e-democracy on three
We always like our democracy to be dressed up in
funky garbs, with loads of make-up. But the mode of publicising the
same can really be down to earth. Or that's what two websites, http://www.indiademocracy.com/
Both websites are touted as attempts to add the
advantages of Information Technology to the `rights' of democracy
and extend the same to the masses. The point, however, is the way
the creators of these sites have chosen to advertise the sites.
Well, next time you are on the streets of
Hyderabad, keep an eye on the rear of the auto-rickshaw before you.
Crudely scribbled in white on the black tops of over 100
three-wheelers, these websites invite you to the virtual realm of
The joke of the `online democracy', however, is not
just that. Ask any of these auto-drivers, and a majority have no
inkling of what they are advertising on their vehicles. Says
Nagaraju, one of them waiting near Walden: " I don't know, sir. I
bought this auto from a friend and this was already there. He told
me to let the ad remain there. Nobody has asked me about it in the
last one year," he says nonchalantly.
`Success' in US
For the record, V-Empower Inc, owned by Shukoor
Ahmed, manages the websites. Mr. Ahmed, informs his office, had
started off with http://www.statedemocracy.com/
in the U.S. The "success" of that site in helping the U.S. public
interact with their officials and solve their problems prompted Mr.
Ahmed to try out something similar in Hyderabad. The response, they
say, is "pretty good", adding that around 30 elected representatives
including Ministers from A.P. and Delhi have "pledged support to the
Indiademocracy.com is projected as a platform to
interact with elected representatives, in making one's voice heard
and to publish one's articles. Jantaraj, meanwhile, is an
e-political lobbying tool, to gather public opinion and build
awareness about social issues.
Well, indiademocracy.com had a "server problem" on
Monday. JantaRaj.com was accessible for the janta, though.
By Dennis Marcus Mathew in Hyderabad