|17th August 2000 - Page 3|
|INDIA - THE ROAD AHEAD|
|Being merely sixteen years of age, and living a
completely urban life, there are many areas in India, my own country, that remain
unexplored. I might have visited on an average around twelve cities within India, all of
which also happen to be urban in character while most of India actually exists in rural
areas. It is for this very reason that I feel, that being a part of less than 1% of the
privileged class in India, and living a relatively "sheltered" life, I am not
fully satisfied with my exposure within the national territory.
However, outside this territory, irrespective of the number of cities or countries I might have visited, I often feel directly linked to the world when I am connected to the World Wide Web. I feel strongly that the reason it has become so much a part of my life is the convenience factor. It is the fact that just one click can open up the whole world in front of your eyes. It is the fact that it's easy, quick and accessible- all at the same time. Lastly, it is the fact that it allows me to interact with people of all cultures and backgrounds in the comfort of my room. While it makes me realize that I'm a "small" part of the world, it also gives me a sense of belonging, which is different and wider in scope than my sense of belonging towards India alone.
Distance no longer is a hurdle or a barrier between me and my family or friends. With the advancement of electronic mail and chat facilities on the Internet, direct and almost effortless communication on a daily basis is possible. Being in constant touch with a computer is now equivalent to being in constant touch with the whole world. Ironically, there seems to be more communication with people outside the local territory than with people within it. It is easier to connect in the comfort of my room, with flexibility of time and place, than it is to travel distance even as little as a few kilometers. With further advancement and the coming of voice operated computers, it might even seem an effort to use the telephone!
However this window to the world may never have opened up for me if it wasn't for my knowledge of language. I now realize greatly the value of the English language every time I connect to people outside India or gain any knowledge through the net that I may never have gained other wise. The fact that we Indians have mastered a universally accepted language such as English has given us a definite edge over many others. It has provided us with a steady platform on which we can develop ourselves and build on our existing knowledge immensely. Similarly, the fact that I'm well versed in Hindi, which is our national language, has helped me to connect and relate to people of my own nation. Without this knowledge, I would feel lost in my very own locality. There is no doubt that this is invariably the best linguistic background we could hope for and that it will only help further the progress of any vigilant and eager Indian citizen.
The other link to people and places is the television. The progress that India has made over the years has resulted in quality programs being aired and the coming of international channels has ensured a sure improvement in the standard of awareness. However the reason that the Internet has now taken over is because the television is not self directed. It does not allow me to visit specific places or specific people at specific times. It only indirectly links me to the world but does not allow direct communication with people. For some reason, the world still seems far and distant through this medium. However it does have a more direct link to people of my own nation as compared to the net, and helps me to know more about my back round and origin.
Being more in touch with advancement and technology and in turn with different cultures, places and people has given me a certain confidence that I can adapt to places other than my city. This confidence has given me the chance to explore options available for me out of India for higher studies. I now feel that though I might have problems adjusting initially, I would fit in eventually because I have learnt that I can relate to people coming from diverse cultures. I have also learnt that there are certain differences between people of different sources and lifestyles and will always be, but there still exists a common thread of humanity that binds us all together.
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