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(Vol 26 No 3)
Online-istan

As communication technology penetrates deeper into our lives Southasia is experiencing dramatic changes. Though IT is still the preserve of a minority, in urban enclaves it can, at times, seem ubiquitous. The internet may now be the preferred mode of communication even where physical interaction is not difficult, and social media has become an accepted component of human relationships, not just a reflection of them. The technology has also provided safety nets for marginalised communities, and the virtual can often be more ‘real’ than the real world, where we have to mask our identities. Yet this new territory remains uncharted in many ways, except by governments who have been quick to police it through censorship and surveillance.
Indeed, hopes that the internet would create greater empathy between populations by allowing easy, virtual crossing of borders have largely proven naÏve. IT has been as useful to those challenging divides as those generating them. Search engines sort users by increasingly narrow profiles in order to predetermine what goods, services and opinions to display. In the midst of this churning, the rate of IT development suggests that the internet will grow and evolve in ways we cannot visualise now. This quarterly serves as a landmark on a long, ongoing journey, drawing on contributions from Sri Lanka to Nepal.

Lawrence Liang on the challenge posed by the internet on our online and offline persona
Nalaka Gunawardene
on being a digital immigrant
Deepak Adhikari on the wireless village
Smriti Mallapaty on seeding the future
Elen Turner reviews Hanifa Deen on the personal history of Taslima Nasrin
C R Bijoy reviews Shashank Kela on Adivasi history
Anand Teltumbde reviews Ranabir Samaddar on West Bengal’s Revolution
Dipankar Sinha reviews a new publication on intermedia
Prajwal Parajuly introduces the winners of our short story competition: Fehmida Zakeer and Sumana Roy

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