Internet- An equaliser and bringer of revolution

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Happy Independence Day to all of you!

It is indeed a day of great joy to have a whiff of freedom in the morning. Freedom to learn what one want, freedom to make mistakes and freedom to speak what comes to mind, these three freedoms are so rare that it feels blessed to have them even though not always does a man needs one or all of them. Learning history of India a person must soon realise that besides the men that fought for our freedom there were two more things that contributed to the success of the movement- Trains and Post Office.

India was a country divided by caste, religion and culture. It still is to a large scale unfortunately but in those times it was rigid to the core. In a circumstance where a high caste person will not touch a lower class person the trains came into being. In 1851, the first train moved from Mumbai (Bombay then) to Thane. Robert Maitland Brereton was responsible for its expansion in India and soon people of every caste were moving together. Need superseded the past and people mingled and realised they have to fight together for our freedom.

Similarly, Post office holds an important place in the unity of people. Established in 1774, it is a lot older than train system in India but it was the first mode of communication that was possible for general people at a cheaper cost. Suddenly, knowing the well being of your loved ones who are far away did not remain a dream. People could interact over long distances and after the arrival of trains the speed of communication increased dramatically.

These two are not exactly technological advancements, especially the post office. But, seemingly it embraced technology at a faster pace of the two in recent times. The dawn of internet brought email- a mode of communication that replicated the post office albeit made it lightening fast (literally!) and more trust worthy with immediate replies becoming a norm. The internet though was not satisfied. Thus came social media- the facebooks, the twitters, the linkedins etc. Suddenly, people had not just the option to talk to people one on one but project out their thoughts to the world at large. Also, the world no longer confined to a small group of people you knew. This blog post for example will be read by many people whom I do not know, may never meet and yet in a tryst of destiny we have connected.

How are the two things connected you may ask? The connection lies in two places.

  1. Transfer of Knowledge.
  2. Equality of People.

Post office and trains brought these two things. People got together bringing culture of different parts on a single table or rather in a single compartment. Information could be delivered to different places fast and thus helped in mobilization of people. And most importantly, everyone was not the same platform (no pun intended).

With internet the pace of information transfer has increased to astounding levels. An earthquake hits an area and 200 km away people know about it before feeling it and it does not need to be a news channel for this. Any ordinary person (you or me) are responsible for this. If an individual has thoughts he has the freedom to express it to the whole world. Power has come to people and this has brought true equality. A forum is a place where any person can talk to any other or get help for his problems. No longer is a person restricted to people around him. He has the freedom to know the solution to his problems (from how to make a cookie to how to make a rocket) online. I know some might argue that this has diluted individual’s effect as a whole but that is what democracy is about. There is a lot of noise covering up the knowledge now but isn’t it far better to have a needle in a haystack than having no needle at all!

As for the revolution, India gained independence from trains and post office, Internet brought revolution to Egypt and Tunisia. People who had never met, people who did not know each other but shared the same gripe came online, realized a change was needed and in less than a year these two countries saw overthrowing of whole regimes. Even now, as we can see movement against corruption in India, internet is playing its due part in it. People move but they need leaders and they need unification. Trains and Post Office brought unification for our nation’s independence then. Internet is giving the same platform now at a global level.

Happy Independence Day!

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