I’m writing this letter to talk about something that we discussed two days ago. Not my loose motions (hahaha) but about how digital India is ruining traditional India. To show my conviction to the cause, I’ve decided to refrain from digital mediums and I’m taking the pen and paper route to express my views.
Here are 10 reasons why I believe that digital India is ruining the Indian culture:
1. The Greetings: The gesture Namaste means acknowledging the divine in the other person. However, people are only interested in sending good morning, good night messages these days. When you meet them in person, they’ll be busy with their phones and ignore you the way bikers ignore the traffic signal.
2. The Respect: Indians are known for their manners and how they treat elders with dignity and respect. However, digital India is not giving elders the respect they deserve. For eg, why is 12-year-old Chintu the admin of our WhatsApp group when your Uncle is the oldest in the family and deserves that chair? Once his cataract is removed and his vision returns, he will be so unhappy.
3. The Boundaries: While growing up, we were taught to respect boundaries in any relationship. But two years ago, you sent me a “friend request” on Facebook and when I did not respond to your messages, you “poked” me. I am not your friend, I’m your father, and how can you poke me?
4. Atithi Devo Bhavah: The guest is equivalent to god and has always been of supreme importance in our culture. We offer our best to all the guests and yet, you have advised us not to share our Wi-Fi password with them. You even refused to share 4G hotspot with your maternal uncle last year and till date he bad-mouths me by calling me ‘2G Jijuji’.
5. Fasting: Fasting is an integral part of our culture to express our gratitude to the gods and goddesses. But on social media, it seems everybody is eating at all times. Karva Chauth is on Thursday and I’m scared for my life. I will have to uninstall Instagram/WhatsApp from your mother’s phone for the love of her life.
6. Money: As kids we were taught that you shouldn’t keep your wallet empty because it brings bad luck. But this digital generation is roaming around with empty pockets flashing mobiles on the face of shopkeepers. You haven’t followed my advice when I told you to keep minimum Rs 11 in your mobile wallet and look how you’re struggling with your finances.
7. Family: We Indians used to live in joint families so that we could share our joys and sorrows. Now, the only time the families join is during a video call. You talk to Alexa more often than you talk to us. She knows about your life more than we do. Did we clean your diapers for this day?
8. Heritage: Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems and there is so much medical wisdom that has been passed down from previous generations. Yet, your generation decides to trust Google when it comes to health and insult our heritage. There was no Google when you were growing up and still we raised you alright only to see this day. What a shame!
9. Literature: Our ancestors gave us fours vedas with deep philosophical teachings and then came your generation with four liner tweets to make it even. After intense meditation, the ancient sages composed these scriptures for the benefit of the future generations. What they didn’t realise was the fact that the future generations will be busy writing online reviews for body hair removal creams instead of passing on the knowledge.
10. Relationships: We built our relations on commitment. There was always a trust factor that ensured security, even if it was a long distance relationship. You have reduced that entire process to left/right swipe on dating apps and restricted it to nearby areas. Are you trying to find a partner or a puncture shop to repair your bike’s tyre? If you keep changing partners more frequently than your bike’s engine oil, how will you ever get married?
In conclusion, all I want to say is that digital India is the biggest enemy of traditional India.
I reread the letter and picked up my mobile to message Dad. “Hey Dad, I read your letter and found it really interesting”, I texted.
“Thanks my dear son, I hope you’ll follow my advice and stick to our roots,” he replied.
“Sure Dad. By the way, how did you know that dating apps used locality and left/right features?” I questioned. He replied after 10 minutes of silence.
“I’m transferring you money, please buy the new iPhone, with love, from Dad”.
(Sudhanshu Ramteke is a stand-up comedian)