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Low Tech Meets High Tech on Railway in India

I am now back to blogging after a three-week vacation to India. Here is my favorite India technology story, perhaps after my teaching a Swami to blog:

My wife and I had arrived at the Nazamuddin railway station in New Delhi for a night train to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The scene at the station probably was not much different a hundred years ago. A porter loaded two of our heavy suitcases on his head as we followed him to the correct platform. Carts of packages stacked on wooden carts with big iron wheels were pushed towards incoming trains. Whole families shared dinners or slept on the platform floor.

Finally we loaded into our 2nd Class AC sleeper section on the Bhopal Express for our relatively short three hour haul to Agra. As the train moved away from the platform, I go into a conversation with one of our fellow travelers, Atul Talegaonkar, a billing and recovery manager for the Dainik Bhaskar, a Hindi newspaper with localized editions nationwide.

Of course, I told him about Craigslist and the impact it was having on newspaper advertising in the USA. He had never heard of it, but was interested so I gave him the URL. Then much to my surprise, he pulled out his IBM laptop, logged in, typed in and up it popped on the screen. He had a wireless mobile connection that worked a bit slowly, but nevertheless, worked as the train sped through the Indian night. I was impressed. And he was equally impressed to see that craigslist has an India site. Len at Taj.jpg

Oh, the photo is of my wife and me at the Taj, speaking of high technology, meets low technology, consider what could be constructed when everything was done with just low technology, big ideas and lots of hands.

I plan to do some more touristy India blogging here, and get back to the citizen and public journalism news, including news from the upcoming AEJMC conference.

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