Cameras are everywhere. They are at traffic junctions and all along the highways. The objective is to check over speeding. (It is yet to be proven that highway cameras help at crime control other than traffic offences.). They are there at parks and zoos, determined not to give you any privacy. May be they are required at museums and shops to check thefts. But even the small restaurants are now having cameras. The man before the screens would be watching you eating. You cannot hide even a spill on your clothes or table or the amount of salt and pepper or sauce you consume.
Now, anybody can set up a camera. The residents associations have them on the roads and corners to keep tag on people dumping waste. Hotels have them even on lifts not to speak of the corridors. Rich people set them up for security of their homes. Traders have cameras even looking at the street in front of their shops.
Employers now watch their staff from all corners, even when they are travelling abroad thanks to Internet and video streaming. Headmasters will not spare their pupils. They cannot have any private moments in the classes. Even minor misdemeanors will be watched by the headmaster. Camera surveillance is the latest weapon in the hands of tuition masters too. What kind of children they would turn out, we don’t know—too meek or people losing control when out of camera surveillance.
If you think that you can have a silent prayer and even weep when the church is empty, you will be mistaken. The vicar or his assistant will be watching you through several cameras in the church. Sabarimala has 360-degree close-circuit cameras at all strategic points. Some other major temples too are thinking of setting up cameras, I am told.
There is hardly any protest even when cameras encroach upon places where you expect some semblance of privacy. It is not comfortable to be watched at every direction. Yet hardly any Indian has protested. Indians generally don’t care much about privacy. That, perhaps, has roots in joint families, huts and houses without compound walls and colonies. May be it is illogical to wish for privacy when practically everyone has a mobile phone fitted with a camera. Yet, total lack of privacy may make you mad. It is perhaps high time that we fixed some norms.