When we were still in India, I was invited by someone who wanted to show me a TV report. The news report was about Kanpura, a village in Rajasthan, close to Ajmer. It is a small village and I heard this name the first time when the American President Barack Obama visited India and had a live video conference with the people of Kanpura.
The villagers told him that they have computers and internet in their village and use high technology for a lot of different tasks. They told the President how much easier everything was nowadays with modern technology. Several people came forward to talk to Obama, a student, a nurse, some officials and Sachin Pilot, a Member of Parliament who is from that area and arranged the whole program.
The student told Obama how nice and easy it is now for him to study. He doesn’t have to go 20 kilometers to the next town anymore but can download everything from the internet, look at his syllabus online and just do everything from home. The nurse used some medical terms explaining how her work was much easier with the computer and the internet now. Some more people talked about similar topics. Sachin Pilot himself, dressed like a farmer, also addressed the President.
The whole thing took maybe half an hour and Obama was very impressed to see how hi-tech savvy even Indian villagers are. Obama left India and after two weeks some TV channels had the idea to visit Kanpura again. The report that I saw compared what the villagers say now to what they told then.
The room with the sign ‘Computer Room’ was locked. People were sitting in their offices writing with pens on paper. In front of the camera an employee manually filled a birth certificate. When the camera team was allowed to see the inside of the computer room, they filmed a thick layer of dust on everything showing that it has not been used probably even the day after the interview with Obama.
The proud mayor of Kanpura told them that – if they are lucky – they get three to four hours electricity per day, forget a computer or even internet. The student who had given the interview was unfortunately not available. The mayor actually told that the boy does not live in this village at all. His family is there but he lives in another town. With some effort they could however track down the nurse and ask her some question about her use of computers and internet. She told ‘Obama came and the computers came.’ When asked if she used the computer after the interview with Obama, she shook her head and smiled.
They found many people who told them that the whole interview was only fake, only drama. Politicians had the idea to make this whole setup to entertain the American President. They came, installed everything, had a video conference over thousands of miles and afterwards simply packed up and left, probably not even an hour later the village was back to normal. It looks just like before, the only difference is the locked-up computer room. Do you think Obama would ever think about those whom he talked with and talk to Kanpura again?
It is only political drama but this will not be the only case, you will find hundreds of stories like this. High politicians thought of this and fooled everyone. They did not fool just anybody, they fooled the American President! I think this is also a little bit Indian. You make it work, no matter what is tomorrow, for today it is enough! Politicians do drama everywhere but it is really special to see this much drama set up for this one interview.