Information technology can help usher the Gandhian concept of ‘Ram Rajya’ or ideal state, telecom entrepreneur Sam Pitroda said today. He said some leaders of today lack “moral fabric” which is why they have to depend on “fancy tools” like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with people. “(Mahatma) Gandhi’s focus was on truth, trust, simplicity, inclusion. Unfortunately, I find today we have lost Gandhi in many ways from our day-to-day life,” Pitroda said. “Institutions are captured, and people today, to some extent in India and the US, are confused as to what our long-term vision is,” he said at the 64th convocation of Gujarat Vidyapeeth, established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920. “People are more into vendetta. Personal attack, lies, false promises, and media have taken over the message,” Pitroda said. The 75-year-old telecom entrepreneur said a group of voluntary organisation representatives, whom he met yesterday, told him they are scared as they face attack for their work.
Such a thing is not acceptable in India, said Pitroda who has spent 50 years in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and related global and national developments. He exhorted students to make efforts to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s India with the use of technology that today connects 1.2 billion Indians through mobile phones. “Are we using this connectivity to spread gossips, lies, or are we using this connectivity to propagate Gandhian ideas? We cannot blame others who misuse media. We have to blame us because we do not use media effectively,” Pitroda said.
Openness, accessibility, connectivity, networking, democratisation, decentralisation, brought about by technology was a “great opportunity for social transformation,” he said. “And Gandhiji talked about all of these. I firmly believe Gandhiji’s idea of Ram Rajya did not get translated into practice because we did not have IT then. Today we have the technology that was a missing link in Gandhiji’s time,” Pitroda said. He said while Gandhi could galvanise millions using a “pinch of salt”, “today’s leaders need fancy tools because some of them lack moral fabric”.
“We need to really give Gandhi to the globe and not just India. Gandhi is a heritage for humanity and not just a symbol for India. Knowledge can be democratised, people can be taught to revisit Gandhi and learn something new on him,” Pitroda said. He called for a change in election campaigning by using technology so as to root out corruption and reduce the need for huge amount of money.