Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Orkut: Youth Icon or Banned Substance?

Orkut has been nominated against 'Abhishek Bacchan, Multimedia Cell Phone, Rang De Basanti and You' in the MTV and Pepsi Youth Icon 2007. Orkut has 6.6 Million (66 lakh) Indian subscribers. This consists huge amount of youngsters.

There are more than a million communities on Orkut on absolutely everything from pizza to pasta, from Film star to Sports star, from your pet to your favourite teacher. People freely express their opinions and views here. Internet has always been a medium carrying free information and that’s exactly where the trouble starts for Orkut.

This time the king of Social networking has ran into trouble with the student wing of the Shiv Sena party. The group opposes to what they see as increasing imitation of the West. It often stops Valentine's Day celebrations, attacks nightclubs and pubs, and prevents screening of sexually bold films.

The student wing of the Shiv Sena party said many Indians use Orkut to bad-mouth religious groups and disturb communal harmony, and also to spread misinformation about India. Back in March it was announced that Orkut has agreed to provide Mumbai Police details of the IP address from which an objectionable message or blog has been posted on the site and the Internet service provider involved.

Internet no doubt is a great tool and an innovation like we have never seen before. But with great power comes great responsibility, its up to us to use the internet wisely and make productive use of it. Yes we are free to express our opinions but at the same time we need to see and understand the bigger picture.

Young minds are known to be rebels. And the more you suppress them the more they will come up. With caution and care we need to explain to them what’s right and what’s wrong. We just can’t tell them not to surf Orkut because a few handful communities have an anti-India stand. We should stand strong and show faith in our youngsters such that we are unaffected and undivided against all attempts to disrupt our harmony.

Ankur Agarwal