(By Sajjad Amin Bangash)
Off course we do as more of our lives are overly dependent on technology now. Why not the modern technology has to be the mode of our lives since, everything from the cellphone to computers, from cycle to truck, from car to airplanes, from cheque book to ATM, from stairs to capsule lifts or elevators, from arrows to chain saw etc. in short everything got a new look with faster high performance and maximum outputs the modern technologies yield.
My grand father was born in 1896 and died in 2003, he had seen a whole century and I had have really good time with him during my childhood till his death. He was the World War-II veteran and he always narrated interesting and fabulous stories of his past, we always fascinated for. He was quite adoptable with time and why he lived for too long?
I didn’t have the answer since majority of the people of his age, lived longer and that generation has almost ended just recently a decade ago. If we ever analyze and try to look deeply into the logical reasons for their longer life expectancy, than all of modern time analysts and findings would be false in a way that, during that time, people had fewer and less hygienic food, health and sanitation facilities as we enjoy now. They couldn’t meet each other for years if there was a distance of few hundred miles and even if there was any facility of transportation, then the roads were not highly effective while hardly few people could travel on.
Although, there were lots of impediments in human life of that time but still life kept moving on since, the people of that time, were all accustomed to whatever facilities they had have and were always dependant on them. At the very beginning of 20the century, technology boomed splashed as several inventions came into existence thus the transformation of human dependency on technologies started taking a new shape. Now, with these technologies, the production started to increase thus people’s lifestyle started to see improvements in agricultural, health care, transportation,education, economics and etc.
My grandfather once told us that ‘We would grow and cultivate the crops either by physical ploughing or through animals but with the coming of tractors, the agricultural sector seen dramatic improvements and growth as now, people would cut the crops and use tractors for agricultural ploughing and amplification of the soil. The use of axes, scythe and other necessary tools were reduced and this had totally lessen our dependency on conventional tools of that time.
I would come back from school, I would always love to sit around him, start talking to him and learn about the lifestyles of people of his time, more often about how people used to do things. I would innocently pause him with a laugh whatever he would tell us about the different types of machines or tools were being used since we would consider them as ‘inferior or obsolete now’. Like, people would go to cities by Tonga( a kind of buggy), as we just see them in films or read in history books with pictures now. He would get annoyed at times but then immediately explain us with relevance of today’s alternative of that machine. Like, to a buggy, he used to relate it to ‘trolley’ or ‘Rickshaw’.
He was very fun loving human as well and wherever, he would narrate anything of his past, he would always describe a real life story of either himself, friends or anyone pertinent to that particular moment. One such example was of Radio, he told us when person who brought Radio for the first time in our village, lot of people went to see it and would always thought that there are humans living inside the radio. This would give us unstoppable laugh as were the people that crazy but they were right that time since, they hadn’t seen such strange and weird thing before in their life.
Time and again, our excitement for the past escalate as we moved on to explore more of the timeline. He was a British Army Officer during British India time, and he would always took a long journey of weeks to reach to Indian city of Kolkata or Madras(Chennai now) en route to Lahore, Delhi and all the way in central India by rail roads in train. He would stop and say ‘God! That was the most obnoxious and tiring phase of my life whenever I would think of going back to work knowing a daunting task of traveling ahead of me, since he had been living in the extreme west of Pakistan and the distance between Kohat to Kolkata is 1280 miles (2060 kilometers). But that’s what happened with them in the past and now, we can reach Kolkata almost in 6 to 8 hours fly by plane. He told us that, it was very difficult for us during the time of emergency if someone would get sick or serious to rush him to hospital and in so many cases, people would die in the way to hospital due to the unavailability of transport or medical facility nearby.
The communication or correspondence among loved ones was always difficult and if happened a tragedy or urgent information needed to be relayed, it would reach to a destination in lazy pace as we couldn’t imagine. He told us that, we would rely on the messenger in village for example, we would hire a person for the invitation and he would travel all around the village up and down in the mountains to let the people know of any upcoming event and it would almost take a whole day to finish his job and most often, relatives or invitees from other villages would always miss out the news right on time.
But, he kept us travelling us through the time, as how things got changed and how the technology of different times transformed human lives from one decade to another and finally, entered into 21st century where I am still alive.
21st century is totally a new time, he would always admire. ‘Look! boys, you are living in a luxurious time as you have TVs, cars, mobile phones, fastest ways of communication, cars, clothes, nice and clean showers and what not that we had not during our childhood. Now, you can easily connect to your friends and loved ones in no time no matter where they are and you can easily navigate all across the country and different countries as well.
‘But, having all these facilities, you still miss one biggest blessings of God and that’s the natural part of your capacities, talent and skills. Your life is shortened and your physical strength is reduced as we had have. We would walk naturally for miles, climb up the mountains and work all the day in fields but you can’t and you don’t want to work under extreme weather and you can’t wait for too long sitting in a place. You don’t have time for social gatherings as we had enjoyed in past. We would always love the company of friends no matter how far they lived, we would reach and share the happiest moments of life but you hardly can walk out to your next door neighbors for such pleasure.
You rely on calculators but we totally relied on our learned skills and we would draw sketches and maps by our hands and you do by computer. You write on computers but we would write on papers and our handwriting were so opaque and beautiful. We would have maximum mathematical and numeric accuracy and we would measure anything so quickly without the help of calculator.
But, besides all these differences, your time is productive and precious as now, you have to undertake a lot during the day and you have to be highly punctual with your time schedule as opposed to us. You have to accurate yourself with every additional technical modifications of the technologies and move as what the machine dictates you.
You have more accidents and diseases than before, as now people have invented modern ways of weapons and killing tools as compared to us, we had nothing except axes and we would fight only with fists and flying kicks. Time, has seen that modern technologies have revamped everything but has tremendously jeopardized the world’s peace. Now, million of people can be killed with one single press of finger because in your time, you have more prolific and high sophisticated modern weapons which erase everything from the face of earth in no time. We had not imagined this in our life time.’
His final words were ‘I hope you understand what I mean and that’s the care and affection to each other instead of love to materialism and enjoy the simplicity of life.’