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Save the Internet in India

I was reading ‘A Suitable Boy’ the other day. At the end of the book, I was in tears, tears of laughter and exasperation. It was a book on India post-partition. That was not the cause of my tears. What struck me was that whatever was portrayed in the book is as accurate today as it was 66 years ago. Sometimes, I feel like asking,

“Are we going back in time?”

And when I checked my WhatsApp next, my worst fears were confirmed. My chat boxes were flooded with ‘Save the Internet’ pleas and links to videos such as this.

What is wrong with the country? Did someone put a spell on it or what? The forces of progression and regression have knotted the country in such a manner that it has halted in its motion, as if stuck, unable to move an inch.

Some political bigwig tries to taint Mother Teresa by calling her a proselytizer. Some parts of the country witness atrocious ‘ghar wapsi’ programmes, as if all this while we were not in our ‘ghar’s. Yet at other places, one sees novels of eminent writers like Perumal Murugan being banned. And now, as if all that was not enough, they are out to control the internet as well. Trying to turn us all into primitive apes like Gandhiji’s (with all due respect to the father of the nation) monkeys, with no freedom of sight, hearing or expression.

It’s not the network of politics or the network of management; it is more complex and more labyrinthine than any other network and yet the least discriminatory and the most fair that has been targeted this time. It equalizes all and I am not talking about death. Yes, I am talking about the Interconnection Network that is more popularly known as the internet. The voice of the introverts, the source of information for the haves and the have-nots alike, the platform that fames as it defames, the ruthless and the merciful, the omniscient and the all-powerful, it almost sounds like I’m describing some deity and yet I am only talking about our dear old internet. And to think that, the telecom companies hand in glove with the TRAI, are trying to wrest the only truly free platform left to us.

Netizens ! The Telcos are here to balkanize our country!

They are trying to apply the divide and rule policy and make you pay double and triple for the services that you have already paid for. We need an Internet Disobedience Movement. A flood of petitions, a salvo of mails and a barrage of #savetheinternet slogans shall be our only weapon. But we shall achieve by non-violent activism and subvert the efforts and the rule of the treacherous telecom companies who are trying to gag us and stifle our voices. We will not let them annex our territory. We will not let them create a caste system in our free nation. Internet is a free country and shall always be so. No one can force their power on us.

Let’s take a closer look at the case:

TRAI + the Telcos VS The Internet + the Netizens

Telcos: They argue that they are overwhelmed by the data traffic. But doesn’t that entail that they need to work on their infrastructure instead of fragmenting the internet? They say that their revenue generation is being hampered. Well, well, well, one should demand only as much as one deserves.

You guys transmit data, how can you demand payment for the data that you don’t create at all? It’s like the truck wallahs claiming money for the potatoes they carry from the farmers to the retailers, and setting different prices for onions and potatoes, regardless of the fact they have no role in growing either.

Charges against the former : Trying to sell us the internet which is not theirs to sell in the first place. Like taking Earth tax or Life tax when life is not theirs to give.

It reminds me of the wily and sly Bunty aur Babli, who sold the Taj Mahal to those poor foreigners. In this case, we are being the sold the Taj alias the Internet by the conmen disguised as our ISPs.

I wonder why India is not happy to have achieved freedom and is trying to lose it by any means possible. Because let’s consider the following:

  1. We as a democracy don’t ban websites, like China and Saudi Arabia. We let the telecom companies do the dirty jobs and then we try and make some profit from it.
  2. We like to maintain a clean outset and employ euphemisms while pushing the dust under the carpet.

Internet is not a luxury, it is a utility as the recent battle for net neutrality in the US has established.

Hence, I call out to all my fellow netizens to rise up in clicks, tweets and shares and mail your way to freedom!

Don’t forget to share this and do mail the TRAI as well. #SaveTheInternet

JAI NET !

About Aashisha Chakraborty

Aashisha Chakraborty is a computer science engineer, currently working in an IT firm. She is a freelance writer, poet and a blogger. She hopes to reach out to the masses via the written word. A trained Kathak dancer, she has tried her hand at myriad fields throughout her student years ranging from drama, dance, music, art to coding, debating, quizzing and organizing events. She is inspired by Ayn Rand and her all-time favourite books are Fountainhead and Gone With The Wind.

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