Friday, August 9, 2013

The book of change

It is a story of those incredible nine years, between 1993 and 2012, that empowered 900 million people with wireless connectivity; it is a tale of technology transfer that generated a cascade of new occupations and jobs; and it is a saga of crony capitalism that subsumed five of the ten telecom ministers on charges of corruption. It is an unfinished but absorbing fairy tale of a country coming of age, from one telephone per 165 persons in 1991 to nearly two mobile connections per person in 2012. Cell Phone Nation offers an interdisciplinary analysis on how 'boundary between impossibility and possibility' got blurred and what helped people 'attain that was long denied' to them.
The mobile phone may have provided access to global flows of knowledge and mobilized social movements but it has altered local cultural practices and challenged gender relations in a country that is not only unjust and unequal but immensely complex too. Yet, for every increase of 10 per cent in mobile penetration the State Domestic Product reportedly grows by 1.2 per cent. Mobile phone has become an empowering tool in the hands of millions of Indians who otherwise may not have been part of an accelerating economy.
While providing a comprehensive account of how mobile phones have changed lives, authors Robin Jeffrey and Assa Doron do not lose sight of the likely health and ecological implications of radiation emitting mobile towers which have mushroomed across the country's vast landscape. Curiously, the impact of mobile towers on survival of house sparrows and honey bees is anything but shocking. Future generation may have to pay a price for the telecom revolution (and its leftover e-waste) currently underway in the country.
Despite its flip side, mobile phone has been a great equalizer in a country beset with caste and class disparities. But will it alter the well-entrenched hierarchy prevailing in the society or can it surmount physical barriers to transform the power structure? Or, will the power of cheaper mobiles only be used to make sexual harassment and economic crimes easier? The authors raise such compelling questions in a racey narrative that is lucid, edifying and engrossing....Link
Cell Phone Nation 
by Robin Jeffrey and Assa Doron 
Hachette India, New Delhi
293 pages, Rs. 499.

1 comment:

  1. Heartiest Congratulation for attaining the distinct accreditation of reviewing 100 books of diverse flavours in a short span of time. Wishing for keeping the accelerated pace, zeal and enthusiasm in future also to dispense the sundry aroma to the world.
    Thanks and regards