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Music of the Spinning Wheel: Mahatma Gandhi`s Manifesto for the Internet Age

New Delhi: The internet can be likened to Mahatma Gandhi`s spinning wheel as an agent of change - for a new networked global community that wedded to Gandhian philosophy can become a technological tool to help create a new, just, peaceful world, columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni says in his new book.

Kulkarni`s book, titled `Music of the Spinning Wheel: Mahatma Gandhi`s Manifesto for the Internet Age`, was released by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at an event here Tuesday evening.

Kulkarni, a former aide to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, says in the book, he has tried to describe the internet as an avatar of the charkha.

He said politicians, in both the Congress and BJP, need to rediscover the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi afresh.

"The internet, as a spinning wheel, is a technological tool, to help us move to a higher plane.. and guided by Gandhi`s wisdom it will guide us to a higher trajectory," he said at the book launch.

Kalam, praising the book as a "great research contribution", said Gandhi`s philosophy and thinking was conveyed in the work.

Advani said he had not read such an "original" book in many years. He described the internet as a "huge invention" to help empower the masses".

"For empowerment of the common man, internet is the biggest contributory tool," he said.

Congress leader and former minister Shashi Tharoor said Mahatma Gandhi would observe a day of silence every week. In order to convey a message, he would write a note. "Imagine what he would have done with SMS, email and even twitter," he said.

Tharoor said broadband access, which stood at around 10-15 percent penetration currently in the country, was being planned to be increased "as a tool of inclusive development".

He said once villages are connected to internet, then it will enable decentralization of development which would "fulfill Gandhi`s dream".

However, he said he did not agree with Kulkarni`s view that internet can be a forum of non violence.

"The internet can be used by votaries of violence - for cyber war, cyber violence," he said citing the example of morphed images of violence being used to incite ethnic violence in Assam and the fleeing of thousands of people from the northeast from southern cities to their homes.

"The internet can be used to create one world, it can also be used to divide the world," said Tharoor, praising the book as "meticulously researched and an authoritative work".

IANS

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