Are We a Nation of Mobile Thieves?
A gentleman working in a certain British-financial company in Delhi recently disclosed that the minimum salary in his company is Rs. 12,000 a month – the highest runs into lakhs – and no outsiders come to his office. All the employees are sufficiently well-educated and come from relatively well off families. Several of them are…
A gentleman working in a certain British-financial company in Delhi recently disclosed that the minimum salary in his company is Rs. 12,000 a month – the highest runs into lakhs – and no outsiders come to his office. All the employees are sufficiently well-educated and come from relatively well off families. Several of them are even England return as they are often sent by the firm for crash course or training. Yet at least one mobile phone is stolen every month from this office.
This is not an isolated incident. A young chap who after much hard struggle and determination qualified the Indian Institute of Technology’s joint entrance examination and got admitted in IIT Delhi soon found his dream shattered. Four months after his admission into this prestigious institution he found his mobile stolen from his room and that too from under his pillow while he was sleeping. He later came to know that 11 mobile sets were stolen from that particular hostel of the IIT on that particular night. In fact that was a Diwali night.
Another student of a prestigious institution narrated how his senior and hostel-mate stole his room partner’s mobile. It was extremely difficult to cough out information from him about the stolen mobile as he feared retaliation.
We in India are proud of our telecommunication and information revolution. Every month we are bombarded with figures about the number of mobile sets this country has: one crore, two crore, four crore, ten crore…the figure continues to swell.
If Indian media is to be believed, the number of mobile sets and rise in Sensex has become the latest yardstick for measuring the development of the country. We do not measure it by highlighting the number of starvation deaths or suicides by farmers – officially on an average 16,000 every year. Nor we gauge the development of our country by the number of mobile thieves. The truth is that in our society it has become virtually impossible to find anyone who can say that his cell phone has not been stolen. By that standard the number of mobile thieves in our society too has run into lakhs.
Who are these thieves then? Certainly not any jinn nor any fourth grade employees as in most of these places they have no access. They all are upwardly mobile smart Indian professionals and students of the most prestigious institution in whom our country has great pride.
No, they are not suffering from kleptomania – a person who has an irresistible tendency to steal, especially pen. Nor are they traditional thieves. They are executive class and educated people who are driven mad by the sheer advertisement. They find it as a status symbol to have more than one cell phones and that too the costliest one.
It has become a favourite pastime for many of our young executives to spend two to three hours after their office hours talking on mobile or fidgeting with sets. SMS, MMS and all sorts of messages and games grip their minds.
That very young gentleman who talked about the mobile theft in his office (see first paragraph) was surprised to observe something different when he went to England earlier this year. He found that his lady boss had no cell phone. How can this happen in that developed country? Gradually he realised that people in that country – and in many developed nations of the West – do not generally give their mobile phone numbers.
Their media do not boast the figure of mobile numbers in their respective countries every month to show how developed they are. The work to befool the poor customers has been left to the telecommunication industries here in India.
No doubt, telephones – both static and mobile – have their importance. But there is no denying the fact that more than three-fourths of mobile phones in India are in the hands of teenagers, young executives and students who have nothing to do with this apparatus. We are fast becoming a nation of mobile thieves yet we are not ashamed of it.
Time has come to tell the people that the world made enormous progress in the field of space, nuclear and other technologies much before we invented mobile. There was no cell phone when the nuclear bomb was detonated or man landed on the moon about four decades back. Landing on the moon is certainly a much more credible achievement than the discovery of mobile. Our youngsters need to be told that the world not only survived but made enormous progress without mobiles. But advertisements have made these youngsters mentally immobile. They cannot think beyond their nose.