Life with and beyond internet

By Javeed Ali

The internet has changed the globe. It has immensely impacted communication, practically reducing the world to a global village by enabling individuals to communicate easily and swiftly. It has made inroads in every sphere of daily schedule. Even the conventional ways of buying and selling, to a large extent, stand transformed. It is a storehouse of information on all subjects and events. It has made information access easier and user friendly. Volumes of information are now imbibed in few KBs of databank and available to all information seekers through Internet all over the world. Internet has even made 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 individual 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. People now spend most of time on social media for varied purposes.

Some use it in a productive way and achieve best results which help them to sustain their life in an immaculate way. Others use it in a negative manner to spoil their life and future endeavours.

As they say, with all the good things comes the bad things and same is the case with Internet.

Despite the fact it has brought many handy things in ordinary life, it has also impacted the basic morals and ethics of living. Netizens spend a larger part of their time on Internet and in the process, many fail to perform the traditional and religious activities otherwise of paramount importance to attain the salvation and cheerfulness in life.

While positive aspect of Internet cannot be ignored, its negative segment begs to be sidelined utterly. There are two important parameters of every human soul for sojourn on the globe—cultural values and religious beliefs. Both need time and which in most cases is consumed on internet/social media. Religion along with family needs time but people are now too much engrossed in virtual world that they forget about real life and it craves for attention by all.
Talking about Islam, there is a concept known as “Silah Rehmi” which means to visit nears and dears frequently and to enquire about their wellbeing. Lot of emphasis has been laid over it. Also, there is a Hadith (saying by beloved prophet) which underlines that even if it takes two years journey to visit a relative staying at faraway place, one should embark on that journey. Visiting relatives and friends makes people fresh, thrilled and get a much needed relief from daily anxieties. With the advent of Internet, people have confined themselves to smart phones, tablets and other gadgets which have harmed the social life to a large extent. In past, people used to spend 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 relatives and friends have a lot of religious and natural benefits which people now waste on digital world. It’s tragic to lose these benefits due to undue usage of internet. The internet, without an iota of doubt, is a boon. When used injudiciously, it becomes a bane. It can make or mar one’s life, depending upon how it’s utilized. People do stay online on social networking sites for excessive time which also hampers the process of nurturing talent and skill.

As they say, 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 ‘online’. The time which could have been used for reading informative and religious books is wasted on rebuking and cursing opponents on internet. The time which could have been spent performing religious obligations is spent carelessly on watching abominable videos on YouTube.

There are some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which provide free Internet facility but people fail to understand that they snatch precious time and solace which is more worthy and priceless. Now parents crave for presence of their wards. Unbothered, children fail to spent time with them knowing well that spending time with them is “Ibadah” (worship) in Islam.

On the cultural part, people are lost, that too completely. 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 smart phones via internet. The time will come when “Wanwun” will be only in the history books of Kashmir.

People have too much dependence on internet which has made them lethargic to perform onus. Staying online for late night hours have made people insomniac, even snatching proper sleep from them. 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 administration in Kashmir snaps the internet facility which according to them is to prevent rumourmongers from spreading rumour and to keep situation under control in order to maintain law and order. People get miffed as it affected their routine activity and also hobbles the economic growth as much of the business now depends on it. Losses worth billions are incurred and people do suffer on economic front and it cannot be neglected. Sometimes, as they, it’s a blessing in disguise. It provides an opportunity for introspection. While internet blockade should never happen at the cost people’s livelihood, it provides an opportunity to re-establish cultural and religious values and allows people to get back to real life. In Holy Quran, it’s mentioned that people should stay away from those things which takes them away from the creator. If disproportionate Internet usage becomes a hurdle in achieving the religious and social goals, people should give it a break.

Generally students and aspirants who are preparing for various competitive exams waste time on internet and social media which mars 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. When Internet is banned owing to security reasons, the same time could be utilized aptly to outshine in various tests including competitive exams.

Life is beautiful and it ought to be spent as provided by nature. Enjoy it away from artificial or virtual world.
Former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said, “Sometimes, it’s better to bunk a class and enjoy with friends”. People can apply the same vis-à-vis Internet in which they can get off from the internet sometimes to enjoy the real elegance and charm of nature.

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