CORRECT and POSITIVE USAGE OF INTERNET
Internet connects the whole world, be itgoogle, what’s app, twitter, skype, face book, in a jiffy. This medium is very useful for educational, business, communication, connectivity with the whole world, as we all know. Cheap data prices have taken the internet to remote corners of the country. A look at how many ways it has changed the lives of residents of two villages. The development that happened in these two villages, is a must know, how internet can be used for good, progressive, positive purposes rather than using it for regressive, negative purposes, which doesn’t serve anybody’s purpose. Let us see how INTERNET changed lives in two obscure villages,
ABDULLAPUR (MEERUT) DEHRADUN:
Some 80 KMS from Delhi, in a dusty Meerut village that goes by the name of Abdullapur, where the only time 68-year-old Chaudhary Kallu Abbasi got to know the latest in techniques was, when district authorities held chaupals and meetings once in a while. “But that was before we got to know about internet” said Abbasi. “I don’t know how to go online, but my children keep telling me about new things in agriculture that they see on internet. I did not know the right amount of pesticides and fertilizers that should be put in the wheat crop. I had only learnt it with experience over time. But my son did a check on the internet and told me that I was using an abnormally high dosage, which I have been able to restrict now. Not just this, he helps me to get the actual market price of the crop. All these things were not possible earlier”.
As the internet turns 30, this month, it was awesome to find out how villagers in Abdullapur use the internet, to bridge gaps and come closer to what is happening around them. Not only the internet-masses vary from 9 years to 70 years old, they even use it for different purposes like, 5-minute crafts, modern farm innovations, video calling, studies, Google Maps, online shopping (that comes with a slight surcharge due to the location), YouTube videos and in some cases even Netflix.
Tanveer Fatma, says, “My husband works in Nepal as a cloth trader. Had it not been for the facility of video calling, I don’t know how we would have managed without seeing each other for long stretches of time. I also use You Tube to check new recipes. Just three months ago, I subscribed to Netflix, where I watch Hindi Series and movies”. People from all age groups have been using internet for the last few years in Abdullapur. While not all might be tech-savvy as Fatma, they have found that the internet can have multiple uses.
Nine-year-old Mueena Zaidi, a student of Class III said, “I use the internet to watch videos which help me understand Mathematics better. I also go online for my class craft projects. Some 5-minute crafts videos on You Tube come handy. I don’t have to trouble my mother about them”. Abdullapur ’s residents are from across the economic spectrum. While many residents have completed schooling or college, parents also try to ensure that their children study just like those in the city. However, the major occupation remains farming.
Ali Mehendi a student, said, “News too travels fast now unlike earlier. We had to wait for newspapers or check TV for News updates earlier, but now Facebook and Twitter have become even faster sources of News. Few watch TV now. However, sometimes fake news gets circulated on social media, especially WhatsApp. It is very important that we do not believe every video or message”.
Google Maps and net banking are no longer being used only in the Cities. “Earlier transferring money to my relatives and friends was a herculean task. If the money was to be transferred on bank holidays, it was a problem. But now I can transfer the money via net banking in a few minutes at any time off the day”, said Vipin Kashyap, who works as a site engineer with a Construction Company here. Kashyap further added, “slow internet connectivity was a major reason that it took time for the villagers to be better connected. Earlier the internet speed here wasn’t fast. Though net banking facility has been available for a long time, we couldn’t access it due to slow speed”.
Preparing for her Ph.D. at a University in Meerut, Sanya Naqvi said, “Online shopping is on-the-go and easy. It takes at least 45 minutes to reach the city’s main market from here. But even then I cannot be sure if I will find what I want. Instead I opt for online shopping and it is better because I can always exchange or seek a refund if I don’t like the item delivered”.
HOMESTAYS IN A REMOTE UTTRAKHAND VILLAGE
In its 30-year-old journey internet’s magic has touched, transformed many lives. But little did Tim Berners Lee know that his World Wide Web would become a lifeline for 35-year-old Ajay Bhatt thousands of miles away in India. Bhatt is the founder of the first homestay in Marwari, a village five KMS from Joshimath, a picturesque town in the border district of Chamoli. More fascinating is the story of how this six-roomed homestay cam about and how its success started a chain of homestays in Joshimath.
In March 2009, a Canadian couple had come to Joshimath. “They were looking for a homestay but no one had even heard of any such thing. But they insisted that they wouldn’t stay at a hotel. So I created some space for them in one of our rooms and they stayed there for a week. When they returned to Canada they wrote a review”, Bhatt said. Within days he was receiving hundreds of calls from foreigners looking to stay in his house and not some big hotel. “I didn’t know how they got my number. Finally, that couple called me and said they had written a review and even they were getting calls from their friends” Bhatt added.
The response made Bhatt think that this could be an opportunity. “I had never heard about the internet. But some hoteliers in the area said I could put my details online and people from any part of the world could contact me. So I got a connection immediately, built three more rooms and name my home “THE HIMALAYAN ABODE”. Within months all of them were booked” he said. Bhatt now earns well and employs around a dozen people.
His success made others in the area follow suit and there are over 30 homestays in Joshimath town these days. In just a decade, the villagers of Marwari whose primary occupation was agriculture have now shifted to tourism. Even those who cannot afford to build homestays have bought cars to take tourists around, while others have started cooking classes to teach foreigners local cuisines. Bhatt says one tourist visiting the villages provides employment to at least six people.
These two are classic examples, when internet is used in the correct way, positive results can be achieved. It is a contrast where one village has learnt the art of becoming an expert using internet in their day to day living, while the other has become a flourishing tourist spot, all because of INTERNET FACILTIY. Internet per se is a very useful tool, medium, when used for the purpose it is intended to rather than using it for any ulterior motives and purposes would definitely result in society becoming more“DEGENERATED, REGRESSIVE, NEGATIVE, INCREASE IN CYBER CRIMES COMMITTED, IN THE WAKE”.
We have all been witnessing how internet when not used for the purpose it was meant to be, that has resulted in the biggest controversy ever, where many skeletons have come out of the closets, with many more to come eventually. This growing trend is not good for the society, or the country in the long run. Bringing the culprits to accountability, is the only way, with awarding them severe punishments, in a fast, speedy trial, would bring some solace to the victims in these situations.
LET’S USE INTERNET IN A CORRECT AND POSITIVE WAY, FOR PERSONAL AND COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT TOO.
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.