Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Real Divide

When one talks of India these days, you come up with words like the new economy, the network economy, entrepreneurship and technology. In a way it has become fashionable to do so. And yes, the other term that we often come to hear is the "Digital Divide". In opinion of many, it is this divide we need to bridge that would spur us on our path to wonders.

We need to pause for a moment and contemplate if it would really do so. The pathetic state of Indian primary education system remains hidden from few. Children have to fight for two square meals a day. For a large population of India, each new day begins with a new challenge- the challenge of survival. And we want to use ICT for development!

I was very surprised when my friend asked me this question- "Didn't countries 'progress' when there was not the so called ICT?' Didn't people then know what progress really meant? So why this hue and cry about Digital Divide? " I am sure few would disagree to what he had in mind. Digital Divide is only a term we can and have always used as an excuse for some basic things that we have never managed to get right.

Divides do exist. Income Divide, Opportunity Divide and Wealth Divide are the ones that have haunted us for far too long now. We need to fight these loopholes in our society. Only then can we think of development, development across all sections of the Indian society.

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