Monday, December 21, 2015

Netas as Netizens

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Active involvement and easy accessibility to internet has made us global netizens.  Distance, Language, race or color, country and wherever we are (including the space station) or whatever we are doing, all we need is an internet connection to instantly share with the rest of world.  The very good (or bad) thing is anything we put out there is easy shared with anyone else on the net, making an instant statement on just about everything.

India has the second most mobile population (second only to China).  There are approximately 997 plus million mobiles in use in India compared to 1,276 million in China.  Added to that India has (a little user less density) approximately 375 million internet users compared to 668 million internet users in China.

The per capita income for China is $13,224 a year which is 86 rank in the world verses Indian’s $5,808 a year which is ranked as 125 in the world.  Neither countries are in the top 25 countries in the world in per capita, as they are with population, mobile users and internet users.

In the last decade communications have under gone a new paradigm across the globe.  Television. Satellite, telephone, mobiles, internet and every way we communicate has become cheap and available to almost everyone.  Communications have also made people quite accessible to each other, irrespective of where they live (barring a few countries with restrictions).  Internet has been especially instrumental in instant communications to millions, and the medium is being constantly used for blabber whatever comes to one’s mind in every available language.  Context, logic, research, reality, truth, and any human beliefs have become a matter of history when someone gets a chance to type into the internet.  No one seems to care as the old five minutes of fame has now become 5 seconds of fame, and the abuses keep coming as quickly as one can type.

Focusing on the Indian Netas (politicians and bureaucrats), mostly focusing on the folks in Delhi and the northern Indian states, the internet has become a place for mockery and stupidity on a regular basis.  We have cases of politicians simply typing tweets that are borderline lunacy.

After the last nationwide election in 2014, and the time after with a lot of new faces in Indian politics, Indians have been inundated with a lot of netizen netas.  Indian public is subjected to their relentless stupidity, simply because they have access to the internet.

Starting the observation with Modi and PMO, which provides updates on a regular basis, we get to see the daily dose of Modi’s whereabouts and his schedule.  This in today’s time and date is a good way to see what the highest elected office is doing on a daily basis.  It is in tune with any other democratically elected government and heads of state in the world.  The mostly generic information and pictures of PM, his schedule and meetings keep us informed of his office and activities.  The Indian PMO since Modi took office has been doing a good job of sharing his schedule and activities.  Where the PMO lacks is updating the public of the announced government programs and their status.  It would be a phenomenal change to the Indian politics if the PMO were to place every program announced by the government and where each program stands with implementation.  Modi will instantly become a leader par excellence if he is able to be transparent.

Many of the Indian parliamentarians, state and local level politicians are also active on the internet.  With the ability to write and post in local languages, these folks are ready to type away (with instant translation available to the rest of us) in whatever language and whatever they feel like (mostly crap) and at every opportunity they get, to attack their opposition.  It is unbelievable that these folks get elected, and many times several times to public office.  The language they use, the animosity, the illogical accusations and mostly venting on someone else in political office, typically with someone they have either worked together or will have to work together.

If we thought that these outbursts are limited to illiterate politicians (India has an abundance of them), it is not.  Lately we have had new politicians who are well educated and severed in high level civil services of the country before becoming politicians who make statements on the internet, which will be edited out on TV and the movies.  The simple access and no editor makes them go wild and type obnoxious statements.  India has forgotten its decorum and respect for public at large.

The choice of language and words spoken or typed have become so personal in attacks, children and women might not want to see any TV or get on the internet to follow these folks.  This is just because of the availability of the internet and the unedited ability to say or type.

It is perhaps the time to demand accountability and respectability from politicians.  We elect them and we also should be able to force decorum into the political process.  The offensive and antagonistic attitudes don’t add any value to the democracy or governance.

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