye popping T.V. screen and yeah, even loose the digital alarm clock. How does it feel ? Lost ?. It sounds almost medieval to begin with. But this reality is not far from you. If you live anywhere in India then not more than an hour’s drive out of the city will take you to such a place. This stark difference between the haves and the have-nots of the digital technology is what is called the Digital Divide.
Most of us reading this today have been born into a world where we put air, water, fire, food, shelter, pollution, internet, junk food, violence and entertainment overload in the same scheme of things. We inherited them. We take them for granted. But is that actually a thin bubble that we all are living in. I used to hear stories of old age communication, of the first television set, of the first phone call my dad ever made, of the first vehicles seen on roads from my grand parents. Sadly, in many parts of the country the story still remains the same. On the other hand we are fed with tons of news reclaiming India’s status as the’ next super power’. We have IT dollars and IT parks and High-Tech cities. But sadly, a lot that I have seen as a traveler, photographer ,health professional, we are living under the shadows of our own laurels.
To cite some startling facts. Only near 5% of the world has gained access to World Wide Web. Also this digital divide is in parallel with the economic divide of any country. As the divide between the rich and poor increases (which is actually happening at a feverish pace in our country) so does the economic instability and the unrest among the people. it wont be long when we would be standing on the brink of a major citizen revolution.I havent even started talking about the economic contrast of rich getting rich, and the poor poorer. I am just dealing with a not-so-basic facility of computers and internet.
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Thanks a lot for reading.
P.S. about the picture : This was clicked while travelling to a village in Mahrashtra, India. The fellow was pretty excited to see what I was doing beneath a cargo train in the middle of the day. I was excited to see he had no clues about all the state of the art gadgetry that keeps us glued.
17th of May happens to be the World Telecom Day, intended to bridge this divide.
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