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Narendra Modi says he used email and digital camera in 1988, but internet only became available in 1995

Claim: Narendra Modi said in an interview that he used email facility and took photographs from a digital camera in 1988

Fact: The World Wide Web or internet only became available for widespread public use in 1990s, with the advent of modern internet and former US president Bill Clinton during his presidency became the first head of government ever to send an email.


In a 40-second-long video, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is heard saying, "I first used a digital camera in 1987-'88, and at the time, very few people had email. There was a rally of LK Advani's and I clicked a picture of him on my camera... I had it that time. Then I transmitted the photo to Delhi, and the photo was published in colour the next day. Advaniji was surprised."

Here are the facts regarding the first time the general public sent out an email and it was not before 1995:

The first email ever sent across, however, was by inventor and computer programmer Ray Tomlinson who sent out an email to himself in 1971. The email was a test message and according to Tomlinson was not “preserved”, which means that the message could not be stored and only had the alphabets "QWERTYUIOP" as the text. The email was a part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) system which was founded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) by the United States Department of Defence.

It was only in 1983 when the switch to the new protocol happened and the modern internet was born. The internet was not available to the general public in India until 14 August 1995. It was brought to consumers via the state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL).

Former US president Bill Clinton during his presidency became the first president ever to send an email. He sent it out to space on 7 November, 1998 in a response to an email sent from space by astronaut John Glenn.

Globally, the 'World Wide Web' became publicly available on 6 August 1991. The linking of commercial networks and enterprises by the early 1990s marked the beginning of the transition to the modern internet, and generated a sustained exponential growth as generations of institutional, personal, and mobile computers were connected to the network.

Although the internet was widely used by academia since the 1980s, the commercialisation incorporated its services and technologies into virtually every aspect of modern life. It transitioned into the modern internet only in the 1990s.

Modi's statement on email came after he said in the same interview that he used his "raw wisdom" to dispel doubts of defence experts who wanted the air strike to be deferred due to bad weather.

"The weather was not good on the day of air strike. There was a thought that crept in the minds of the experts that the day of strike should be changed. However, I suggested that the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars," Modi said while talking about the cross-border strike on terror camps in response to the Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

 Narendra Modi says he used email and digital camera in 1988, but internet only became available in 1995

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Updated Date: May 13, 2019 15:21:13 IST