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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Google at our service

Google is doing its bit - and knowing Google, I'll bet it's going to be quite a bit - to empower people at large with information to vote and to vote better in the coming general elections in India: see here

A few thoughts in this connection:

1. I'm glad that those who matter at Google recognise the importance of this event (they call it "the largest democratic event in human history"). Despite being nerds who are clever at math and programming and stuff, they have not lost sight of what really matters, of how information technology is just a fad if it is not employed to further real and deep human interests - such as choosing our governments wisely and well;

2. It makes me sad to think how little and how poorly India might use this wonderful facility they are offering. One part won't because they are too poor, too ignorant, too far outside the reach of the internet still. Another because - despite being 'educated' (in the current trivial sense, not in the sense that people like Socrates or Voltaire or Thomas Jefferson or Tagore understood it) - they are far more bothered about Grammy Awards and IPL cricket and what games they can download from the Net and how many idiots like themselves are scrapping them on orkut or Facebook! These are the types that the Roman emperors kept happy with bread and circuses. How little has changed in two thousand years...

3 comments:

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda,

Even though internet penetration in India is less, still you are correct in pointing out the misuse of Internet. While it is a boon to us to have so much information but for some reason we are misusing it. Sadly it is passing through the same degradation as television has seen. I am sure people with different personalities existed even in the earlier ages but somehow to-day the dumbness seems to be dominating. You hardly see good efforts being highlighted because there are many useless efforts which far outweigh the goods. For example, in the crowd of 90 disgusting television channels, a good channel like History gets over shadowed. I wonder sometimes if abundance of information is misused then what is the use of that. In our childhood, we had one Turning Point series, a single World this week series and we had to take recourse to good libraries to browse through the pages of Encyclopaedia Britannica. We valued those things immensely.

However, I do think some people do use Internet efficiently too. I keep on coming across decent websites; like you do and keep on highlighting them on my blog (my recent post has one of those sites mentioned on eve-teasing). The effort some us took to highlight the stroke foundation website did generate a positive response, I hear as many people made calls to the patrons. There will be always people who misuse facilities provided to them but I am sure there would be many more who use them efficiently. Just that, we get to see the later lot less as they are truly busy doing something important.

Partha Chatterjee said...

Dear Sir,
Whether its television or internet the mentally of the common herd has not changed.Most of my friends use google to search movie links ands websites where they can get songs for free.Nowadays the bloggers upload movies and songs.'Orkut.com'(aur kuch nahin.com,that's what I call it)has become the face of internet for this generation.Only a couple of my friends are bothered to read on the net.They are more intrested in wikipedia than facebook.As far as the common youth is concerned reading would be the last thing that they would think of.
People always find ways of misusing the resources that are available to them.One can only hope that someday the comman man will get bored of scrapping and downloading games,movies and songs and would start looking into websites like wikipedia.
Partha.

Rashmi said...

Thank you very much for this post Sir. It is a wonder how I seem to get solutions to all my queries through your blog with each passing day (As I am new to this blog,I have just started reading the older posts).With all the elections hub going on around me and almost everybody telling me with a sigh that ‘chahe koi bhi aaye,is desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta,politics ka kuch nahin ho sakta’,I was wondering silently what exactly a citizen must do(his/her homework) before he can rightly call himself/herself eligible to vote(which no one ever seems to discuss in India).And there you are, again at my rescue, giving me the link to google.
Unfortunately in India, inspite of being the largest democratic country, people hardly know what democracy exactly is (Not that I am an expert either but at least I have a zeal to learn more). And thanks to google, atleast for those interested and responsible few, things are made easier. Sir, please continue to share such useful links with your readers. There may be many who don’t care but there also many who are in need of such good stuff.
And as far as misuse of Internet is concerned, I agree is sad. I have been trying my bit by motivating my friends (who are very unlike the ‘we love to freak out type’) and by getting actively involved in good and beneficial discussions on blogs.
And as Partha has rightly reckoned, very few people use the net to study. After a lot of thinking, I have realized that many students are still unaware of the fact that there are many excellent websites on the net which provide insights into the subject more than any teacher does (these days).

Two of my favorites are (trust me they are extremely helpful for the higher secondary students):
www.glenbrook.k12.il.us (for physics)
www.chemguide.co.uk

Warm regards
Rashmi