Column: You are completely literate only if you use the internet

I was asked to write for the cyber column in the new Kannada weekly newspaper “Vijay Next”.  This newspaper was launched in May 2010. I must admit I did not expect new papers to be launched in Kannada.

Today the first article was published. Kannada lovers can read it here (snapshot from their e-paper). For the rest the English version is included below. Any feedback is appreciated which could help me improve serving the language readers in India.


We are glad to announce the “Internet column” in your newspaper.  Periodically I will write about the happening things in the internet which affects our daily life.

The 3Rs of literacy is “Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic”, now comes the 4th R – internet. Today everywhere you read and hear about the internet. It is the best thing which has happened to media in the last 10 years.

Internet if described in political terms is truly “secular”! It is for every section of the society – kids, students, youth, men, women, retired, celebrities and even for the politicians!

For the past few internet has been included in the school curriculum. It is a misnomer that internet is only for the rich and elite. The prices of PCs and internet have crashed drastically, especially the monthly recurring costs of internet access is very affordable today.

The internet has made this world borderless.  You can access information about any topic in the world within seconds. Students in India can access information for their project works very easily from popular sites like Wikipedia.org. Unlike the western countries we in India don’t have access to information from public libraries.

Job aspirants can arm themselves with far better current information which can impress your prospective employer.  Investors can buy and sell their stocks and mutual funds at just the click of the mouse in their home or office. No more tension of depending upon your stock broker to fulfil your requests. You get to read the news that interests you from any part of the world, for e.g. NRIs are always thirsty to read the local news from India, internet quenches their thirst.

In the print medium language newspapers are growing by the day. Look at your own newspaper, it is such a specialized niche newspaper. Who could have imagined Kannada would get such a newspaper, but today Kannadigas are excited to be reading this paper. The same is being seen on the internet – language readership is on the rise on the internet. It is a false assumption that internet is only for English speaking population in India, in fact just 12% of Indians are comfortable with English.

B.G. Mahesh is the CEO of Oneindia.in. He blogs at http://mahesh.com

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