In arguing that digital technologies enable embodied experiences that reshape the very ways in which we conceptualize our everyday life, Nishant Shah, founder and Director of Research for the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society, tells us a story from the village of Banni in the desert region of Kutch, located at the North-Western borders of India and Pakistan.
“In this small village that is about 80 kilometers from the biggest town with amenities like hospitals and schools, almost every household has a smart phone with access to the internet. In the absence of more popular forms like radio, which are disallowed because of the proximity to the turbulent India-Pakistan borders, the Chinese-made smart phones become the de facto interface of communication and cultural production. The phones become not only the life-line in times of crises, but also everyday objects through which the villages stay connected with the world of cultural production and entertainment. The internet services on the phones allow them to access Bollywood songs and movies, images and games, popular television programming and other popular cultural products in the country. In many ways, Banni is probably more digitally connected than many parts of the larger cities in the country.”