Is Bandwidth more important than Food?

August 15, 2006 at 6:52 pm (News)

If you are a average Indian farmer and someone asks you what is important for you in life, what would be your answer?

Food? Irrigation? Farm subsidies? Lower borrowing rates for loans? Suicide problem?

REUTERS here reports that an Indian village has uploaded itself to the internet.

Ok, exposure to internet and computers is good. So? How is it going to solve the problems listed above?

The news report says that the database of entire 1,757 residents was uploaded to a website. WOW! What a feat!

“It will be a revolution,”

    – said farmer Ajaib Singh.

Ajaib doesn’t know how stupid he is. Can he tell us what help this revolution is?

The village does not have a single internet connection and most of the villages don’t know what the word computer means. Still, they claim this web initiative will help them connect to the outside world. You connect to the outside world and do what? Solve hunger problems? Solve Irrigation problems?

Another funny quote here from one of the villagers:

“Now we can put our problems on the Web site, and then the government can’t say ‘we didn’t know'”

I can’t stop laughing at this. So you think some minister somewhere will take responsibility for the problems posted in the website? Wait a minute, this village is in India. :) The minister will probably blame the ISI in Pakistan for running the website! :)

Bill Gates once famously said that his dream is to “Put PC in every home”. He probably meant “PC in every home, that can afford it”

I think janata should shed their obsession with Computers and Internet. They should stop dreaming that computer and internet exposure will solve a common man’s problem. A farmer with a annual income of less than a half a lakh does not need Tally or Microsoft Excel to maintain his accounts. In fact, he doesn’t even need a calculator.

A village with farmers committing suicides doesn’t need website!

A farmer hardly getting a square meal a day certainly does not need a email address for himself!



  1. Jeelz said,

    Hey anand dude – u r right – infact not too sure if u’ve visited the chennai central railway station – atleast the last time i was there there was free highspeed wi-fi internet available but the station lacked enough number of decent seats. It was quite a contrast to see that Broadband wi-fi was free but there were tons of people sleeping on the platform. But its good to see that the country is investing in the right places – every tomorrow will definetly be brighter than every today for India.

  2. vanand said,

    @Jeelz – I visit Chennai Central every Saturday :)

    But Yes, it has got Wi-Fi (provided by DishNet?) for over a year now. I have not used it myself but have heard it is pretty good. There is Wi-Fi in Chennai Airport also provided by TATA Indicom.

    Yes, – Chennai Central is more worried about investing money in a Wi-Fi booth rather than planning for more facilities for the common man. But hey, Wi-Fi news comes in Newspaper Headlines – adding more chairs to sit don’t even make it to the Public Service annoncement. :)

  3. arun said,

    i think these type of things like installing wi-fi in railway station / airport etc is more of interest to the company doing it, so they get advertised saying “chennai airport powered by dishnet” or whatever. who will recognize u if u install just chairs?
    moreover i dont think these are initiated by railway themselves – companies wud have approached them and they wud have thought – “what the hell – its free, lets santion it so ppl say we are doing something”..i dont think railway authority is so stupid, to invest money in wi-fi rather than basic needs…but from a user-poin-of-view u r absolutely rite, we need basic things, but unfortunately basic things can come only frm authorities and not provate companies.

  4. Kiran said,

    Hey Anand

    Wat u say is absolutely true … It is just an obsession with computers and internet . They think by doing so , it means we are advanced .. but i dont think so .. Our country would develop a lot if people have the same obsession for education !!

  5. vanand said,

    @arun – actaully, yes- it’s probably the companies who are pushing the Wi-Fi initiative.

    @Kiran – Hey Kiran, howdy!! Education – Yes. But I find it hard to believe when someone says education can erradicate poverty and education can erradicate corruption. Poverty – to some extent agreeable , but corrpution – come on! Educated people will be more efficient in running corrupt govt offices.

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