Thursday, April 14, 2011


Social networking sites are new age democratic phenomenon

Over the past few months, there have been unique reformations globally. Starting from the Middle East to India, all of a sudden, dynamic overpowering civil society movements have taken such unique shapes that if, on one hand, it has been successful in bringing down governments; then, on the other hand, it has forced the government to bow down to their legitimate demands! So, if Hosni Mubarak's government was pulled down in Egypt, then in India, one 71 year old man, along with millions of supporters, prompted the government to give in to their legitimate demands. No doubt, it has been a huge success for the citizens of Egypt, and that of those Indians who actively supported Dr Anna Hazare... but then, technology too had a indubitable role to play in this. No one can deny the role of various social networking sites that played an anchor role in this agitation .

Over the last few weeks, the social networking platforms have been cluttered with netizens on Twitter and Facebook conversing about Anna Hazare's campaign regarding the Jan Lok Pal Bill. Within a matter of a couple of days Anna Hazare had not only become the most searched keyword on the Google India page, but also, more of a phenomenon on Twitter and Facebook. Indicating this, more than 200,000 people 'like' Hazare's 'India Against Corruption' page on Facebook and more than 125,000 people joined Anna Hazare’s page on Facebook. The virtual world has not only allowed netizens to educate themselves about the movement and the bill, buthas also given them a platform to share their views, opinions and above all, their support. And the beauty of this is that unlike others, this movement not only have Jantar Mantar as the epicentre, but also hundreds of other epicentres all across the nation, including our institute where I found students offering to skip lunch and educating other fellow students. Thanks to the social networking sites and microsites, Indians across the nation (and even across the world) could engage with each other and unanimously raise their voice against corruption. They could join the protest irrespective of caste, religion and geographies!

Often, such initiatives fail just on account of lack of reach. Thus, millions either get to know much later or are left totally unaware. And even if it reaches through rumours, the real essence get hugely distorted! Thus, all these deterrents help to curtail the impact. In this light, social networking sites and microsites have that power of spreading real time and right information, ceasing geographical boundaries, and interactively sharing views. Interestingly, unlike most of the earlier protests, this one attracted youth and intelligentsia. Given the fact that access to such resources are confined to the educated class of people, this particular bill was supported more by people who cared and were concerned about bringing in real changerather than by people with personal interests. The reach was wide! Twitter and Facebook have become a tool for expressing their right to speech and opinion.

Social networking sites and microsites have awaken a new layer of people who raised their voice and showed their support for a meaningful national change bereft of personal and political interest. It brought a diverse nation like ours, under a single ambit, which is indeed an essence of a functional democracy.

Given the positive synergy and the impact it created - these avenues seem nothing but a new emerging 5th pillar of democracy.


1 comment:

  1. Most of the communities in the entire Indian sub-continent(such as Bengali) are succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is genuinely regret ed or ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-admin system, bad work place, weak mother language, continuous consumption of common social space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold(supported by some lame excuses). Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting children those are born out of ignorance, extreme poverty. It seems that all of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of healthy & decent Space’ (Henri Lefebvre), an intense attachment with the society at large - one different pathway has to create to overcome inherent 'hopeless' mindset; decent, rich Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah -711101.