By Javeed Ali
Internet has become an important part of our lives. It has made inroads in every sphere of our daily schedule. It has made the world a “Global Village” where everyone is connected to each other just a click away. It is a storehouse of information on all subjects and events. It has made information access easier and user friendly. Volumes of information is imbibed in few KBs of databank and is made available to all information seekers through Internet all over the globe. Internet has made our chores comfortable and streamlined the functioning of all existing processes. Anything of everything can be found on Internet in a flash. Business and trade have also made its dependence on Internet owing to its innovative and well connected system with the customers.
The most widely used part of Internet is Social Networking sites like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and so on which are used by almost every soul on this earth. In present times, Social Media have occupied the special place in all aspects of daily routine of all human beings belonging to different thoughts and ideologies. We do spend most of our time on Social Media for different purposes and requirements. Some use it in a productive way and achieve best results which help them to sustain their life in an immaculate way. On the other side, some use it in a negative way which spoils their life and future endeavours.
With all the good things comes the bad things as well and same is the case with Internet. Despite the fact it has brought many handy things in our life, it has also snatched the basic morals and ethics of our life. Netizens spend a larger part of their time on Internet thereby preventing them from performing the traditional and religious activities which are of paramount importance to attain the salvation and cheerfulness in our lives. Positive aspect of Internet cannot be ignored and in the same way negative segment cannot be sidelined. There are two important parameters of every human soul with which life is spent i.e., Cultural values and religious beliefs. Both need time and which in most cases is lost on Internet/Social Media. Our religion along with our family needs our time which we unfortunately waste on unnecessary things on Social Media Networks and Internet. We get too much engrossed in virtual world (Internet) that we forget about our real life which craves for our attention.
In Islam, there is a concept known as “Silah Rehmi” which means to visit our nears and dears frequently and to enquire about their wellbeing. Lot of emphasis have been laid over it. Also, there is a Hadith which says that even if it takes two years journey to visit a relative staying at far away place we should embark on that journey. Visiting our relatives and friends makes us fresh, thrilled and we get a much needed relief from our daily anxieties. With the advent of Internet, we have confined ourselves to Smartphones, Tablets and other gadgets which have harmed our social life to a large extent. In past, people used to spend their time with elders, peers and younger ones and used to exchange pleasantries followed by useful conversations which have always proved beneficial for the betterment of the society in general and for individuals in particular. It’s a proven fact that visiting our relatives and friends have a lot of religious and natural benefits which we normally waste on digital world. Its tragic that we lose these benefits due to undue usage of Internet facility which can be avoided to optimize our life as per our religious beliefs and traditional customs. Internet is a boon but when it’s used injudiciously then it becomes a bane. It can make or mar one’s life depending upon how its utilized. We do stay online on Social Networking Sites for excessive time which also hampers the process of nurturing our talent as we don’t give a sufficient time on improving our skills.
Its said that excess to everything is bad and same applies for Internet and Social Media. The time which could have been used for fruitful purposes is wasted on useless gossips and discussions on Social Media. The time which could have been used for reading informative and religious books is wasted on rebuking and cursing our opponents on Internet. The time which could have been spent performing our religious obligations is destroyed on watching obscene and abominable videos on YouTube.
There are some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which provide free Internet facility but we fail to understand that they snatch our precious time and solace which is more worthy and priceless. Our parents crave for our presence and words but we never bother to spent our time with them despite knowing that spending time with them is “Ibadah” (worship).
On the cultural part, we are completely lost. For instance, modern day Kashmiri girl can’t sing a Kashmiri wedding folk song “Wanwun” as she finds more comfort in Western music which is easily accessed on Smartphones via Internet. The time will come when “Wanwun” will be only in the History books of Kashmir.
We have got too much dependent on Internet which has made us lethargic and we badly fail in our religious and cultural facets of our life. The toll of obese people are increasing day by day as they don’t spare time for exercises and outings as a result they become physically weak and lazy. Staying online for late night hours have made us insomniac which has made us unable to get a proper sleep. Staying glued to digital gadgets also damages the eyesight and leads to a disease know as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) which also puts strain and pain in eyes. Working adults aren’t the only ones affected. Kids who stare at tablets or use computers also face the same issues.
At times the establishment in Kashmir snaps the internet facility which according to them is to prevent rumour mongers from spreading rumours and to keep situation under control in order to maintain law & order. We do get miffed with frequent breakdown of Internet facility and it also hobbles the economic growth as much of the business is dependent on it. Losses worth billions are incurred and people do suffer on economic front. Economic losses due to Internet blockage cannot be neglected but I want people to use this in a positive way. This should not be construed that I support the Internet breakdown by the authorities but I aspire that we should achieve positive benefits out of it. We can try to achieve back the lost cultural and religious values in times of no Internet and get back to our real life. In Quran, its mentioned that we should stay away from those things which takes us away from the creator. if disproportionate Internet usage becomes a hurdle in achieving our religious and social goals we should give it a break and Internet ban can play a vital role in that direction.
Generally students and aspirants who are preparing for various competitive exams waste their time on Internet and Social Media which shatters their preparations and they fail to excel in their respective exams. One of the toppers of Kashmir once said that she topped in her exams as she stayed aloof from Social Media and that paved the way for her brilliant success in her exams. When Internet is banned owing to security reasons by Govt, the same time period could be utilized aptly to outshine in various tests including competitive exams.
Life is beautiful and sometimes it should be spent in nature to enjoy the real beauty of our existence away from artificial world (Internet). There is no doubt that we suffer economically due to frequent Internet blockades but at the same time it can be used in a positive note with which we can get back to our real life and generate and promote creativity in us.
Former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said, “Sometimes, it’s better to bunk a class and enjoy with friends”. We can apply the same trend vis-à-vis Internet in which we can get off from the Internet sometimes to enjoy the real elegance and charm of nature. Momentarily Internet stoppage provides us an opportune moment to accomplish the same.
The Writer Can Be Reached At [email protected]