WhatsApp Is Changing the Way India Talks About Food

Excerpt from this article:

It has been three years since India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, started Digital India, an initiative to increase internet connectivity across the country, especially in rural areas. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has become the medium of choice: It is free, requires only an internet connection, and often comes installed on new phones. As a result, India now has more users of the application — over 200 million, or one in six Indians — than any other country, a WhatsApp spokeswoman said.

But among Indians who produce, cook or care about food, the service has been a godsend. In a country where culinary traditions are often spoken but not written, WhatsApp has provided an open, democratic forum where Indians can share and codify their knowledge and skills, in new ways, and even profit from them.

“One of the problems with documenting Indian food is that the people who prepare it” — mainly homemakers, farmers and young cooks — “tend to be less empowered and less formally educated,” said Vikram Doctor, 51, a journalist in Mumbai. “They just don’t document. They are not comfortable using a computer or blogging, or people just don’t ask them.”

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