‘Dadaji’s Sena’ : micro-networks in the public service

The idea of developing holistic solutions for problems that plague the developing world is certainly challenging. These are solutions that have positive ‘spin offs’ in a multiplicity of areas, while conjuring solutions to address a specific problem. In the developing world, we are akin to Apollo 13 stranded in outer space – low on power. We are all shouting “Houston we have a problem!” – in desperation, trying to achieve an elusive comeback with systems approaching “shut down”.
The question is, how do we pull off a ‘comeback’ with some wire and duct tape solutions? The solutions I advocate are ‘green’ – not the liquid and explosive kind from science-fiction films but those that address the issue of WASTE. My definition of waste is unwanted, undesired, unutilised and underutilised resources – which we call trash, garbage junk, rubbish etc, simply because we remain clueless what to do with it. Such waste is not just what we throw into two bins called ‘organic’ and ‘inorganic’ but includes humans like senior citizens in old-age homes, children in orphanages and juvenile homes – both in need of appreciation- technology, like cell phones and even time! The inspiration for seeking ‘green’ solutions originated with the extraterrestrial.
SETI@home (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is an extremely popular volunteer computing project launched by the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Internet connected computers – when in idle mode – search the skies for life by analysing radio telescope data. Over five million users in 200 countries – including this writer-contribute over 19 billion hours of computer processing time with an average throughput of 387 Teraflops, equivalent to the second fastest computer on earth.
Of what relevance is SETI to resolving civic problems? The answer is apparent. Like SETI, we have to use existing @Home resources. C+ive is an effort in that direction. We have millions of retired senior citizens – with billions of man-hours of experience – going to waste. We also have millions of school-going children, glue sniffing street-children, who must be instilled with civic awareness to prevent them from becoming violators of the future. Many of our youth are already in organisations like the Scouts and Guides,NCC ashrams and orphanages who can contribute to public service with their leadership abilities. Our senior citizens could provide leadership to squads of neighbourhood children, christened ‘Dadaji’s Sena’. Armed with cell phones – with cameras of course – they take date-stamped photographs of civic infringements, traffic violators, strangers in a neighbourhood and image transfer their data onto the C+ive website which could then be shared with Police HQ in the various cities. Imagine the revenues to be earned from wrong parking, committing public nuisance, dumping garbage -the endless wealth of civic infringements! While we treat the traffic policeman with utter contempt and condescension we might be more circumspect about being caught jumping the red light by Dad, Dad’s friend, son or son’s friend – which ought to prove an efficacious moral deterrent.
Cell-phones with Dadaji’s Sena in each neighbourhood, could create micro-networks in the public service, saving millions of dollars on CCTV systems – monitoring public thoroughfares. We create the cheapest known national and internal security network by reposing our confidence in deprived youth; affording them the opportunity to nuture their self-esteem in service of society and earning public appreciation for it.
Dadaji’s Sena could earn a percentage from every fine that could be invested in primary health care and education in the villages of India. Your views and opinions are certainly welcome along with your inputs on the feasibility of implementing such a pilot scheme in your neighbourhood, community and city, before it can develop into a larger application.
Source: Ranjan Kamath citizen. positive@gmail.com


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