Friday, June 21, 2013

being civil

I recently attended a week long residential institute on internet and society.

I was the only participant among the 20 selected to attend, with a corporate background.

there were persons working on the field with NGOs from different parts of the country.

there were a couple of persons with journalism background.

some law teachers and law students.

and some from academics.

when I saw the announcement about the institute, I had to write a statement of purpose as to why I wanted to attend this institute.

I heard many words and phrases that I have only heard on TV debates or some in-depth newspaper articles – such as

digital divide, the underserved constituency, activism, access, privacy etc etc etc

I was not sure how one can spend a whole week on topics related to the internet, that we all pretty much take for granted.

at the end of the week, I had a feeling that the program should be even longer – as there are so many aspects of the internet in the context of society and to do justice would have required deeper treatment of some of the topics.

the topics covered technology, history, privacy, IP issues etc as well.

in the interactions with other participants, I learnt many new things – such as the lives of some of the tribals or how nomadic shepherds’ lives are influenced by Information and Communication Technologies [ICT] or some of the work / research with usability of Government sites in the age of e-governance, which excludes some pockets of society from getting the full benefits etc.

and a lot more .. to cover in this post. maybe I will write about some of those stories later..

but, the one moment I felt very proud of myself was when I could, as part of a question to one of the speakers, say something like ‘as a concerned member of the civil society…’

wow, a member of the civil society! – something that I heard and read a lot during the recent nationwide actions against corruption..

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