Anil Thakraney: You can’t curb the Net, Mr Minister!
By Anil Thakraney
Do you know what is similar between terrorism and technology? It’s impossible to control either. You can do all you can to put curbs on them, but these folks will eventually find a way to outwit you. We have all heard about how a banned terror outfit in Pakistan simply changed its name and returned (literally) with a bang. The same thing is happening with the movie download sites that were recently blocked. The pirates have changed the site URLs, and are back in roaring action. I am not kidding about this… you can download the latest Bollywood film, Shanghai, which got released only this weekend! Such is the audacity of technology. Which is why this whole ‘site blocking’ business is a bloody sham.
Likewise, you will recall, very recently, the portly Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal, was threatening to curb the social media. What triggered the mantri’s outrage was not that people where generally misusing freedom of expression, but that some sods had been busy illustrating funny cartoons of his bosses, Soniaji and Manmohanji. So, not law and order, but loyalty seems to be at the core of Sibal’s anger. Well, the debate immediately died down because as Sibal (and everyone else) knows: It’s just not possible to gag technology. It’s seamless and flows like a river across the world, continuously re-inventing itself.
In a sense, I suppose it’s a battle between the old world and the new world. The old worlders, used to living a controlled existence, aren’t able to deal with the rapidly changing world. And the new world, armed with its technology weapon, is determined to smash the shackles the old world is desperate to impose. And this is one battle the oldies are bound to lose. Because technology has outsmarted them. And sooner the fossil ministers of India accept it, the better. Now there’s no going back.
So deal with it, people! This is the new world order. Where videos, opinions, news, cartoons, etc, flow like a smooth stream, across the globe. And no dam will be able to control their movement. The various mantris only make fools out of themselves when they talk about curbs. They should instead spend all their energies monitoring terror activities. Though even there they will find the going very, very difficult.
* * *
PS: Interesting read on which book to rush to when you feel creatively burnt out, and want to throw in the towel. When the ideas aren’t coming. Some of the global ad industry’s best minds tell you which book inspired them and made them start firing on all cylinders all over again.