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Gandhi as a prophet of the Internet Age? Not quite. Indrajit Hazra writes.

books Updated: Nov 02, 2012 22:46 IST
Indrajit Hazra

Music Of The Spinning Wheel
Sudheendra Kulkarni
Rs. 595 n pp 725

There are three things going for this book: it's written by one of the sharper minds to engage within mainstream politics; it's about Mohandas Gandhi; and, its subtitle contains the buzz words: "INTERNET AGE".

Unfortunately, that's about it. Sudheendra Kulkarni's thesis of "the internet as an avatar of the spinning wheel" sounds interesting. But does he follow through to convince the reader that changes in digital technology will lead to a "transition from globalisation to glocalisation... from power and prosperity in the hands of a few to many"? He doesn't.

Kulkarni's sentences trip off the 700-plus pages like wise bits from a school textbook. "Gandhi was deeply interested in mathematics, an interest that was ignited by his study of Euclid's theorems in school," he writes in one attempt to establish that Gandhi was "wedded to the scientific spirit". His faith in the internet as a harbinger of a Ram Rajya itself exudes a boyish naïveté.

He gushes about how "the power of the Internet to combat secrecy and enlarge transparency in... governments and security establishments is... relevant in minimising wartime atrocities".

What he ignores is the Internet's use as a propaganda tool. This could have been a contrarian view of Gandhi if it didn't buzz with quasi-scientific froth. If you want to read Kulkarni, read his sharp newspaper columns. For the sake of Kulkarni, Gandhi and the Internet, avoid this doorstopper of a gobbledygook.