There should be a rule that only Indians should be allowed to make fun of our beloved prime minister. No one else should be allowed, particularly American technology blogs. “Indian prime minister is spy-proof”, announces Mashable. It goes on to report that when asked if he is one of the 35 unnamed world leaders revealed to be spied upon by the National Security Agency, the prime minister’s spokesperson said, “The prime minister doesn’t use a mobile phone, and he doesn’t have an email account… His office uses email, but he has no personal email”.
Wait! What? The prime minister of a country of more than a billion people doesn’t use a mobile phone? And email? Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a mobile phone? Or do you know anyone who doesn’t use email? I actually know a few people who don’t use email, but they usually tend to be people who are very poorly educated and work in low-paid jobs. And secondly is that a reason for not being spied upon by the NSA? Does the PMO think there was no spying before there were mobile phones and the Internet? Isn’t it possible that NSA is tracking the phones from his office, or checking the email from his office?
It is hard to name one world leader who doesn’t use a phone. Barack Obama is the most tech-savvy of all world leaders with his two Blackberry phones, iPads and MacBooks. David Cameron is often seen with his iPad, even though he is accused of ‘chillaxing’ playing Angry Birds on it when he should be working. Angela Merkel is known to use the Blackberry Z10, even though it is not known how much actual work she gets done with that horrible phone.
This is the crux of everything that is wrong with the political leadership of our country. They are completely out of touch with the people, with technology and with the wider world. One of my favourite pastimes is looking at photos published in our newspapers of our politicians and bureaucrats for any signs of modern technology. And 99 times out of a 100, I don’t see anything. Not a single thing. That one time, I see an old desktop computer on a bureaucrat’s table which is never switched on. It is not even like they don’t have opportunities to use modern technology. Members of Lok Sabha and members of most of our Legislative Assemblies get free iPads and iPhones every single year while some of the poorest and brightest students in our premier educational institutions are given the Akash tablets that are useless even as paper weights. Most of those iPads will never be seen again. Even when they show us that they know how to use technology that use never seems to go beyond watching porn movies.
Not one board meeting, of even the smallest company, can be run without some kind of technology present. So why is it that we never see any signs of modern technology in the meetings of the Union Cabinet? How can these people run a country as big as this without using modern technology? Or is that technology hidden away for the photographs?
According to latest statistics, India has an Internet penetration of less than 20 per cent of the population which is worse than some poor African countries. If this is to change, we need leaders who understand and use technology. Anyway, the joke is on Mashable. It doesn’t know that the prime minister hardly says a word. Why would he need a phone or email?