Couple of years ago, I had won a contest on Digital India & e-governance. I had written it with much enthusiasm and dedication; and, was really delighted when my post was chosen as one of the top winners. At that time I was unaware that it was a promotional campaign of the ruling party. I mean, yes, to some extent I was little aware as it was connected to the govt's latest scheme - namely 'digital india vision', however, I was little naive too. As I later found out, this govt has been more on publicity, campaignings, marketing etc, whereas, it can choose to do the exact opposite whenever it pleased - as all it's actions reflect that!

I remember, when the present party was in opposition, it protested whole heartedly against the Section 66A article of Information Technology Act, that was brought about by the previous regime and eventually had got it repealed by the SC. But soon after it came to power, we've seen many instances of how the govt goes against its critics ( quite like the ones it once opposed; perhaps, even more brutaly to quell dissent ), thereby, showing its sheer hypocrisy. Everyone is aware how much paid trolls this current govt has and how many the PM himself follows. Less said the better ~ how they have themselves misused internet - trolling ( branding opposing views as anti-nationals, urban-naxals, compulsive contrarians, tudke-tukde gang etc ), abusing ( one's entire khandaan ), intimidating ( even threatening rape/murder ), spreading fake news ~ they"ve done it all.

Anyhow, it doesn't remain at that, India has ironically, of late, become the world leader ~ of having the maximum number of internet shutdowns, highest number of which was in 2018 itself. So, one wonders whatever happened to the much hyped 'Digital India' when everytime this govt shuts down the net, whenever they wish, especially when fearing a backlash. They seem to have taken a cue from the Arab Springs uprisings that had happened initially via the internet, and then, spread. But, that was against an oppressive regime, whereas, ours is supposed to be a vibrant democracy. So, its quite uncanny when they cut the net everytime they take an uncomfortable decision, which they fear won't go down well with the masses. Last year, we saw how internet was snapped in Jammu and Kashmir after Article370 was removed. Till this date ( since Aug 5th ) the internet is shut in the valley. Later, we saw net being shut in Assam, parts of UP, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states fearing the ongoing anti-NRC & anti-CAA protests. This has been going on and seems to be the govt's latest style of functioning. Snap the net!

Someone said sarcastically some time ago, why everyone was crying with net being shut down in JK. Its nothing really. Live with it. True, its no big deal to live without internet. Afterall, in the past we had lived through our entire lives without internet, didn't we? So did the past generations, and everything was just fine then too, right? So, I'm sure its manageable now as well. Why the hell ever not? Eh? However, I got the answer when the govt decided to cut internet in Assam after the CAA was passed, in order to stop the protests. But, funnily, they couldn't stop, though ~ the protests! People still came out on the streets in large numbers to protest. Even those keyboard warriors who otherwise would have been quite content fighting it out in the virtual world - they too had come out. So, what was the point really of snapping internet? It only inconvienced people greatly for other reasons entirely, totally unconnected to CAA! It instead snapped the very idea of, the dream of 'digital india'... promoted so heavily by none other than the PM himself!

Nowadays, internet is so much more than just social media, which this govt fears so much - the main reason for these shut-downs. The govt seems to be obssesed about twitter/facebook posts, duh! But, so many ( almost all ) vital services are done via net, that its impossible to exist a single day without it. With internet shutdowns services like Ola/Uber comes to a standstill, thereby losses of livelihood for the youngsters who drives these cabs. Same goes for a delivery boy of flipkart, amazon, swiggy, zomato etc other services. Though they are paid a basic salary, they also have daily delivery targets to complete each day based on which they get perks ( per delivery). As such, the no-net days are no-commission days for these people. Not to mention ~ essential stuff ordered online doesn't reach the customer on time. Banks, hospitals, companies, offices and other businesses etc too comes to a standstill. Many people work from home via internet these days, they all suffer. ATMs run dry and donot function in the absense of internet, not to mention flight, hotel, rail bookings, various bill payments, EMIs. Now, in past, when all these services weren't linked to internet, we'd still have figured a way out, but how to do so when each and every aspect of our lives have become so entwined with internet. Encouraged and coerced into by no less than the govt themselves. Remember demonetisation? People were pushed to 'cashless' economy en mass. And that cashless system i.e credit/debit cards, net-banking, E-wallets like Paytm, GooglePay or even govt's own Bhim UPI app requires internet. So, when govt shuts down internet whenever it chooses to, one does end up wondering....has 'digital india' gone down the drain?

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