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The Relevance And Irrelevance Of The Digital Revolution

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Why this book? And why should a reader pick up this book?
Digital India is not an adulatory volume on the great Indian IT success story. We have enough of those types of book around. I would not recommend the book to those who are uncritical admirers of India Inc. While there is certainly a need to give credit to the extraordinary growth in the IT and its allied industries, there is also a need for people to understand that the digital is contested and that this revolution is shaped by political economy, that it is relevant to some people but completely irrelevant to many millions who are neither inclined towards or will share in the spoils of this brave new knowledge–based economy.

The book is about the relevance of the digital revolution but also its irrelevance, the ambivalent role of the state in the making of this revolution and about the ways in which ordinary people who live on the margins, subvert the ‘dominant digital’ and by doing so, connect to this new, 'knowledge,  information, entertainment'-based economy. So if a reader wants to go beyond a PR understanding of the IT industry, read this book. The book also highlights the fact that the digital is so much larger than IT or software. The digital is an all-encompassing language that now embraces most if not all productive sectors -- and its consequences are only now beginning to be felt.

What does the book mean to you?
This is the third volume in a series on the media in India. My first book was on the political economy of communications in India, the second on communication rights movements in India -– and this volume completes the story of the media and information in India -– at least from my perspective. The story that I have outlined is not by any means ‘the’ story or for that matter a ‘complete’ story of the media in India. Rather it provides a critical perspective and vantage point to understand the factors that play an important role in the shaping of media and information futures in India. I feel a sense of relief that the writing is over and that I can now focus on working on other matters related to the media. There aren’t very many trilogies on the media in any given country -– so from that perspective this book represents the culmination of a project that I have enjoyed working on.

How difficult was it to put the book together?
Not terribly difficult. I have always looked at the media and the digital through a ‘critical’ lens. And my writings have highlighted the fact that there is more to the media than what the media industries would like us to believe. I had been writing on issues related to the digital for awhile and so putting this volume together was not too difficult.

When and where do you write?
Usually at home. My wife and children have got used to my writing habits although they would rather that I do a J.K. Rowling and make some money from this habit for a change!! My immediate family along with my larger family are my greatest fans and they have encouraged me all the way.

Where all did this book take you?
To some very interesting scholars and activists in India who understand the digital in very different ways from industry representatives. Also to some very interesting books on the impact of the digital in India.

Can you suggest another title to this book? Also give us a new blurb!
Digital Discontinuities in India. ‘An exhilarating journey on the highways and to the back alleys of the digital revolution in India’.

What’s your energy drink?
A good single malt whisky or a good ale. It is good that Bangalore now has a micro-brewery!

What makes a book a really good read or a bestseller?
Passion that connects the reader to the author.

What are you reading now?
Media & Conflict by Cees Hamelink. My preferred reading for relaxation are travelogues and books on natural history.

So, what’s next?
Definitely not another book on the media in India.

(Compiled By Jinoy Jose P.)
 


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