Gutenberg Defied : A Future Story

Global Summit on Illiteracy, 2235

“Preposterous” – the Frenchman put on his French accent.

“Garbage” – the British snottily commented on the proposal, the unease already evident.

“Dios! Vas a callarte?” – the Spanish president spoke aloud his fears.

“Me ne infischio” – the Italian consigliori roared at the idea.

“The moment raised by Indian premier is hereby adjourned” spoke Koff Koff Galian, the UN Secretary.

The response from the academics and the Nobel laureates listening intently to the speech however had been phenomenal; they wanted more of it. The Indian premier was mobbed outside the conference hall.


Creased foreheads, curved eyebrows, deep sharp eye stares, the premiers of the biggest nations of the world were already deep in thought on the methods to tackle the biggest threat ever faced by the biggest knowledge-based civilization of the world.Tomes of literature were lying unconsumed by the population.Writers as a class were already an extinct breed. Calligraphy had taken a leap thousands of years into the shadows and so had the paper companies.Illiteracy had grown to an all-time record high.

Current estimates pegged the decline of literacy to virtually unheard-of levels with most of the population knowing nothing about reading or writing. The last surviving writer had died in his sleep, after striving with his last remaining breath to finish his magnum opus; but sadly that was not to be to.


Outside the conference hall, the Indian premier addressed the world populace,

“India, the land of Vedas is here with her modest proposal to the global consulate on a mission of global brotherhood and understanding. We are here to revive and help mankind in its endeavor to make itself immortal, by passing on the knowledge it had accrued and acquiring to its future generations.Writing existed as a way of passing down information.”

“Gutenberg was the visionary who kept our ancestors alive in the memories of the reader folk. His contribution to the world is indispensable but we are here on a mission of succeeding his thoughts and taking a great step forward in the journey towards light by defying that icon.We propose that the ancient methodologies of Shruthi and Smriti be adopted as the global standard of passing information.

Shruthi, passing information by hearing and Smriti passing information through memory have long been discarded as the trusted means of knowledge. Sruthi is eternal, unaffected by the vagaries of time and place. With the advancements in science and storage, Smriti has also attained immortality.”

“We appeal to the world leaders to understand the situation. Spending billions of rupees in efforts to resurrect writing is a lost effort. Writing has only been the medium, the tool. And now we believe time is ripe for understanding that the technology has replaced the medium. It is more efficient, reliable source of transfer, storage and retrieval of data.”

“The archaic methods for verifying the identity of person have been replaced by biometric systems and which have proved to be highly accurate. Knowledge transfer is fast, efficient, subjective and is evidently more trustworthy.”

“Writing though has been the favored medium of thought transfer had in its final decades of flight, rotten into a deranged mess of bipartisan system with the illiterate having no access into the share of knowledge only accessible to the people in-touch with the medium and not with the source. And we hope fervently that the technology will make up for what reading and writing could not make up for: provide a equal base for everyone to be heard, counted and understood.”

“We hope that as Gutenberg’s press brought in the thoughts of ideas to be read and understood; our proposal of returning back by defying that icon and adopting Shruthi and Smriti can we bring peace and greater understanding of one and all to us. We appeal for the people to review the direction they are taking”


[Poorna Shashank K circa 2006 AD 4th December, 2005]

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6 thoughts on “Gutenberg Defied : A Future Story

  1. Knowledge vs education vs literacy…your post is interesting in the sense that if there actually is a way to make literacy count second to knowledge, there is hope for a better world. We’ll have ppl living by their sense of humanity, and being judged accordingly – that’s what I was getting at. Unfortunately, it’s not how the world is or will be.

  2. @tg
    i myself couldnt have spoken any better than what you said!
    but somehow my intuition tells me that exactly what we might be against in a few decades from now…

  3. @tg
    that be might be *us*, that have to drive it. maybe we cant change the system, but then doing it right way, piece by piece is the way mayhaps…?

    illiteracy maybe a rising problem soon; but that wont happen unless every person is a part of the networked, authenticated world. kya pata? the problem is real, so maybe the solution might be too!

    man, you just make me think a bit harder! thanks for that 🙂

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