Hughes tells about wireless-summit trip

       In photos, video and commentary, Westsider Dave Hughes shared details of his recent journey to India with an audience at the Old Colorado City History Center Nov. 19.
       The trip highlight was his serving as a principal speaker at an October wireless conference/workshop in Dharamsala, India, attended by about 250 representatives from 38 countries who hope to open up electronic communications to remote, impoverished areas of the world.
       The purpose of the Air Jaldi Summit was to share ideas and “raise public consciousness” about that goal, by which people in such regions, chiefly through modern mesh-network technology, could use computers to obtain low-cost Internet and phone access, according to Hughes, a communications business owner in Old Colorado City. “It's a grassroots movement, coming from the community, not a corporation,” Hughes said.
       Opponents typically are governments and businesses that want to control distance communications for political reasons and/or make excessive profits from them, he said.
       He was invited to the conference because of his background personally setting up such links in various parts of the globe. “I've been doing this a long time,” Hughes, 78, told the audience. “I've gotten to be the grand old man of this.”
       He also described stops he'd made elsewhere in India after the conference. One of these was the Golden Temple of the Sihks, in which Hughes found a seemingly contradictory plaque praising military actions at a battle in 1965. Curious, Hughes researched the matter, finding a connection to the people's longstanding defense against militant Muslims and their “convert or die” credo, as he put it. Muslim invasions over the years forced the formerly peaceful Sihk people to form a military. “They couldn't be pacifist because they were being overwhelmed by a calloused enemy who butchered them,” said Hughes, a retired Army colonel.
       Lastly, Hughes showed video of his shopping activities before returning home. “I was shopping for 14 family members,” he said with a grin. “I had to bring something back for every d-- one of them.”

Westside Pioneer article