Digital India Fail

So many stories to tell. I hardly find time these days to put them on paper or the computer. Recently a few things have been bugging me a lot and I feel helpless that I can not do anything about the current situation, especially in my state Assam. 

image source: https://images.app.goo.gl/acU9Eph16p6T5ZLT9

Earlier this month (December), I attended a course on meditation and Ayurveda in Goa. When I left for my course, everything was fine in Assam. The Yoga Ashram I went to was in a remote area of southern part of Goa. It had ZERO mobile network. I was not getting any news whatsoever. However, later I figured out how to connect to the not-so-great Wi-Fi of the ashram and started accessing the news. 

Image source: https://images.app.goo.gl/wQG5fQ4TE4w7vcHZ7

A few days later, ten to be precise, news of unrest back home started to pour in. News and images of people on the streets with torches and slogans started flooding the social media sites. And a couple of innocent young peaceful protesters were killed by police gunshots. The moment I saw that on Facebook, my reaction was, “What the hell happened?”

The uproar was about the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which later was passed in the Parliament and became an Act. It was greatly opposed by all the seven sister states of Northeast India, but the central government couldn’t care two hoots about what the native people wanted or did not want. It was the first sign of tyranny by the government of India in Northeast. A deep anguish started to seep in in my heart even though I was far away from ground zero. 

My course concluded. It was time for me to get back home. Since internet was barred, there was no Ola or Uber that I could hire. I searched for cab contacts on my phone. Fortunately, I found a number of a cab driver whom I hired long ago. He agreed to come at a fare three times more than the actual fare to my home from the airport. I had no option. The entire state was under curfew. Curfew was slightly eased in the evenings and luckily the driver was willing to take the risk. 

The moment I got down from the flight I realized how awful it feels to be in a place where there is no internet whatsoever. It was like travelling to the past in a time machine. Anyway, I thought of taking it in a positive stride and use the time as digital detox. Not that I needed more of that, as the ashram had given me enough days of digital detox already. I got into the car and started for home. The driver started talking. He apologized for charging me so much. He said his business was down for last 10 days due to no online booking of his car on apps like Ola and Uber. His livelihood depended on that and of many like him. They have been suffering. Some even had to struggle for their daily food. I felt bad. Was it necessary for the government to do this to them? Did they put any thought to these people? They are the worst affected. I reached home safe and paid the full fare that he asked for. I had no regrets after learning about his plight.

A friend of mine runs a cloud kitchen. I came to know that even she suffered losses due to this ban on internet. Her business completely stopped due to absence of internet, as people couldn’t order food from her kitchen on apps like Zomato, Swiggy and Uber Food. Her purchased vegetables were wasted and she had to discard all the other perishables from her kitchen. 

The uproar is still on. But there hardly seems to be a good solution. Instead, the government has started dividing the Northeast Indian people and the place into tiny small pieces as if to feed the stray dogs. Now, even the Assamese language is in danger in Assam, thanks to the government of Assam. Wow! What expectations people had on this government! Now the ministers are shredding their own mother(land) to feed stray dogs.

I wonder who benefitted from these exercises! Is CAA a solution to any of the burning problems Assam and Northeast have been struggling with? Can the government even comprehend why the entire population of these Northeastern states are against CAA?

Manashree

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