So what if the $10 laptop is worth $30? So what if it is actually $100 and the concerned Indian official did not read one “zero” as it was mistyped —after all what’s a few zeroes between friends, especially when the zero represents representatives of the Indian government. So what if the laptop is not a laptop at all but a hyped up storage device,a glorified pen drive? And finally so what that Ramar Pillai could not make gasoline from water?
Still hum hain be-misaal. Iske upar naheen bolne ka.
The “not-really” $10 laptop, cited as the latest example of massive government bumbling, its technological ineptness and its desire for quick publicity, has become an object of world-wide ridicule.
Of course this whole brouhaha is nothing but a casteist conspiracy that bases itself on the elitist assumption that just because something does not look or behave like a laptop, it cannot be called a “laptop”.
After all, the HRD ministry and its supporters in the intelligentsia have argued, most convincingly I would say over the past few years, that merit is an elitist construct used as a mechanism to discriminate against the weaker sections.
Following the same logic, I believe that “definitions” of what constitutes a mobile computing device (namely the mandatory presence of an input and an output device) are random concepts of “merit” that have been foisted on popular consciousness by the technical elites in order to deprive the ‘socially weaker’ members of the fraternity (devices like the dus rupaiyaa wonder or a power adapter) a place at the table, the right to be called a “laptop”.
And it’s high time someone brought in some “technical justice”.
If the government has dropped the ball in any sphere, I would say that they did not properly market and package the remarkable engineering marvel. Releasing the mobile device in front of Tirupati temple sent the right message that servicing the laptop is an act left upto God. So far so good. For a machine that is targeted towards students, it serves its primary purpose well. That is it is a device that can store “those” special pictures and videos that is the spice of life, the primary reason why we always wanted our first computer.
But then the mistake was made. In what would have silenced the dissenting voices in one shot, the government should have simply marketed the gizmo as a storage device with the spirit of a laptop, while at the same time reminding people that:
A lizard without a tail is still a lizard.
A man without a brain is still a politician.
And a laptop without a keyboard and a display unit, that actually needs to be connected to a computer in order to work, is also a laptop.