Where The Mind is Without Fear... The New Meaning of Independence For A Digital India

Posted 8/16/2015

As I write this post on the occassion of Independence Day, the patriotic fervour has been higher than I have ever seen in my conscious years. In an age where the distance between thought to tweet is 140 characters and an entire nation can be bridged with seven degrees of WhatsApp group separation; thoughts and opinions can travel....fast.

69 long years since India became an independent nation. Time enough for an entire generation to pass. Today's senior citizens are not those who fought during the Independence movement. We have a Prime Minister who was born in independent India. For a large part of the population today the mention of Vande Matram evokes images of the Bharat Bala produced A.R. Rahman rendered Maa Tujhe Salaam and not the original lyrics penned by
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee that used to float liltingly over the air waves every morning and perhaps still do.

The symbols of Digital India's pride are different from that of the previous generation. The binding glue of today's India is the mobile phone. If there is one asset that is availble in a majority of the 200 million households which have 996 million mobile subscribers it is the mobile phone and with 280 million of them connected to the internet!

No other medium today can promise this kind of reach or penetration. The various messengers services have woven a web where dissemination of information happens real time as it happens.

Rural-urban, literate-illiterate, the haves- the havenots, young-old there is no chasm that is not bridged today in terms of a common platform of presence. Today, more that ever before the average Indian speaks his mind, airs his opinions and views to the world at large, he tweets, blogs, creates and forwards WhatsApp messages. Today support is not silent, anonymity is not a required condition for going anti-establishment or for that matter anti anything.

The growing confidence of being one of the faces in the crowd and not afraid of being seen as one. Being a part of an uprising or a movement much akin to the crowds that were a part of the independence movement. Only difference, they now do it with a few key punches or screen touches on their phones. In the comfort of their homes or while on the move.

The dream of using the mobile as a vehicle for upliftment, progress, betterment (pick a term of your choice) is not a distant one. The first step of embracing change has been taken and how!!

Today, more than ever before, we really can understand the meaning of Rabindranath Tagore's immortal words and maybe, just maybe, hope to make our tryst with destiny! To close I quote the poem that inspired this post.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

Wishing that all of us find and revel in the greatest independence there can be... THE FREE MIND!!