India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphoneshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/smartphones-whatsapp-google-news-youtube-facebook-jio-telecom-fake-news-5515296/

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones

For this New Year issue, The Sunday Express tries to tell the story of India online, and of India 2018, through people caught in its stories, and their smartphones.

In 2017, the cost of 1 GB in India, at 1.53 per cent of gross national income per capita, was the cheapest among all 61 low- and middle-income countries.

The United Nations considers it a marker of affordable Internet, Indians consume an average of it every day, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out in October that it now costs “less than a small bottle of cold drink in India”. It actually costs under Rs 3. For that price, you can now get data that helps you stream a full Bollywood film in HD quality, or 200-odd songs.

In 2017, the cost of 1 GB in India, at 1.53 per cent of gross national income per capita, was the cheapest among all 61 low- and middle-income countries, making it among the most competitive mobile markets. The UN considers Internet affordable if this price is 2 per cent or lower.

As cheaper Internet gets more and more online, the numbers have been telling: after making up the largest chunk on Facebook (294 million) and WhatsApp (200 million), Indians now comprise the second-largest smartphone market in the world (40.4 million units last quarter). And yet, almost 70 per cent of India’s 1.25 billion population is not yet covered by the Internet.

In those numbers lies the India story, of a yearning demand and a yawning gap. Both played out to equal effect in 2018, a year that saw the schisms of old resurface in Dalit and farmer protests across the country, while the march of the new saw lynchings sparked by rumours on WhatsApp and use of social media to rally support during the Kerala floods. And if the Internet’s powers were evident in MeToo, political parties are bracing to face the might of it heading into perhaps India’s first social media election. In attempts to tame the beast, both WhatsApp and Facebook have made amends, by limiting forwards and committing to fight fake news. The year ended with news that the government was planning amendments to make it mandatory for online platforms to “proactively” deploy technology to ferret out “unlawful” content.

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For this New Year issue, The Sunday Express tries to tell the story of India online, and of India 2018, through people caught in its stories, and their smartphones — from a young Dalit in Bhima Koregaon worried about caste posts, to a priest in Ayodhya with his travel apps; an NRC applicant who is now a YouTube star, to a flood-hit fisherman interested in graphic designing; a domestic help who can’t read and uses speech-to-text app, to a youth in Shopian searching chess contests; an Agra reporter facing her MeToo, to a person on 417 WhatsApp groups celebrating Sec 377 freedom; Zeb of Rakbar’s village who says phones as political sop only helps the Ambanis, to Gulab looking for job ads in Dhule, where 5 were killed on suspicion of being child-lifters; an MP farmer’s son looking for information related to agriculture, to a woman in TN seeking colleges; a guard at the tallest statue in the world with his ringtone of a Punjabi song, to a CRPF jawan navigating Bastar on Oruxmaps; and the unemployed in Bulandshahr seeking marital advice, to the migrant in Delhi with his frequent calls to his brother.

Here’s their answer to ‘What’s on your phone?’

‘I search for job openings at cruises and other locations abroad’

Pritish Athawale | 24 |B.Sc, Hotel Management; from Sanaswadi village near Bhima Koregaon, Pune

A DALIT rally near Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, to mark the bicentennial celebration of a battle, had led to caste clashes and Naxalism charges against several organisers and supporters. Athawale is a B.Sc, Hotel Management student. The Dalit family, including his parents and two younger brothers who are also studying, makes around Rs 3 lakh annually. Athawale says he could never imagine an incident of the magnitude of Bhima Koregaon.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Athawale says he could never imagine an incident of the magnitude of Bhima Koregaon.

Most frequently used apps

I use email, Google, and Netflix. I use the phone to stay updated about official communications as well as to watch movies and TV serials, and to listen to music on Saavn mobile app.

Searches most often for
Jobs, movies/serials on Netflix and YouTube.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I am not very active on Facebook or WhatsApp, so no recent post. The display picture on my WhatsApp is older than a year.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am part of about 10 groups, four of which are work-related.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I read updates from politics, but don’t share politically inclined messages.

Source of news
I mostly access news through links shared on Facebook. I don’t have any exclusive news apps.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Posts and comments made on the basis of one’s caste bother me the most.

On his speed dial
No one.

Selfies in a day
I am not too keen on selfies. I click pictures when I go on outings with friends or at family functions.

Phone resolution for 2019
The present phone covers insurance against theft or damage. I may replace it with a new handset of the same model and company.

Phone as political sop
I don’t support it.

Phone as a social problem
Though phones are a necessity, they must be used responsibly. Social media, in particular, must be used with restraint so as to not hurt anybody’s sentiments.

(BY ANJALI MARAR)

‘I last looked for a railway recruitment ad’

Gulab Ramdas Pawar | 24 | BA student; resident of the village in Dhule district, Maharashtra, where five were lynched on suspicion of being ‘child-lifters’

A resident of Rainpada village in Dhule district, Pawar is in the third year of his BA course. The family, including his parents, owns 3.5 acres of non-irrigated land and a grocery shop in the village, and makes around Rs 50,000 in all a year. Five members of a nomadic tribal community were lynched by a mob in Rainpada village in July 2018 on suspicion of being child-lifters. In a year that saw several such killings, this was one of the worst episodes.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
e family, including his parents, owns 3.5 acres of non-irrigated land and a grocery shop in the village, and makes around Rs 50,000 in all a year.

Most frequently used apps

I have seven apps, including WhatsApp, Hotstar, BHIM app, Paytm and few apps related to mobile recharge. I use WhatsApp and the mobile recharge apps the most.

Searches most often for

I search for job recruitment-related news and advertisements, and for Marathi and Hindi songs, so as to download them.

Post shared in the last 24 hours

A good morning message on WhatsApp. I don’t see Facebook much.

Number of WhatsApp groups

I am part of seven groups. While some groups are of friends, others are related to job recruitment updates.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I normally don’t share political messages. The last message I received on WhatsApp was about a state-level tribal protest to be held in Nashik on January 16.

Source of news

Entirely TV, sometimes YouTube. No newspaper comes to our village.
Disturbing content for him on social media

Whenever I hear about violence and about people being falsely arrested.
On his speed dial

My father.
Selfies in a day

Whenever I feel like clicking and whenever I visit new places. One selfie in 2-3 days.
Phone resolution for 2019

I have just bought it. So, I will buy a new model better than my current model.
Phone as political sop

If it is given happily, then it is good.
Phone as a social problem

People cannot live without a phone. It is good as many things can be captured on it. But, it shouldn’t be misused for sending wrong messages or photos.

(BY VISHWAS WAGHMODE)

‘Nobody has any respect for the others in a WhatsApp group. So I never talk, just watch’

Malathi K | 20 | Class 12 dropout; a Dalit in relationship with a person from another caste in Pallavaram, Chennai

Malathi, who lives with her elder brother and mother in Chennai, works as a helper in a restaurant, earning Rs 8,000 a month. She plans to get married soon — to someone from another caste. In Tamil Nadu, caste fault lines often lead to honour killings. Malathi, says caste was never an issue for them: “I never asked his caste, he didn’t ask mine.”

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Malathi, says caste was never an issue for them: “I never asked his caste, he didn’t ask mine.”

Most frequently used apps
I have over a dozen apps. But I mostly use WhatsApp, YouTube, Kitchen Story (a cooking app), a dictionary app and a Bharathiyar app (with poems of the Tamil poet Subramaniya Bharathiyar). I also use a make-up app. I am not on Facebook.

Searches most often for
I want to become a teacher. My boyfriend works in a software firm and has promised to help me resume studies after marriage. So I keep searching for colleges we can afford.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
A photo of a relative’s one-year-old child.

Number of WhatsApp groups
One, my school WhatsApp group.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I never share such messages.

Source of news
YouTube.

Disturbing content for her on social media
Nobody has any respect for what the others say in a WhatsApp group. So I never talk, just watch.

On her speed dial
I never use speed dial.

Selfies in a day
I rarely take selfies. Whenever I am sad, I change my WhatsApp profile photo.

Phone resolution for 2019
Nothing that I can think of.

Phone as political sop
I got a free laptop from the government after my Class 12. What’s a free phone?

Phone as a social problem
After I met my boyfriend, my phone use has come down.

(BY ARUN JANARDHANAN)

‘I wanted a new phone but at Rs 20,000 it was way over my budget’

Vinay R Tadvi | 26 | ITI diploma holder; a security guard at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia Colony, Narmada district

A diploma holder from the Industrial Training Institute, Rajpipla, Tadvi is a guard at Gate No. 3 at the Statue of Unity, earning Rs 12,500 a month. Unmarried, Tadvi lives with his farmer parents in Gora village, 7 km away. Unveiled on October 31, the Statue of Unity is the tallest in the world.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Tadvi is a guard at Gate No. 3 at the Statue of Unity, earning Rs 12,500 a month.

Most frequently used apps
I use 24 apps, including a photo editing app, a motivational status app, Instagram, Google Tez, Facebook, MXplayer, Zender. I use WhatsApp, YouTube the most.

Searches most often for
Movie trailers and songs, especially Bollywood. I read about celebrities. I hardly talk over the phone unless an emergency.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
A goodnight image to a friend.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am a part of seven, mostly groups with my ITI friends and my previous colleagues.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I stay away from politics and political messages. I never forward such messages.

Source of news
On WhatsApp I get forwarded messages, including newspaper clippings, links.

Express Opinion

Disturbing content for him on social media
Nothing in particular. Like I said, I spend more time watching movies.

On his speed dial
My father.

Selfies in a day
I ask my friends to take my pictures.

Phone resolution for 2019
I wanted to buy Vivo V7+ but, at around Rs 20,000, it was way over my budget.

Phone as political sop
In areas where there is less connectivity, mobiles will help people. But apart from that, phones are a waste of time.

Phone as a social problem
I don’t get much time to use phones during my duty hours from 7.30 am to 8 pm. But I do see tourists using their phones all the time. They fail to see things around.

(BY AISHWARYA MOHANTY)

‘Phone sops are useless. My brother got one with not enough RAM, memory’

Abhishek Dubey | 22 | M.Sc student; son of a farmer from Itarsi, Madhya Pradesh

Dubey, a first-year MSc student in Itarsi, spends most of his time on his father’s 30-acre field in Rupapur village, where they grow wheat, rice and moong. Dubey’s father qualifies for the new Congress government’s waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh, but the 22-year-old believes “such schemes will only make farmers lazy. Instead, the government should ensure fair price for crops.”

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Dubey’s father qualifies for the new Congress government’s waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh, but the 22-year-old believes “such schemes will only make farmers lazy.

Most frequently used apps
WhatsApp, Facebook, agriculture app ‘One Kisan’ and another app of a private fertiliser company.

Searches most often for
Agriculture-related information, meanings of English words and mathematics.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
On Facebook, the Chief Minister’s announcement about loan waiver.

Number of WhatsApp groups
Six or seven.

Last shared or received political message on phone
Yes, I do share such messages, but not necessarily about a particular party. The one I shared about three days ago was a post on Facebook about nationalism.

Source of news
JioXpress news app and news websites. I also Google for news that I want to read more about.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Nothing in particular, but that could be because I don’t accept friend requests on Facebook from strangers.

On his speed dial
Family members and friends.

Selfies in a day
I don’t take them very often, only when I go to tourist places. The last selfie I took was against the rising sun.

Phone resolution for 2019
I am interested in dairy farming and organic crops, so maybe when I start some activity of my own, I will need a better phone.

Phone as political sop
They give it only for their publicity. My brother got one but it’s useless — the RAM and memory are insufficient.

Phone as a social problem
I use the phone for about two-and-a half hours a day. It’s very useful.

(By Milind Ghatwai)

‘Phone is very useful for a single woman in Agra. My mother calls 5-6 times a day’

Sangam Chauhan | 25 | M.Sc in maths; juggling two jobs, living on her own in Agra

Chauhan has been working as a reporter with a local news channel in Agra for the past two-and-a-half years. An M.Sc in maths from Agra University, she also works part-time as an “accounting typist” at a private hospital, earning Rs 10,000 from both jobs. Her father, who works in the state’s Irrigation Department, mother and three younger brothers live in Mainpuri. At the centre of India’s MeToo movement — which saw several working women speak out against men in powerful positions — were women like Chauhan, trying to make a career in cities far away from their homes.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
At the centre of India’s MeToo movement — which saw several working women speak out against men in powerful positions — were women like Chauhan, trying to make a career in cities far away from their homes.

Most frequently used apps
Apart from Facebook and Google, I use the Daily Hunt News app for news both in Hindi and English. I have been preparing for government jobs in the Railways, so I refer to the Khan Academy app and the app of a local coaching centre.

Searches most often for
Mostly news. I also look for sample papers of competitive exams.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I recently read a news report about a Jatav girl being burnt alive near Agra. It made me very angry. I sat down and wrote a long post: ‘Beti iss desh mein surakshit nahin hai (girls are not safe in the country)’.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am on 40 groups. Most of them are for getting local news that I need for my job. The rest are family groups.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I don’t share or receive many political messages, but the post on Dalit girl’s murder was political. I have been receiving several messages related to it on Facebook.

Source of news
Google News. I get all my news online. Sometimes, I also read newspapers.

Disturbing content for her on social media
I find videos on Hindu-Muslim issues, cows etc, the most disturbing. During the recent violence in Bulandshahr (where an SHO was shot trying to manage a mob angry over the alleged killing of cows), there were several such videos doing the rounds that were all lies and were very disturbing.

On her speed dial
Father and brother. Safety is a big concern for a single woman in Agra and the phone is very useful. I call my mother, or she calls me, at least 5-6 times during the day. Her last call is at 9 pm to ensure I am home. When I have to be out late for reporting, I rely on all the police contacts on my phone. Whenever I sense trouble, I dial 100.

Selfies in a day
I don’t take selfies every day, but as I go around the city for my job, I click one when I see something interesting. The other day I saw a cow banging its head against my gate. I got up and quickly took a photo.

Phone resolution for 2019
I want an Mi phone with more memory.

Phone as political sop
Political parties should stop giving away phones. Instead, they should build more schools. Besides, people, especially boys, misuse phones. Not everyone is using it for educational purposes.

Phone as a social problem
We have become too dependent on our phones. I used to take tuition for a kindergarten child. He would always be glued to his phone. He even knew how to work the Internet. At home, when there is a family get-together, most people don’t talk; they are only staring at their screens.

(BY ANKITA DWIVEDI JOHRI)

‘I use WhatsApp, and a learning app called Unacademy the most’

Yamin Yasin Dar | 18 | First-year BA student; from Shopian district, the hotbed of the current Kashmir unrest

Dar belongs to Pahnoo village in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, which has seen the most number of militants killed this year in the Valley. At the end of November, the number stood at 43. Dar’s family, including his parents and three siblings, owns a small apple orchard, from which they earn Rs 2 lakh annually.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Dar’s family, including his parents and three siblings, owns a small apple orchard, from which they earn Rs 2 lakh annually.

Most frequently used apps
I have seven apps, including WhatsApp, a dictionary and apps which provide news updates related to the Valley. I use WhatsApp, and a learning app called Unacademy the most.

Searches most often for
I look for poetry, and news related to Kashmir.

Post shared in the last 24 hours.
On WhatsApp, it was a post related to current affairs for UPSC exam. On Facebook, it was a news clips about students from Shopian sent for a chess competition.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am part of 45, most of them related to UPSC. Also, news groups related to Kashmir.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I rarely share political messages. The last one was related to a PDP leader resigning and joining the National Conference.

Source of news
Almost entirely Facebook. I liked 50 news pages and they regularly provide news content related to Kashmir and India.

Disturbing content for him on social media
When someone dies. Recently seven people were killed and I felt bad about it when I saw it on my phone.

On his speed dial
My father and brother.

Selfies in a day
Whenever I visit new places. In a day, one or two.

Phone resolution for 2019
A new phone, with more battery backup, more memory and good sound. It can be a high-end model of Samsung.

Phone as political sop
I won’t take a phone if given by a political party. Phones these days are not used constructively.

Phone as a social problem
They have become an addiction. I don’t think we can survive without a phone. Just see how many times a person checks his phone every day. You wake up and check the phone, and check it again before sleeping.

(BY ADIL AKHZER)

‘I take selfies if a place is pretty. if no Naxalism, this would be a tourist spot’

Aneet Kumar Goud | 29 | Studied till Class 12; CRPF constable in Bastar

Goud, a constable with the CRPF, joined the force five years ago and is now posted at Ratenga camp in Bastar district, earning up to Rs 45,000 as salary. Bastar division saw three major Naxal attacks ahead of the first phase of polls in Chhattisgarh in November, in which 13 people, including eight security personnel, were killed. Goud’s parents and a younger sister live in his village in Ganjam, Odisha.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Aneet Kumar Goud’s parents and a younger sister live in his village in Ganjam, Odisha.

Most frequently used apps
I use video calling to speak to my family in Ganjam. The network is poor but it works sometimes.

Searches most often for
Oruxmaps. Here, we need access to high-quality maps. So I usually use Google for this app.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
None.

Number of WhatsApp groups
None.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I don’t get too many because the Internet speed is very slow.

Source of news
We watch news on TV in the camp.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Sometimes I see rumours about other people, especially targeting their religion and caste. This should stop.

On his speed dial
My family.

Selfies in a day
Rarely, only when we are in a beautiful place. If there was no Naxalism, this would have been a tourist spot.

Phone resolution for 2019
I want better connectivity. That’s good and bad. Maoists can misuse better network, but our morale would have been higher — we could have spoken to our families.

Phone as political sop
Political parties shouldn’t give it because people will then vote out of greed.

Phone as a social problem
It is bad for our children. Their physical activity is down to nothing.

(By Dipankar Ghose)

‘I can’t even wash clothes without my phone near me. I feel restless’

Chandramukhi | 23 | Never been to school; a domestic help in Delhi

Chandramukhi, who never went to school, lives with her parents, four brothers and a sister in Pratap Nagar, North Delhi, and works as a domestic help in several houses in Shakti Nagar nearby, earning Rs 12,000 per month. Domestic workers are often at the mercy of abusive employers and placement agencies, and the government is working on a national policy to expand the scope of legislation to them, including minimum wages.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Domestic workers are often at the mercy of abusive employers and placement agencies, and the government is working on a national policy to expand the scope of legislation to them, including minimum wages.

Most frequently used apps
I have nine apps on my phone, BeautyPlus, Shareit, Ludo king, JioTV, Love Stickers, Clear Memory, VidMate, Amazon and WhatsApp. I click a lot of selfies, and I use the BeautyPlus app to edit them. I also use WhatsApp a lot, to video call my boyfriend.

Searches most often for
Make-up and hairstyle tutorials, mehendi designs, songs, maps.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I sent a selfie to my sister.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am part of 14.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I don’t share political messages.

Source of news
I can’t read. For everything else too I use the speech-to-text feature or send voice notes.

Disturbing content for her on social media
I don’t like forwards that say ‘Share this and you will get…’ or ‘Share this or some curse will befall you…’.

On her speed dial
Her boyfriend.

Selfies in a day
About 10 to 15

Phone resolution for 2019
I want a bigger phone. A full-touch one, which has a better selfie camera.

Phone as political sop
I don’t understand why politicians have to bribe people for votes. If you want votes so desperately, work for them.

Phone as a social problem
Yes, phones take up too much of my time. Earlier, when I would sit with my siblings, we would play games or discuss things. Now everyone is on their phones. I can’t even wash clothes without my phone near me. I feel restless. Just last month, I almost got into an accident because I was on a video call while walking over a railway crossing.

(BY TANNU JAIN)

‘I like to watch regional songs… and videos that help resolve marital issues’

Jitender Sharma | 30 | Dropped out after Class 8; looking for a full-time job in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh

A resident of Kakod village in Bulandshahr district, Sharma works part-time as a priest, officiating at weddings, earning an average of Rs 4,000 a month. However, he has failed to secure a full-time job for several years now and calls himself “berozgaar (unemployed)”, a demographic that has challenged the state and the Centre — the International Labour Organization put the number of unemployed in India at 1.86 crore in 2018, an upward revision from an earlier estimate. Divorced from his first wife and separated from the second, Sharma lives with his parents and two brothers. The annual income of the family is about Rs 1.8 lakh.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Divorced from his first wife and separated from the second, Jitendar Kumar Sharma lives with his parents and two brothers. The annual income of the family is about Rs 1.8 lakh.

Most frequently used apps
I have 10 apps, including WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook and some Google apps. But, since I cannot write very well, I find it difficult to use Google apps.

Searches most often for
I have been looking for a mechanic’s job for sometime now, and so I have been watching videos on fixing mixer grinders and washing machines. I also like to watch regional songs (his YouTube homepage is filled with suggestions of adult videos). Videos that help resolve marital issues are also helpful. (He goes on to play a video titled Naye Trend Ke Lakde Aur Ladki Ki Lovers’ Problems).

Post shared in the last 24 hours
On WhatsApp, it was a video of a girl dancing to an ‘item’ number (he shows the video, which he has shared with many). On Facebook, I only click on ‘like’ as I can’t write.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am not part of any WhatsApp group.

Last shared or received political message on the phone
I don’t share political messages.

Source of news
YouTube. Most Hindi media outlets post videos of top news stories of the day there.

On his speed dial
No one.

Selfies in a day
I enjoy taking selfies, but I am not sure how many I click.

Phone resolution for 2019
I am happy with my phone, it rarely hangs. But I am very disappointed with the connection. After 8 pm, the Internet connectivity slows down and videos take a lot of time to play. My plan is for 1.5GB data a day but I think that is a lie. They don’t give more than 500 MB.

Phone as political sop
I don’t support the idea at all. Political parties should instead give us jobs and roti (food). Thode paisa ban jayenge, aur humari shaam bhi ban jayegi (I’ll make some money and my evenings will be great too). Even today, I often sleep hungry at night.

Phone as a social problem
It is an addiction. When I am alone at home, I do nothing else. I am always glued to my phone.

(BY AMITAVA CHAKRABORTY)

‘I don’t respond to political messages. In today’s time, it’s better not to’

Ali Jan | 35 | Dropped out after Class 12; a Bakerwal from Kathua, J&K

Jan spends most of his time in the forests, leaving his father, wife, three daughters and a son in village Kootah, 700 metres from the village where an 8-year-old Bakerwal girl was gangraped in January 2018 in what has come to be known as the Kathua rape case. He earns Rs 2-2.5 lakh a year from the sale of sheep and goats. He spends a lot of his time in the upper reaches of mountains, where he gets no signal. He is now home, but has to stay in the forests of Mansar (in the plains of Jammu division) “as there is not enough fodder for my livestock in my village”.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Jan spends most of his time in the forests, leaving his father, wife, three daughters and a son in village Kootah, 700 metres from the village where an 8-year-old Bakerwal girl was gangraped in January 2018.

Most frequently used apps
Facebook and WhatsApp. I need them to know what is happening in the state, country and the world, and to stay in touch with relatives and friends. I get no network when I am in the higher reaches and check Facebook and WhatsApp only when I come to the nearest town for rations. For news, I have subscribed to a few news apps. I also have an app for Urdu news.

Searches most often for
News. Also, new breeds of livestock.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
On WhatsApp, I sent my friend a photograph of my year-old son Usman. On Facebook, I shared the story of a Kulgam youth (Rasikh Dar) selected for the IPL.

Number of WhatsApp groups
None. Whenever I am added to a group, I exit as people send obscene photographs and messages. Since I spend most of my time in the forests where there is no power supply, these messages end up draining my battery. I usually get my phone charged at someone else’s house or a shop enroute.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I do not share political messages. If I get one, I usually don’t respond since most of these are controversial and aimed at creating division between communities. In today’s time, it is better not to comment. Why get unnecessarily into a controversy?

Source of news
Mostly on the phone. Sometimes on radio when I am home.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Posts are against one or the other community. Recently, the former sarpanch of Kootah said on Facebook that he would ensure that Bakerwals without permanent resident certificates are thrown out. I replied, telling him that most Bakerwals are illiterate and that literate people like him should help Bakerwals get these documents.

On his speed dial
Wife and a friend, Abdul Jabbar.

Selfies in a day
None.

Phone resolution for 2019
I wish I had a phone that lasts longer on a single charge. Also, I wish the service provider offered more data for the price.

Phone as political sop
It’s not a good idea. How can a phone alone change a person’s life? Parties should instead provide education, other amenities.

Phone as a social problem
Yes, they are a distraction, but at least they help you stay in touch with each other. Also, they are a great time-pass.

(BY ARUN SHARMA)

‘Those ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Good Night’ messages… I can’t stand them’

Kushagra Srivastava | 25 |BTech in biotechnology; Varanasi politician

Srivastava, the ‘mahanagar in-charge’ for the BJP’s IT cell in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Varanasi, lives in the Mahmoorganj area of the city with his parents, a younger sister. A BTech in biotechnology from Allahabad Agriculture University, Srivastava joined the BJP in 2012. Two years later, he was made divisional vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, and in 2016, joined the party’s IT cell.

His phone is an Oppo F1-5 that he bought last year for around Rs 16,000. Uses a prepaid number on which he gets 1.5 GB data per day and unlimited free calling, and a postpaid plan of  Rs 299. He spends Rs 500 a month on his phone. Has downloaded around 25 apps apart from those that came with the phone. The wallpaper is his photo with Amit Shah, which was taken during the BJP president’s last Varanasi visit. His caller tune on one of the numbers is a Shiv bhajan.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Srivastava, the ‘mahanagar in-charge’ for the BJP’s IT cell in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Varanasi, lives in the Mahmoorganj area of the city with his parents, a younger sister.

Most frequently used apps
WhatsApp, followed by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I use my phone mostly for media management of the party and for news.

Searches most often for
E-papers of Hindi newspapers. I don’t find time to read the newspaper at home.
Post shared in the last 24 hours
A WhatsApp forward on the National Herald case (in which the Gandhis are named).

Number of WhatsApp groups
More than a hundred — friends, political groups and media.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I got one on the achievements of the Narendra Modi government. I get a lot of messages from the party’s IT headquarters, which we have to forward further.

Source of news
E-papers, social media apps. I have enabled the notification option for all the news apps I have so that I don’t miss anything.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Sometimes there are messages on WhatsApp asking us to do random things for good luck. Those irritate me a lot. And those ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Good Night’ messages… I can’t stand them.

On his speed dial
My friends and people from my field.

Selfies a day
Around 6-7. These are usually with friends or political workers and leaders.

Phone resolution for 2019
I wish WhatsApp had no limit on the number of groups to which we can forward messages at a time.

Phone as political sop
I do not agree with this. This is not a good idea because this only confuses voters.

Phone as a social problem
My family keeps asking me to put the phone aside at least when I am at home.

Last Google search
Janseva Kendras, that offer help with public services.

(By Avaneesh Mishra)

‘people fight on Facebook. I don’t like it. Social media is for halka stuff’

Satish Kumar | 28 | Class 8 dropout; a migrant in New Delhi

Kumar, who came to Delhi two years ago from Barauhta village in Bareilly, lives with his wife and year-old daughter in a single-room house in Masihgarh, near Sukhdev Vihar. Having studied till Class 8, he now cleans cars for residents of DDA flats of Sukhdev Vihar, earning Rs 10,000 a month. While Kumar says Delhi “now feels like home”, he knows migrants from Bihar and UP often bear the brunt of people’s anger — like in Gujarat in October, when the rape of an infant led to attacks on labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

His phone is a Jio F50Y that he bought in September 2018 for around Rs 1,100, after the Micromax phone he had was accidentally broken by his daughter. He uses a pre-paid plan of Rs 299 per month. The wallpaper is a photo of his daughter in front of a desert cooler on their house terrace.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Kumar, who came to Delhi two years ago from Barauhta village in Bareilly, lives with his wife and year-old daughter in a single-room house in Masihgarh, near Sukhdev Vihar.

Most frequently used apps
I have a lot of apps, including YouTube, Jio music etc. But I use Facebook the most. I signed up five months ago and now I have 53 friends. When I meet new people, I send them a friend request. Often, people I have not met in a long time appear as friend suggestions on Facebook. I add them too.

Searches most often for
I use YouTube to listen to old Hindi music. My favourite songs are from Nadiya Ke Paar. Although my screen is small, I watch movies on my phone once in a while.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I don’t share posts on Facebook. When I had the Micromax phone, I used WhatsApp to send my daughter’s photographs to my relatives. But the Jio phone doesn’t have WhatsApp.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I was part of 10 groups, mostly family members. We shared pictures of our children there. Some would send ‘good morning’ messages, but I never checked those.

Last shared or received political message on the phone
I don’t share political posts. I feel phones are for fun and not for politics.

Source of news
I watch news on television. I don’t read news on my phone.

Disturbing content on social media
I don’t like people fighting and abusing each other over small things on Facebook. Social media is for halka (light) stuff.

On his speed dial
My elder brother’s number as I call him the most. We talk about our children, wives and jobs. It has been two years since I moved to Delhi, but I still share everything with my brother as he is the eldest in the house after my parents passed away (his father died in 2016, mother died when he was young).

Selfies in a day
I don’t take selfies every day.

Phone resolution for 2019
I want a phone with a bigger screen and without buttons, when I save some money. Then I can watch movies, videos more easily.

Phone as political
I don’t like the idea of receiving things for free. Haraam ka samaan kabhi nahin lena chahiye (One should not take free stuff).

Phone as a social problem
I see people on the road. Lead laga ke ghoom rahe hain (Walking around with headphones on). It leads to traffic problems. Some people I know are on the phone all the time. I don’t like it.

Last Google search
“Kabhi kabhi kar leta hoon (I use it only sometimes)”

(By Asad rehman)

‘I am on 417 groups, I don’t exit any if someone adds me’

Manjit sandhu | 45 | Class 10 pass, plus has done a nursing course; a homosexual in Jalandhar

Working as a jail warden, Manjit earns Rs 60,000 a month. She has been staying with her partner Seerat Sandhu since April 22, 2017, when they publicly married after being together for four years. The families were opposed in the beginning but now visit them regularly and also invite them for functions. With the Supreme Court striking down Section 377, hence decriminalising homosexuality, Manjit admits feeling “real freedom”. But she remains concerned that their marriage can’t be registered still.

Her phone is a Samsung Galaxy A9. Manjit bought it in Thailand for around Rs 25,000 in 2015. Has a pre-paid plan of Rs 399. Wallpaper is her and Seerat’s photo. Her ringtone is the Punjabi number Mahiya tu wada kar.

India online: Stories of Indians and their smartphones
Manjit Sandhu has been staying with her partner Seerat Sandhu since April 22, 2017, when they publicly married after being together for four years.

Most frequently used apps
I have 10 apps, and I use YouTube, WhatsApp and the phone camera the most. I use my phone all the time to search news related to my department and LGBT rights.

Searches most often for
News and exercise videos.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
A wedding photo of one of my relatives, on WhatsApp and Facebook.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am on 417 groups. I don’t exit any group to which someone adds me. Most of the groups are of our department. As I go to various jails, I have a large number of contacts. But I am a silent spectator on many groups.

Last shared or received political message on phone
Neither do I share political messages nor do I read such messages sent by anyone.

Source of news
Almost all on my phone.

Disturbing content for her on social media
I am most disturbed by stories related to heinous crimes against women.

On her speed dial
My partner Seerat, and two women journalists, who met me before writing about our marriage rather than go by rumours.

Selfies in a day
I take 5-6 daily.

Phone resolution for 2019
I want a phone with an elephantine memory space, a very good camera and much better sound quality.

Phone as political sop
Have you ever seen any party give a phone? Even if they give, phones will not be worth using.

Phone as a social problem
I use my phone for two-three hours in a day. I get up at 4 am and till 5:30, I send all the good morning and other important messages and my replies. Then I leave for work at 7:30 am. After I get off at 5 pm, I work out for one hour in the gym and again spend around an hour on my phone.

Last Google search
Workout videos, as she is fond of exercising.

(By Anju Agnihotri Chaba)

‘I don’t take many selfies. Only if i wear a nice dress’

Banu Shaik | 29 | Class 12 dropout; a woman given triple talaq in Hyderabad

Shaik passed intermediate in 2005 but did not pursue college. Given triple talaq by her husband, she believes this form of divorce leaves women vulnerable. On December 27, the Lok Sabha passed the amended triple talaq Bill that seeks to make the practice a criminal offence. Shaik, her son and daughter, live with her parents. She works as a tailor, earning Rs 200-250 a day.

Her phone is a Lava Z50 that she purchased in February 2017 for Rs 3,500. She uses a pre-paid plan of Rs 398 (validity is 70 days), which gives her 1.5GB data daily.

Most frequently used apps
I mostly use the phone to talk. I use WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family. I also have a prayer app.

Searches most often for
I like reading religious quotes and listening to prayers. I also love to hear Hindi songs, so I use YouTube.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
Nothing.

Number of WhatsApp groups
Two, with my relatives, and neighbours.

Last shared or received political message on the phone
I don’t like political messages.

Source of news
Television. Also, often WhatsApp.

Disturbing content for her on social media
I recently received a video on WhatsApp of people fighting on the street.

On her speed dial
I don’t have any contacts on speed dial.

Selfies in a day
I don’t take many selfies. Only sometimes, when wearing a nice dress at home.

Phone resolution for 2019
I want to buy a new phone with a bigger screen. But I don’t know if I can afford it.

Phone as a political sop
I am not sure whether phones can improve lives. But they do help stay connected.

Phone as a social problem
The phone is not a distraction for me. I enjoy listening to music and my prayers.

Last Google search
Women’s police station in Tolichowki

(By Sreenivas janyala)

smartphone usage, Whatsapp, social media, use of social media, Jio,smartphones, whatsapp, google, news, telecom, fake news, Internet penetration, India News, Indian Express
(From left to right-Manasi Chemai, Salil Chaudhuri, Shivam ,Romit Aggarwal)

‘Women need phones. It makes us feel safe’

Manasi Chemai | 38 | ASHA worker in Cuttack, Odisha

Chemai lives in the Khan Nagar area of Cuttack with her mother and sister. She works as an ASHA worker, earning Rs 5,000 a month. Chemai dropped out of school when she was in class 9 following the death of her father, who was suffering from an unknown illness, which she now believes to be malaria. In its World Malaria Report 2018, the World Health Organization specially mentioned the role Odisha’s ASHA workers played to deliver anti-malaria services in rural and remote parts of the state.

The phone
Chemai uses an Intex Indie 44, which she bought for Rs 4,700 last year. She has a pre-paid plan of Rs 99, which includes unlimited talk time. As she is an ASHA worker, her phone bill is paid by the government. The phone doesn’t have a wallpaper as Chemai does not know how to set one. She prefers the old-fashioned land phone ringtone.

Most frequently used apps
I don’t have many apps. I sometimes use WhatsApp and the camera to click random pictures.

Searches most often for
I have never used my phone to search for anything. But I am aware that people use their phones to buy clothes, cinema tickets and pay bills. But I have never done anything like that.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I messaged “OK” to a friend, who was asking me to meet for the New Year. We have no big plans. She was suggesting that we visit the winter market on the outskirts of the town.

Number of WhatsApp groups
Only one. The group is for ASHA workers and its name is ‘Mahila Arogya Samiti’. All ASHA workers in the city are members of the group.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I receive a lot of messages, but I don’t read them. I delete them. I have never received any communal or political message. I don’t understand why anyone would send such messages. Won’t they get caught?

Source of news
I don’t read news on the phone. In fact, I don’t watch much news on television too.

Disturbing content on social media
I don’t have any social media account. But I have heard of Facebook. Every day, I travel about 7-8 km on foot to do my rounds. I often hear that people use their phones to send objectionable pictures of women and girls. The police should take actions against those who indulge in such things.
On her speed dial
What is that? I do not know what is speed dial.

Selfies in a day

A day? Ask me about a year and I would say maybe twice or thrice.
Phone resolution for 2019
I haver no plans to buy a new phone next year.

Phone as a political sop
Mobile phones are very important. If the government hands phones as sops, I would thank them. Women need phones. It makes us feel safe. My mother and sister feel safe because they can call me whenever they want to check on me and vice-versa. Pregnant women, who need my help, call me immediately instead of pleading others to take them to the hospital. Sometimes, when I need to check on women about their nutritional supplements, I just call them.

Phone as a social problem
Yes, they are. I see some people chatting all day long on their phone and wasting time. But I use them mostly for work. So that is fine.

Last Google search
I never used Google. I don’t even know what it is

(By Sampad Patnaik)

 

‘I share a good morning message on Messenger with 93 people daily’

SALIL CHAUDHURI | 61 | Retired; Kolkata

An engineer and MBA, Chaudhuri retired in 2017 after working in the Air Force for 15 years and then as a superintendent in the Central Excise Department. He has been living in the same 2 BHK flat with his wife Anita for almost 20 years. Both their son and daughter are married. As per the Internet and Mobile Association of India, people above 45 pay the highest mobile bills in India, in terms of both mobile data and voice calls.

The Phone
A Samsung J7 next. Bought in September 2017 for about Rs 11,000. Uses a plan of Rs 499, which offers 75 GB data a month. The phone, with a screen guard and a cover, has just a few scratches at the bottom. He doesn’t have a special ringtone.

Most frequently used apps
I use a lot of apps, I cannot imagine my life without some of them. Apart from Facebook and WhatsApp, which I use daily, I am also a regular user of IRCTC app. Google Maps is my travel companion.

Searches most often for
Places to visit. I am retired, my kids are busy, so my wife and I travel every few months. Last year, we went to at least six places, including Bangladesh. We also went to Ladakh, but that was very tiring.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I share a good morning message on Facebook Messenger with 93 people daily.

Number of WhatsApp groups
Just two, one with my Central Excise colleagues and another an ex-servicemen’s group. Whenever someone adds me to an unnecessary group, I prefer leaving it. Also we don’t have a family group because ours is a small family and we rather call each other.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I don’t share political messages at all. I don’t follow political news much because I don’t want to disturb my inner peace. I have served in the armed forces so I have done my bit as a citizen of India. I don’t think any political party, with any ideology, deserves my time and energy. I rather read newspapers. I also help out those who have excelled in their studies but are facing financial crisis by bearing their education costs.

Source of news
I have subscribed to a Bengali newspaper on phone, but otherwise I don’t get too much newsfeed on WhatsApp.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Fake news. There have been instances where I have alerted the sender. Once I received a message from someone quoting the Army chief as saying, ‘Tourists must not visit Kashmir. It is not a place to enjoy because of disturbance.’ I know an Army officer would never send a message like that. I alerted the sender and he apologised to me.

On his speed dial
No one.

Seflies in a day
Maybe one in a week. I prefer asking someone else to click.

Phone resolution for 2019
I can’t imagine my life without my phone. Whenever I go anywhere, I use Google Maps. I video chat with my son who stays outside. I click photos of my grandson, who visits with my daughter once a week. We are older people and it takes us time to get used to an instrument and I am happy with my current phone. Sometimes my phone memory bothers me because I take a lot of photos when we travel. But I keep deleting old things.

Phone as a political sop
Ultimately, Indian voters are unpredictable. They might take the phone but you can’t be sure who they will vote for.

Phone as a social problem
Thank god for phones. Otherwise, how would I have survived in a scenario where people don’t have time to meet each other?

Last Google search
Yesterday night. We are planning to visit Daringbadi in Odisha, a hill station. I was trying to get an idea about the place, and how harsh the weather would be in January. (Sweety Kumari)

‘It’s a good idea to give phones. In the long run it will be helpful.’

Shivam | 18 | Student at Bulandshahr University

Shivam is a first year BA student at the Bulandshahr University. He stays with his parents in Chingrawati. Bulandshahr recently witnessed protests over the killing of cows earlier this month. The ensuing violence led to the death of two people. Shivam’s father, who is a tailor, earns about Rs 15,000 per month.

The phone
A black Jio phone purchased for around Rs 2,000 about a week back. The phone, which has a keypad and a screen size of less than 2 inches, has a picture of a flower set as the wallpaper. Shivam uses a Rs 99 prepaid plan, which allows him 512 MB data every day.

Most frequently used apps
Most of the apps in this phone are the pre-installed ones including WhatsApp and YouTube. I have just downloaded a game. I don’t have a Facebook account and barely use WhatsApp. Sometimes I use the camera. But I use Google search very often.

Searches most often for
I search for information related to my course. As I am an avid follower of dance reality shows, I watch a lot of dance videos on YouTube.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I asked a friend at what time we would meet.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am on five WhatsApp groups which includes group of friends and family.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I don’t share political messages. Infact, I don’t pay attention to such messages.

Source of news
I follow news mostly on the Internet or television.

Disturbing content for him on social media
I think casteism is a huge problem.

On his speed dial
No one.

Selfies in a day
I can’t take selfies as my phone doesn’t have a front camera.

Phone resolution for 2019
My phone is handy and easy to use. But at times it is slow. I don’t have plans to buy a new phone next year.

Phones as political sops
I think it’s a good idea to give phones to people. In the long run it will be helpful.

Phone as a social problem
I bought the phone recently so I have not wasted much time on it. But it is true that people spend a lot of time on their phones, which is counter-productive.

Last Google search
I wanted to download UC browser. So I Googled for its link.

‘We need to stop looking at every notification, every email, every message…’

Romit Aggarwal | 16 | Class 11 student, New Delhi

Aggarwal lives with his parents, younger brother and grandparents in Vatika City and studies at Gurgaon’s Shikshantar school. Several studies this year have pointed to an increasing dependence on phones and technology addiction among youngsters. World Health Organization (WHO) has also announced its plan to include “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition. Aggarwal believes one should be “disciplined” about using their phone.

The Phone
A Redmi 4, which he bought for Rs 8,000 in April this year. He has a Rs 399 pre-paid plan (valid for 90 days). His phone has a few scratches. His wallpaper is a picture of the ocean taken from his phone.

Most frequently used apps
I have about 20 apps, apart from the pre-installed ones. I use WhatsApp, Instagram, a couple of gaming apps, Google. For travelling, I use Google Maps and taxi apps such as Ola and Uber. I also use my phone camera fairly often but not too much.

Searches most often for
I mostly use my phone for social media, booking taxis, music or photos. I don’t search for information on my phone too much.

Post shared in the last 24 hours.
It was an Instagram story of me enjoying Christmas outside my house.

Number of WhatsApp groups
Most of the WhatsApp groups I am on are related to my school — sports team, projects, class group etc. There are also family groups with my mom and dad.

Last shared or received political message on phone
Though I know the general news, I am not into politics.

Source of news
I get some of the news from my phone but mostly it is from other people, the newspapers and my parents.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Lot of the stuff I see isn’t very bothersome, apart from a few world reports about dire situations.

On his speed dial
No one.

Selfies in a day
I am not a selfie guy at all. I don’t take one unless I am forced to. Even then, I don’t enjoy it.

Phone resolution for 2019
I don’t really want a new phone. I spend too much time on apps and, in 2019, I hope not to get too addicted.

Phone as political sop
I don’t know how the political parties are using it and so I don’t want to comment. But, I won’t say it’s a great scheme as it doesn’t help people understand what they need to do to help the country grow. Instead, it is about securing votes for one’s party.

Phone as a social problem.
We are using our phones a lot. There are some interactive group games… but we need to stop looking at every notification, every email, every message. We should have some kind of discipline about it

Last Google search:
Indonesian tsunami.

(By Sukrita Baruah)

smartphone usage, Whatsapp, social media, use of social media, Jio,smartphones, whatsapp, google, news, telecom, fake news, Internet penetration, India News, Indian Express
(From left to right: Kanchan Jha, K Beeran, PM Gireesh)

‘What will I look at Priyanka Chopra’s reception videos for?’

Kanchan Jha | 39 | Studied till Class 10; Vijay Vihar, North Delhi

A native of Bhagalpur in Bihar, she moved to Delhi in 1998 after her marriage. She lives with her husband, two sons and a daughter in Vijay Vihar, Rohini. Her eldest daughter is married and has a two-year-old son. Working as a domestic help in Harsh Vihar, Pitampura, she makes Rs 10,000 a month.

The phone
A Samsung Galaxy On5 pro. Bought for Rs 8,800 last year on a monthly EMI of Rs 2,000. Uses a pre-paid plan of Rs 399, which gives her 1.5 GB data per day. The wallpaper on her phone is a photo of her grandson, Daksh. While the screen is broken near the home button, she has bought a screen guard to prevent any other accidents. Her ringtone is a default Samsung tune called ‘Over the Horizon’. In the phone’s black flip cover, she keeps some cash tucked.

Most frequently used apps
I have seven apps — eMudhra Customer, Voice Recorder, Call Recorder, True Caller, WhatsApp, Yahoo mail and Facebook. I use my phone most often to listen to Ramayana and bhajans on YouTube. I also use Google to look up recipes. My son keeps teaching me things. I use WhatsApp sometimes. Google Maps is also very useful. But YouTube is my favourite.

Searches most often for
Religious programmes and recipes.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I shared a photo of my grandson and daughter. I sent it to one of my former employers.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am not on any.

Last shared or received political message on phone
I stay away from all this. I vote for the party which I feel is going to win.

Source of news
I watch news mostly on TV.

Disturbing content for her on social media
I don’t understand why these apps keep recommending gaming, or Bollywood or technology videos. What will I look at Priyanka Chopra’s reception videos for? Who is Sara Ali (Khan), what will I do with that information? I don’t even understand English.

On her speed dial
My daughter.

Selfies in a day
I don’t properly know how to take selfies, but I am learning.

Phone resolution for 2019
I want a bigger phone. The screen of this one is broken. I have 32 GB memory in this, so that is fine. But I would like a bigger screen with a better resolution.

Phone as political sop
Where are they giving these phones? I never got one in my village, nor here. No one I know has ever got a phone.

Phone as a social problem
Yes, phones are a problem. My children are always on the phone. People cross roads and keep texting. If that won’t cause accidents, what will? Even toddlers are using phones. Their eyesight will get affected.

Last Google search
A recipe for Manchurian

(By Tannu Jain)

‘I received a photo of bodies of few children floating in a pond. The picture haunted me for days.’

K Beeran | 55 | A student of Kerala literacy mission

Beeran, a school dropout, is currently studying for the Class 12 equivalent programme of the Kerala literacy mission. In November, a 96-year-old woman from Cheppad in Alappuzha district had cracked the literacy examination conducted by the state government, scoring 98 out of 100 marks. Beeran works in a factory producing snacks and is also a local leader of the Janata Dal (Secular). He lives in Beypore in Kozhikode with his wife and one of his sons. His other son is working in the Middle East. Beeran has a monthly income of Rs 50,000.

The phone
Beeran uses an Oppo Realme, which he purchased earlier this year for Rs 14,000. The phone supports two SIMs, and Beeran has two pre-paid connections, which cost him Rs 300 a month.

Most frequently used apps
I use WhatsApp frequently to share messages with party workers and local traders, who are also my customers. Traders often send me enquires through WhatsApp. Although I am on Facebook, I don’t do it actively. I also use the phone to watch Malayalam TV channels, reading online editions of Malayalam newspapers and watching movies on YouTube.

Searches most often for
Being a student of the literacy programme, my search is mostly related to the course.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I shared on WhatsApp a post on the reception given to JD(S) leader and Irrigation minister K Krishnan Kutty in Kozhikode.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am a member of four groups. Of these, I am the admin in three. One of the groups has students of the literacy programme. As I am the president of the JD(S)’s Beypore assembly segment, I have another group named Karshaka Janata, which has local JD (S) workers.

Last shared or received political message on the phone
Party workers are alerted about party functions through WhatsApp. The other day, I asked our party workers to set a day in a week for party-related activities.

Source of news
I visit websites of news channels to watch news whenever I am free. Besides, I follow the Facebook pages of many Malayalam news websites.

Disturbing content for him on social media
Recently, I received a photo of bodies of few children floating in a pond on WhatsApp. The picture haunted me for several days

On his speed dial

No one.

Selfies in a day
Although I take selfies, I am not crazy about it.

Phone resolution for 2019
I have no plans to buy a new phone as I already bought one earlier this year. I am looking out for better data plans.

Phone as a political sop
Parties, which give away phones as sops, use their ill-gotten wealth for such activities. This ill-gotten wealth belongs to the people.

Phone as a social problem
I don’t think so. I mainly use my phone for sending messages.

Last Google search
Environmental protection (It’s part of a topic Beeran is currently studying).

(By Shaju Philip)

‘Sometimes, I take selfies when I am on the top of a coconut tree’

PM Gireesh | 33 | Class 10 dropout; Koduvally, Kozhikode

As a cocunut climber, Gireesh, who has studied till Class 10, earns around Rs 1,000 a day. He lives in Koduvally, Kozhikode with his parents, two younger brothers and a sister. A devotee of Lord Ayyappan, next month, he plans to visit the Sabarimala temple, which has witnessed massive protests following the Supreme Court’s September 28 order allowing women of all ages entry into the temple.

The phone
A second-hand Lenovo A6600 purchased last year for Rs 4,000. Gireesh has a scenic landscape as the wallpaper and uses a monthly plan of Rs 149, which gives him 1GB data a day.

Most frequently used apps
I only have a few apps — Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube. But I mostly use Facebook. Over the last four years, I have made 820 friends. Though I usually don’t post anything, I often share or like others’ comments and posts. I also use the phone to read news.

Searches most often for
I don’t search for any particular topic. Instead, I prefer to read news in Malayalam from news websites. These days, I read a lot about the Sabarimala issue as I will be visiting the temple next month.

Post shared in the last 24 hours
I shared a video of BJP worker protesting to protect the traditions of Sabarimala on Facebook.

Number of WhatsApp groups
I am not a member of any WhatsApp group. I forward messages to other contacts individually.

Last shared or received political message on the phone
I shared a video of the BJP’s agitation on Sabarimala.

Source of news
I have subscribed to alerts from Malayalam news channels. I mostly watch Janam TV on the phone. I also like reading e-papers.

Disturbing content for him on social media
The videos of the recent violence at Sabarimala has been worrying. I got anxious when police escorted women to the temple. I am against young women entering Sabarimala as it violates traditions.

On his speed dial
No one.

Selfies in a day
I take selfies but not everyday. Sometimes, I take selfies when I am on the top of a coconut tree.

Phone resolution for 2019
I don’t have any plan to buy a new phone.

Phone as a political sop
I am against political parties giving phones as sops. Such actions amount to buying out voters. It should be considered as bribing voters.

Advertising

Phone as a social problem
Whenever I get free time, mostly in afternoons, I check Facebook or watch TV channels and read e-papers.

Last Google search
A video on Sabarimala protes

(By Shaju Philip)

 

Follow the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 real-time on IndianExpress.com/elections. Check the Lok Sabha election schedule, your Lok Sabha constituency details as well as where Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are campaigning in the Lok Sabha Election. On Twitter, follow @Decision2019 for the latest news and analysis.