Aryan Chhabria is already a leader at 14, not in his classroom but on the virtual world of Facebook. He launched an online community to share views on corruption, economy and governance and moderates heated debates by community members, now reaching 250.
Aryan Chhabria started an online community group on Facebook called Petition to open all Indian Swiss Bank Accounts
“I have started a group on Facebook called Petition to Open All Indian Swiss Bank Accounts. People need to tell us how much money they have. Look at the salary our politicians get and if you compare it to their assets, you can see the yawning gap. Where does the money go? We need to ask them these questions and they are answerable,” inquires Chhabria, defying his teenaged years.
Chhabria and his peers are part of a parallel world and live a dual existence in the real and virtual worlds of today. The new youth hangs out on social networking sites more than at nukkads (street corners), school canteens and playgrounds. This has not only helped them to develop new jargon, it has also made them more aware of current happenings, all at the click of a button.
One look at the page and you will be pleasantly surprised to read the posts on Chhabria’s Facebook group, which deals with corruption in high places. Reads one such post: “India’s GDP is $1.9 trillion and the Swiss Bank has another $1.46 trillion of Indian money. So there is more Indian money in the Swiss bank than in the country.”
Chhabria and his peers don’t stop at debating alone. He makes a fervent appeal, “We would like as many people to join in and contribute to the cause as possible, because only then can we bring about a change.”
This cyber world which was non-existent ten years ago, is nowadays taken seriously by politicians and celebrities. These sites can bring people together and build up momentum on a hot issue.
For instance, a huge protest in Mumbai, a week after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks erupted due to a campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Social networking sites do not only generate debates they also help friends stay connected or make new friends or getting back in touch with long lost friends.
It has permeated so deeply in the youth that it’s no longer enough to be friends in the real world, it’s important to cement that friendship on social network sites too. It’s a 24×7 world, where staying online is the norm rather than exception. But if these sites have created opportunities, helped friends stay in touch and helped galvanise public opinion there is also another not so nice side of the networking coin.