Nayapur is the face of the New India. As a village it may be small, but that in no way represents the aspirations of its people. Life in Nayapur has been transformed ever since India Post set up its Tech 7-11 computer and communications centre a year ago. The Nayapur Post Office has 10 computers, 3 of them multimedia-enabled. They are connected to a Server, and on to the Internet via the India Post Network. The ten client computers are no ordinary computers they are of mid-1990s vintage, Pentium class machines, running at 200-300 Mhz, with 16 /32 MB RAM, and without a hard disk, CD-ROM drive or floppy disk! Many residents of Nayapur have TV-PCs in their homes, which connect to the Server at the Post Office over wireless. The local Police Station, Panchayat office, bank, school all have similar, old diskless computers which connect wirelessly to the Post Office server for their computing and storage needs. This is the amazing story of how these old computers running open-source software with full support for local languages combined with the Will, Vision and Entrepreneurial Thinking of the India Post team to transform the lives of the residents of Nayapur. The story takes you through a day in the life of one family in Nayapur.
Pitaji, Mataji, Gautam, Ganga and Gauri live in Nayapur. Pitaji works on the farm. Mataji is a home-maker, and runs a small enterprise which is a Lijjat Pappad franchisee. Their son, Gautam, works in a call centre in a nearby village, coming home only on the weekends. Gauri, their daughter, is in the ninth standard at the local school. Ganga, Gautam’s wife, teaches at the same school.
Pitaji wakes up in the morning and walks up to his computer. Old habits have long since died. Pitaji now drinks his morning cup of tea in front of the computer, which uses their TV as its monitor. He opens up his Digital Dashboard and checks for the latest updates on his favourite sites. From his list of bookmarks, he clicks through to read his personalised Hindi newspaper Mera Krishi Dainik. It gives him the local news, updates in the world of agricultural technologies, commodity prices and his local weather. He is especially interested in the classifieds, as he is seeking to buy a used tractor at a good price. He also checks out another bookmarked site, AgriDigest.com, a community weblog of various farmers like him, who use it to share interesting stories and ideas, and discuss ways to improve production. Ever since Gauri showed him the site a few months ago, it has become his favourite website, primarily because it keeps him connected with the agriculturalists community from other parts of India. Pitaji also checks his email he notes that he needs to pay the electricity bill. By now, Gauri has woken up. She helps Pitaji fill out an online form at AgriBank requesting a loan for the purchase of the tractor.
Gauri then takes over the computer, and accesses her schools Educational Dashboard to see her teachers comments on the homework she had submitted the previous day. She notes that her class has been given a new assignment for which she has to visit the Post Office it requires her to use some multimedia features. Gautam is also online from his home, so she chats with him via the Instant Messenger for a few minutes.
Tomorrow: The Story of Nayapur (continued)