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Paul Vadakumpadan, Guwahati says,
CELL PHONE AND CELL LIFE
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Guwahati, Apr. 10. Monks of old lived in little cells. Now most have moved from such cells to bigger rooms. Some young students still sleep in cells. The word cell today is increasingly used for cells in a jail. I have no intention at all to talk about that unfortunate use of the word.

CELL PHONE AND CELL LIFE

ife in several parts of the world, especially in richer countries has become more and more individualistic. The latest symbol of that individualism is the cell phone. It penetrates all walls including monastic walls. It is a 24x7 guest/ intruder. Its power is so pervasive that efforts to limit its nuisance value have achieved precious little. There are persons who attend to calls even during prayer. God is so patient that he bears up even with such insults. Man is much less patient. In the last American election, a candidate who looked at his cell phone while addressing the  public had to withdraw from the presidential primaries.  
The incredible growth of this technological marvel and its universal appeal are amazing. It was not very long ago that making a long distance phone call  required much time, effort and even luck. It was, of course, the time not only of landline but of government monopoly. The telephone was out of order as many days as it was in order. Once it went out of order, to get it in order required complaint after complaint, bribes to the local telecom employees, and so on. That such a miserable service has overnight given way to the modern efficient and reliable  telephone service is absolutely  remarkable. Credit goes to technology as well as long overdue changes in government policy, ushered in by that bureaucrat turned finance minister turned prime minister. The telephone revolution in India shows that change for the better is possible. Progress is within our reach.
At the same time assets and liabilities go together. If the cell phone contributes more to individualism than to communication, it becomes more of a liability. If it contributes more to communication than to individualism it becomes a magnificent instrument at the service of humanity. Communication avoids confrontation. Communication builds up community at all levels, from the lowest to the highest.
May all those who use this instrument do so to further genuine communication, sharing and community enrichment. May it not be used for the enhancement of the so-called private space, which only limits enriching communication and can even sound the death knell of the community.

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