Tryst with Technology
February 3, 2010 Leave a comment
India’s place as a Technology powerhouse is assured. Despite the fact that India has not really contributed much on the Technology Product Platform, India is really the high priest in putting technology to use in ways never conceived before.
The curious case of a student (!) using the mobile technology to cheat in an exam is an impressive case study to buttress my point above. My good friend Ganesh Kini brought the news to my attention suggesting that I should include it in my musings.
Surely, the news is exciting enough to ideate and ponder over.
India’s romance with cutting edge technology started very early. Despite the avowed stance of Non-alignment, India’s proximity with USSR was guided by the fact that Russians were more forthcoming in sharing technology with India.
India today apart from being a nuclear power is also among the select few nations which have successfully managed satellite missions and have ICBM capabilities.
We also have an indigenously developed Main Battle Tank, Arjun and also in the process of inducting a Light Combat Aircraft.
While India was making major headway in augmenting defence capabilities using technology, we lagged behind in using telecommunication as a differentiator. In this context, the efforts of the student of J N Medical college who sewed receivers & speakers into the collar of his shirt to use as an “assist” during his exams need to be commended.
India may have won many outsourcing deals from Telecom giants but the novel use of telecommunication technology must have embarrassed the Indian IT Service providers as well as the Telecom service providers.
The incident is yet another proof of how Technology becomes subservient to the Indian common man. There is no technology in the world that can beat the ingenuity of Indians. As they say, the West may have invented Mobile technology, but we Indians discovered “missed call”.
One of my favourite example to underscore the genius of the common Indian is the humble Indian snack popularly known as “mixture” which has different combinations of deep fried flour based fritters.
I read somewhere that scientists in US researched for long for that perfect morning breakfast and found “Corn Flakes”. Just as they would have felt extremely proud for having done mankind a huge favour to eat healthy and stay healthy, the common Indian found his way to prick his bubble of achievement.
So what does the Indian do with the Corn Flakes ? He pours a generous helping of oil and throws in spicy chilli powder and launches “Corn Flakes Mixture”, just the kind of thing that the scientists wanted to avoid.
The student also stands testimony to the fact that India has come a long way. From a nation where a telephone connection would require the greasing of the palms of the only state provider, India is now the country with the fastest growth rate in the Telecom sector. The sector has set a scorching pace of growth and we are doubling tele-density once in 2 years.
There are stories abound in the business magazines on how the increased tele-density is helping farmers, small traders and other sections of the society enhancing their business through price discovery or enhancing the quality of support.
From lengthy queues we have reached a staged where railway bookings can be done over SMS. We can know weather, stock quotes, flight / train / bus enquiries through the SMS. The crown piece of our telecom story is the fact that our netas have started adopting technology to reach to the voters.
In carrying this “technology legacy” further, the student may have done a yeoman’s service to the cause of increased “scientific temper” a principle that the Indian constitution commits itself to. The act of the student is also a stark reminder to the powers that be on the fallacies of a rote based education system.