Yes, Democracy Rocks! Pic by Shailendra Kharel
As Nepal’s pioneering blog site becomes two-year-young today, a blogger writes about the impact of her introduction with the word blog
By Darshan Karki (inside Ujjwal Acharya shares his experience)
I came across this ‘blog artifact’ a week ago. Dated Oct 23, 2005, its four papers torn from a spiral notebook with notes I had taken in a discussion program “Nagarki Samaj Viruddha ko Hastakshep: Suchana ra Sanghathan Ko Adhikar” [Intervention Against Civil Society: The Right To Information and Organization] organized in Nepal Tourism Board hall in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. On the top of the second page I’ve scribbled “www.blog.com.np”, probably the first time I ever wrote a word as weird as ‘blog’ anywhere in my two decades of existence. It was an unusual coincidence. Hysh (a blogger friend of mine) had only mentioned the site a day before but I forgot the name no sooner than I heard it. First, I thought she was talking Chinese when she told me of blogs, second, the whole affair sounded way over my head. But seeing a guy with the name of the site printed on his t-shirt felt as though it was some kind of sign. Moreover the guy looked good, a foreigner I presumed until his laughter in a tongue slip by one of the speakers left me confused. Must be a foreign journalist who understands Nepali, I corrected myself. Surely, the guy looked interesting so the mention of all the minute details. Could go further too, but that might embarrass the blogger so let me leave it here. LOL.
No wonder I checked out the blog the first thing in college the next day. And I just couldn’t hold back my excitement when I realized that I had actually seen the man in the moustache. It felt as though I had a seen a celebrity, someone who owned a website! How lucky could one get! Thus began my blogging saga. The computer room became our favorite hangout and dropping comments a serious disease. One of our seniors named us (Hysh and me) “Blogbhoots” and that’s what we are till date 🙂
The third semester had just begun and we had a new course “Political and Constitutional History of Nepal”. The class was a place of maximum intellectual stimulation and UWB acted as resource site. In the beginning the posts looked scary, not something I could comprehend, the comments were scarier. So, I felt more at ease dropping comments in the personal blogs like the ones that talked of wanting a girlfriend like Aishwarya Rai or Tihar celebrations and all. But slowly got the hang of it. I used to love reading the comments posted by someone called “Seto Bagh”. It always provided so much of insight and later it became the sole reason for dropping by. I opened up a blog in February. Earlier I used to fulfill that intense desire of writing by posting comments as long as entries in Hysh’s blog. (The article continues after the photo caption and the box item)
Democracy Rocks!: After the restoration of democracy and freedom of expression with the jubilant succession of April’s historic Peoples’ Movement, blogger journalist Dinesh Wagle has started wearing different edition of t-shirts and other garments. “With democracy we’ve got freedom to express ourselves,” he says. “We have peoples’ government and ceasefire into effect. We have peace talks going on and people are thinking about their future. With democracy, desperation is slowly fading away and hope of life has arrived. People fought for it and people go it. Now is the time to institutionalize it. Even in my profession, now I can think of a good career and good future. In the old dark days, everything was down and depressing. Job was insecure, no freedom in journalism means no job satisfaction and there was always a constant threat of this site being deregistered and closed down by the authorities. Now, there is no such fear. I can freely write about anything and criticize even the Prime Minister. Oh…yea Gyanendra Shah included. That’s why Democracy Rocks! It truly rocks!” Pic by Shailendra Kharel
Founding Argument: An Experience
By Ujjwal Acharya
Two years is not a long period; yet the milestone for UWB! is something that I, as a co-founder of the pioneering blog of the country, can be proud of. As many other blogs, UWB! traveled from the state of unknown to a situation where people will ask ‘the United We Blog!’ whenever they know that I am one of the co-founder of it.
During the last two years, I witnessed a few stages. The first was of course the state where I would wonder if my writing would be read by any other than Dinesh. The second was then when King Gyanendra closed down communications on Feb 1 and when that resumed on Feb 8, we were astonished to see the attention our site has received despite having only one post during that dark week.
Then it was our fight for freedom – no wonder we were a little afraid at the beginning and gradually gained confidence to cover the incidents that never made to the mainstream media. That gave us the new identity as the alternative media. It was then when we worked as if we were employed to UWB! and many of our friends supported us including my office.
Then the democracy was back, and then we started wondering what to update. Though I was very lazy on it, Dinesh worked hard to keep it live and running with regular updates. Many of the readers of UWB!, especially if they had started reading it after democracy, may even wonder on my name.
Blogging was a hobby; then it became a responsibility as our ideal teaches us to fight for our freedom. Now, it is a little hobby and a little compulsion.
During last few months, UWB! may have been little slow – but if you considers regular bloggers attributing UWB! as a source of inspiration to begin blogging, then you may spare us for we have a little contribution on making Nepali blogosphere vibrant. I or Dinesh may stop blogging, but the inspiration of bloggers wouldn’t die in the country, the voices they will raise won’t go unheard. The voices of bloggers would represent the Nepali voices and
that would count more than anything in coming days.
On the second anniversary of UWB!, I thank all our visitors (ya, everyone of you), and all the other contributors! May the Nepali blogosphere grow into a vibrant voice. Happy Vijaya Dashami!
Owning a blog turned out to be a totally different experience. It was exciting in the beginning then turned addictive. I would be writing blogs about almost everything in sight, scribbling in bus stops, hospital waiting rooms, paris danda, on the Nepal Yatayat just anywhere I could sit down comfortably. Debuting in the web world is almost like falling in love. You lose your sleep and ruin your diet by constantly writing entries in your mind about everything going on around you!
I took up just because I love to write, not for others but for my own peace of mind. And in a country with so limited population with Internet access, I don’t think blogging has a notable impact in the society at large too. Still it’s capable of creating ripples once in a blue moon. For instance the deferring of the venue of a press conference by Dr. Tulsi Giri, the former Vice Chairman in the royal autocratic cabinet, was instigated by something posted on UWB. It can be a forum for discussion about politics and issues that the elders deem necessary for the young to know, which is a good thing too. With accusations that students of private college have little or no political sense it sure is an opportunity of growth for us. Actually it was how we (Hysh and Me) caught the blogging fever.
We used to read UWB, she would post some striking entries in her blog and we would discuss. But we discussed so much of politics that there came a time when we couldn’t even stand the word. Too much of anything not even politics is good! That was our conclusion, so we switched to other subjects. But the most rigorous blogging experience was during the 19day April Movement. I used to be hanging in front of my computer all day along. Sometimes from four in the morning till two in the afternoon without a break! I blogged like crazy. Sometimes about my experiences as a Human rights monitor while other times I spoke of being out as a civilian. Blogging was such a huge solace, to a mind going insane in a country crippled due to the every increasing days of strike. There would be debates about the difference blogging made, waging an intellectual war as opposed to violent opposition; one comforting the other saying discussing the situation was contributing to the revolution and what not! On one hand unknown visitors that took the time to comment in the blog had so much to teach us while on the other we slowly learnt the art of blogging.
It’s been over 8 months I started blogging and the changes have been immense. Both on an emotional as well as intellectual level. I have no reservations when it comes to blogging, anything goes from crushes to welcome parties, and first coffee dates to politics just anything under the sun that strikes my mind. Its a challenge to be writing about everything going on in your life when you don’t know anyone reading it, but who doesn’t love challenges? Slowly and unknowingly you bare it all and yet feel that you are at a safe distance from your own words. Boundaries you created in between the personal and public realm of your life slowly fade away yet there are no regrets. You begin to appreciate life in a different way; it’s indeed an enriching experience. After all what’s going on in your life, don’t really define you; those are but events that affect you but never the elements that make you.
Blogging is my freedom of expression. It’s like being self employed with a wonderful sense of ownership. And it least bother me that I have got something to say about everything too. I am young and I have a say. So what the fuss? “Be bold and be blatant. In the end just be yourself.” that’s the Blogging mantra for me. Bloggers Rock! So, I blog. Do You? 🙂
I Blog, Do U? The arrival of UWB brought about the Blogging Wave in Nepal. First, it started with journalists adopting the blogging technology to express themselves in difficult times after Feb 2005 and then we are seeing many sites from students and other professionals. With the craze of blogging increasing, blogger Darshan Karki one fine evening introduced this term which now finds space in one of Dinesh Wagle’s t-shirts!
Darshan Karki, a student of Development Studies in Kathmandu, contributes in the Op-Ed pages of Kantipur daily and maintains her personal blog