A GIRL WITH A BASKET, A GIRL WITH A SMARTPHONE AND THE NEW DIGITAL AGE.
The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing. (Douglas Engel Bart)
In this digital age, we have an opportunity to transform the lives of people in ways that were hard to imagine just a couple of decades ago. (Prime-minister Narendra Modi at Silicon Valley on 26th September 2015)
In childhood, there was a chapter in the school’s English subject book. The name of this chapter was- A GIRL WITH A BASKET.
This was a true incident. William .C. Douglas, a noted American scholar, and judge of the Supreme Court wrote the incident based on an experience during his visit to India. This visit of Douglas to India was an attempt to understand the culture of India and to explore the pulse of this country. During this trip, he was also scheduled to visit Ranikhet. (Ranikhet falls in the state of Uttarakhand) and is a beautiful hill station on the mountain range of the Himalayas. Douglas had to go from Delhi to Bareilly by train, and then he had to travel further by road. The best means to understand India is by train. In a country with such diversities, the train is like a live movie showing the diversity of India. Douglas also got a glimpse of India’s diversity during his train journey. As he wrote, the train and platforms were filled with Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, soldiers, merchants, priests, porters, beggars, and hawkers. Almost everyone was barefoot and wore a loose white robe (shirt). When the train goes from one city to another city, it passes through countless villages on the way. India is still an agricultural country; seventy years ago industrialization was limited to a few big cities. Douglas has given a very good description of the villages visible from the train window.
When Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa, his reputation had come to India before him, his reputation as a true nationalist, and a warrior against British imperialism. Despite this, he found that due to being away from India for a long time and being an Indian, he again needed to understand India socially, economically, politically. To know India and get acquainted with its diversity, he also chose the train itself. If any traveler wants to understand India by train, then Gandhi’s writing on this subject must be read. .
It may be better to walk on foot than a train, but it will require a lot of time, and patience. Douglas probably took a passenger train, as he has written that it was also stopping at every small station while going from Delhi to Bareilly. Douglas was trying to make the common Indian’s view of world events, perhaps a comparative study, of equality and contradiction in the views of the Indian government and the common Indian.
During the train journey, Douglas landed at a small railway station to talk to fellow travelers on the platform. Then a crowd of refugee children surrounded him. In 1947, the partition of India and Pakistan was done based on religion, due to which about ten million Hindus had to leave their homes, property, jobs, employment in the new Muslim country of Pakistan and come to India. (BIGGEST MASS MIGRATION OF HUMANITY)
These refugee children belonged to a family who had lost everything in “Partition”. Selling goods made from hand.
All these children were selling simple handmade baskets. Inspired by the spirit of helping children, Douglas purchased some baskets even when not needed. During this time, a nine-year-old girl also repeatedly urged him to buy her basket. Douglas had both his hands filled with small baskets. The reason Douglas expressed his inability to buy the girl’s basket. The girl’s eyes were filled with tears. Douglas felt pity for the girl. He wants to give some money to the girl as help, but the girl rejects his kindness and asks to buy the basket again. Douglas now had to buy a basket to help the girl. That little girl’s face glowed with delight when Douglas bought the basket. Douglas was very impressed by this incident.
Later, during a meeting with the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru he mentioned this incident. He said that this incident gave him a glimpse of a wonderful India, the self-respect of the people of India, and the urge for freedom.
This wonderful story had no significant effect on me. Because my young age could not understand the real beauty of this story, and all my attention is more than the story: Which question can be asked from this chapter in the exam?
I liked and disliked this chapter for some other reasons. the story mentioned Ranikhet, my father, who was the Executive Engineer in the Government Department, was posted in Ranikhet for a few years (Uttarakhand was not a separate state then, it was included in Uttar Pradesh). school in Varanasi studying I felt that my information about Ranikhet was more than the rest of the students, my English teacher allowed me to speak on Ranikhet while teaching this chapter.
The reason for disliking this chapter was: – Many classmates believed that the poverty of the country has been exaggerated in this chapter:- “Almost everyone was barefoot and wore a loose white robe shirt”. (KURTA a type of Indian shirt ), It seemed too much the number of such people is very less.
A few years ago this story was read in a magazine, so the attention turned to another thing as Douglas wrote that “Nine million people left Pakistan and came to India, driven by the fear of religious fanaticism. They were poor people to start with; they were poorer as they began their long trek, for all they could carry, was a bit of food and a few belongings. Soon they were out of food. A few days after they started, they begin to fall by the way-side from the weakness of hunger and died where they fell. “
I read many books of history on India-Pakistan but there was no mention of starving people anywhere in them. In its place, there are countless incidents of the slaughter of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. Douglas has not written a word about this massacre. It is amazing. (?)
We should all be concerned about the future because
We will have to spend the rest of our life there.
American inventor and businessman
A GIRL WITH A SMARTPHONE
India has seen a dream of digital India. From latest science to latest technology, everything should be available at the tip of one’s finger. (NARENDRA MODI)
Life has changed completely in a few months due to corona. Ramnagar, a famous place adjoining Varanasi, the former Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, used to live here. Whenever I have to pass through Ramnagar I have to stay at a tea shop. This has been going on for years. The owner of this small shop is 74-year-old Ram Lal Ji. Very cheerful, sociable, very little schooling, but aware of the history of Varanasi (Banaras) (once told in conversation that he did not feel like in his schooling, so left school as a child But due to hobby of reading novels, read many books)
After a few months due to Corona:- a young boy was sitting at his shop. I stopped to take tea. On inquiring, it was found out that Ram Lal Ji had given this tea shop on rent, and started working at a grocery store. The grocery store was nearby, so the idea of meeting him walked towards the grocery store on foot. Ram Lal Ji appeared smiling at the grocery store. Looks a little weak. I said hello ” looking weak”.
In response, he said, “I am old, not weak.” Ram Lal ji has only one wish that his granddaughter should get educated well and become self-dependent.
I already knew his family. One of Ram Lal Ji’s two sons is alive and lives in the state of Gujarat. One son died years ago. The wife and daughter of the deceased son now live with Ram Lal Ji. On the question of renting his tea shop, he said that some rent will also be available, and working at the grocery store here will also earn some more income. There has been a big loss in Corona Lockdown; it will take some time to get the vehicle back on track. Suddenly smiling said “Corona has an advantage” I wondered how Corona benefited.
A large part of my earnings had to be spent on coaching and tuition of my granddaughter and that will not happen now. Did I ask how? Ram Lal Ji told that Tuition and coaching were all closed due to Corona, during this time, my granddaughter made a habit of studying in herself. He meant to say that the availability of lectures by eminent scholars on any subject became very convenient. Now even after the situation is normal, he said that now there is no need for coaching, etc. I got his point right in this context. He wanted to tell that mobile (Smart –Phone) is a very useful Electronics Gadget but for the next generation.
A common urban old man of the oldest living city of the world (Varanasi) was trying to explain to me what I had read a few years ago in a book “The New Digital Age Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business” Written by Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman Google) and Jared Cohen Director, Google Ideas.
“The most important pillar behind innovation and opportunity ——education——will see a tremendous positive change in the coming decades as rising connectivity reshapes traditional routines and offers new paths for learning. Most students will be highly technologically literate, as schools continue to integrate technology into lesson plans and, in some cases, replace traditional lessons with more interactive workshops. Education will be a more flexible experience, adapting itself to children’s learning styles and pace instead of the other way around Kids will still go to physical schools to socialize and be guided by teachers, but as much, if not more, learning will take place employing carefully designed educational tools in the spirit of today’s “………………
Ram Lal ji said to me let’s take tea. We both walked slowly and reached Ram Lalji’s tea shop. Due to the nature of Ram Lal Ji, he has many well-wishers, even in this very short foot-journey; some people were found who were asking for his well-being. The conversation started again CORONA. Ramlal Ji has a treasure of stories related to the city of Varanasi. Now he told some stories related to the epidemics heard in his childhood. Suddenly a 13 -14-year-old girl came from a bicycle, and a little angrily said to Ram Lal Ji, (Dada) grandpa now you leave the habit of keeping the mobile off, grandma want to tell you, something then I have to come as a messenger. Ramlal ji replied with a laugh “I keep my mobile closed only to avoid your grandmother’s nonsense”.(Ramlal ji uses a basic feature phone- voice calls and text messages only).Looking at me, he said, ” She is my granddaughter”
A shy smiling girl of 13-14 years, self-respecting, fearless, a glimpse of a changing country. I finished my tea, thanked Ramlal Ji, and proceeded towards my destination with lots of new information. A few years ago, the facts which I had read-only in the book, were seeing them come true in real life so soon, a pleasant surprise!
I wondered a phone that is cheaper than $100 hundred dollars,(seven thousand ₹) if bought old, is close to$ 40 Three thousand five hundred,( 3500₹ ) once again thanks to the telecommunications companies of our country, who are probably providing the world’s cheapest internet service.:- providing data 1.5 GB daily( for28 days) phone calls, and messaging facilities for less than ₹200 $3 three dollars.
Has information ever been available so cheaply in human history? Has there ever been so much more democratization of knowledge? Is this just the beginning of the digital front? Is digital ahead like a double-edged sword? Many questions that are not answered by an ordinary person like me.
Famous Hindi writer, poet Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan had said that:-
“Hot iron needs to be beaten cold iron has a long time to beat”.
“गर्म लोहा पीट ठंडा पीटने को वक़्त बहु-तेरा पड़ा है “
Imagination and emotions do not last long so decided to write my thoughts immediately.
But the journey from basket to Smart Phone is a pleasant feeling. It looks like a pleasant picture of a changing India and a new world.
2 thoughts on “A GIRL WITH A BASKET, A GIRL WITH A SMARTPHONE AND THE NEW DIGITAL AGE.”
what a great article!
filled with positive.
I totally agree – the digital world has many incredible opportunities, including in learning. I can see it from my daughter, who is finishing the last grade of school.
we are used to asking about everything on the Internet. and we do not want to lose this opportunity.
how interesting it was to read about one of the moments in the history of India. Thank you😊
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