Wednesday, May 18th

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Technology roasted in lockdown

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By Sidharth Mishra

So the lockdown, for all practical purposes, is here again; lockdown for the office-going, law-abiding and such other people. The protocols issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has put the shackles and one is back to doing what one does best in such situation – scroll up and down on the screen of the phone.

This being the festive season of polls, the pop-ups on the screen is full of political messages. And it would not be out of place to say that technology–enabled history rewriting is playing the biggest villain of Indian society, including politics.

Howsoever you may not want it, one ends up being members of WhatsApp groups which have the roots in the caste, region and language. And there starts the lessons in Indian history from ancient, to medieval and modern. Given the reporter’s itch, the writer habitually ends up reading these discourses and if nothing else pull own hair with dismay and disgust.

By the way of being a born Brahmin, in recent times one has received a video clip of how Akhilesh Yadav badmouths Brahmins. It related to probably his days as Chief Minister where he is shown reprimanding a doctor, who happened to be Brahmin. The source of the video needs no guessing, and soon there were counters and counter-counters, and then one lost the count of the Brahmin-bashing videos of every hue and ilk. There must persecution stories floating for other castes too. 

Then came a forward from a Delhi University college professor. It said Brahmins have been at the receiving end for no fault of theirs. To endorse his, the forward went onto to mention that concept of caste was created by Ved Vyas, who was not born of Brahmin parents.  Now who would check on Ved Vyas’s birth certificate!

Then came the advice on where should honeymooners pose for photographs. Goes without saying that it was targeted against the medieval monument of Taj Mahal. It said that the white marble structure did not deserve the stature it enjoys worldwide as there was another monument – Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai which Sir Dorabji Tata built in the memory of his wife Lady Meherbai Tata, who died of Leukemia.

No denying the service which Tata Memorial Hospital has done for the humanity specially the poor patients suffering from cancer but isn’t it asking for too much from honeymooners to opt for a photo outside Tata Memorial instead of Taj Mahal? 

Given the state of lockdown, the advisories on the use of medicines from common cold to curing of omicron infection too are arriving in torrent. Well WHO would be wondering about the resource base of the progenitors of these information.

And of course the forward on the breach of Prime Minister’s security during a visit to Punjab. Some of these forwards have attributed such ‘astute planning’ to the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi that the top honchos of Pakistan Army would be wondering about their capabilities.

Now talking of Punjab polls, which finds a lot of space on the city pages of Delhi edition papers. The news largely is about Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign. But an IITian like Kejriwal too would be cursing technology for the rerun of the videos of his activist days, preaching a Spartan lifestyle, which he doesn’t follow, going viral.

With the Election Commission extending the ban on public rallies till January 22, and with Delhi Government in no mood to relax the Covid-related norms, one may be assured another week of absurd lessons from history to medicine. And unfortunately there is no escape from it.  

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice)


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