7 May 2009

In cellphone, India reveals an essence

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Anand
Anand Giridharadas, South Asia correspondent at International Herald Tribune, describes what makes the cellphone special in India, and what it means for democracy.

“The cellphone appeals deeply to the Indian psychology, to the spreading desire for personal space and voice, not in defiance of the family and tribe but in the chaotic midst of it.

Imagine what it was like, back in the Pre-cellular Age, to be young in a traditional household. People are everywhere. Doors are open. Judgments fly. Bedrooms are shared. Phones are centrally located.

The cellphone serves, then, as a technology of individuation. On the cellphone, you are your own person. No one answers your calls or reads your messages. Your number is just yours.”

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