I wrote about something that happened to me in high school in an essay about privacy. It was not easy to write about but I’m glad that it’s out there.
The plain truth is this: Indians do not care about privacy. This isn’t an accusation, it’s a fact.
As a lawyer representing the Indian government in a privacy case recently said, Indians cannot “import conceptions of privacy” because “on a train in this country, people will tell you their life stories within five minutes”.
When I was in the 11th grade, I was called in to the principal’s office after class one day. One of my classmates was waiting outside, grinning widely. He was also sweating profusely and nervously rubbing his palms together. Something was off.
When I asked him what was going on, he said that they had taken his Facebook password from him and had gone through all his chats. I realised that he probably wasn’t smiling because he was happy. He was freaking out and the grin was an attempt to hold back tears.
I didn’t believe him though. I thought he had voluntarily offered his password just to prove a point. Then, I was called in.