Thursday, January 19, 2006

IT cognizance among the Indian masses

Information Technology or IT for short is generally believed to be the messiah for deliverance of economic independence for the Indian masses. Though this school of thought borrows its followers largely from the urban areas, I find the semi-urban and the rural areas fast catching up on whatever this revolution has on offer.

On 8th of January, I had been invited to deliver a speech on the “Opportunities for the youth in the field of IT” at the 50-year celebrations of a prominent local community at my native. Once a vibrant industrial town, my native, Harihar, has been reduced to a sleepy taluq headquarters today with much of the attention being showered on its big brother neighboring town Davangere.

I prepared for my speech with lots of exuberance, researching on the net for all new job opportunities that had been pouring into India as part of the outsourcing demon that was driving Western governments crazy. BPOs and KPOs were all added to my ever-growing list of technical jargon.

D-Day arrived. Little did I know, I would be in for a shock. I was invited to the dais and gosh !!!. Hardly one or two youth were to be seen in the entire audience. It was all filled up with people aged 35 and above. I was later appraised of the fact that all college going youth had exams scheduled the next day and had not wanted risking that.

I immediately resolved to tone down the technicality in my speech and ended up giving a high level introduction to most of the job opportunities that lay open for the youth without venturing to elaborate on any of them. The fear of boring the aged audience to death also was poking me throughout my speech. I ended my 45-minute speech a bit apprehensively but then came the second surprise of the day.

Surprise…surprise…. the audience had listened to my entire speech spell bound. When the question answer round came up, the questions thrown at me were amazing. Amazing because the technical depth involved was something I least expected from the semi-urban audience of my town.

“What does the process of chipping involve in the semi-conductor industry?”

“What is a reliable checklist for setting up website hosting services?”

“Can I setup a website hosting service from the comforts of my home?”

“How is Knowledge Process Outsourcing different from Business Process Outsourcing?”

“If I make use of the Google advertising engine on my website, does Google actually send me money for all traffic routed to them through my website?”

I was FLABBERGASTED!!! An semi-urban audience whose average age was 55 and one that was devoid of youth was asking questions that would have driven the wind out of even Mr. Jeeves of the famed www.ask.com.

It is another story that the Q&A session lasted for another 45 minutes, leaving me panting for breath. Still the audience was not satisfied. They extracted a promise from me that I would address the youth of the community in a separate workshop.

This experience has definitely convinced me that IT has taken up prime space in almost everybody’s interest spectrum in India. IT is surely generating genuine interest among the masses and is all set to take the country and its citizens for a ride of their lives.

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