Indiablogs: what this region is blogging about

On, about, from South Asia ... and the world of blogging

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Technorati, AP... and us

Read this story Technorati Weblog: Technorati Teams With The Associated Press to Connect Bloggers To More Than 440 Newspapers Nationwide. So America (rather, the US) talking to America (the US) again? What happens to the rest of cyberspace? Bulk of the planet on the fringes?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Clinton... back from Morjim

It's 3:30 am almost, and I've been chatting with Clinton (not the prez!) Here's what the young man wrote... --FN 2.54am, 130kmph, and 13 turtle hatchlings

Thought i'd pass the blog phase in my life but i guess i was wrong. Got persuaded by a friend that blogs were worth trying out. Perhaps that it is 2.54 am in the morning and i don't know if i'm sleepy or not, but i won't put too much thought into that...

I've just returned home speedily from a beach in North Goa, called Morjim. So what was a benaulikar doing 70 kms away from his hometown at that ungodly hour you ask? Watching turtles hatch and crawl to the sea ofcourse!

Well it's not everyday that you see such a happening, so armed with a camera and a 4 wheeler, i made my way to Panjim for dinner and then to Morjim where i would witness this for the first time in my life. Sujeet, one of those in charge had informed me earlier that i would be just one of the 5-6 people that night, and you can perobably imagine my horror when i saw over 150 people at a desolate beach close to midnight.

It's a sad sight to see people jostling with each other trying to get a better view perhaps, a better camera angle and this special moment becomes just another touristic sideshow. At birth, hatchlings make their way upwards, crawling through the sand with their flippers. Instinct tells them to follow the moonlight towards the sea. But with so many meddilng tourists, and flashing cameras, they get disoriented and move in circles, wearing themselves out even before they enter the sea. It was a disa pointing experience as I could not get a picture in a natural setting with the crowds milling about, nor could i enjoy the sight.

At times like this I wish we ddin't have so many tourists or perhaps these hatchings should be kept secret, at least for the sake of the turtles. This night just 13 turtles made it into the sea. I wonder how many will survive till they return back to Morjim to lay some more eggs. Probably none, but by then i guess Morjim would probably be another Calangute.

Clinton.. klintvaz at

posted by klintvaz at 1:25 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Left, right, Left

open free world thought provoking tidbits collected from here and there...

Interesting links, nice thoughts. A blog by Suresh Balasubramanian in Thrissur (Kerala). Suresh writes: "This blog doesn't contain anything new, it just duplicates information. The purpose of this blog is to be a gateway to the web of information, which is slightly "Left" in nature, but more "right"." Particularly liked the link to


By Frederick Noronha

Top advertising gurus do it. So do students, voicing their words of love. The word 'blog' has yet to be translated into any Indian language, but these unusual tools for communication can be at the centre of a major row nationwide, as the recent IIPM incident [1] only shows.

Yet, India-related blogs are largely invisible and go un-appreciated. Few talk about them, and there's little hype, probably because little commercial potential is seen in this form of IT-based communication.

Blogs come in differing forms and orientations -- political, personal, cultural, topical, business-oriented, science, moblog (or, mobile blog), collaborative, eclectic, educational, directory-oriented, a forum-type of blog, or ones just made up of spam!

As the Wikipedia [2] explains: "A blog has certain attributes that distinguish it from a standard web page. It allows for easy creation of new pages: new data is entered into a simple form (usually with the title, the category, and the body of the article) and then submitted. Automated templates take care of adding the article to the home page, creating the new full article page (Permalink), and adding the article to the appropriate date- or category-based archive."

In a country where we are great at simply mastering the technology -- rather than applying it efficiently to our own needs -- we're probably missing the point here too. Blogs have the capability to empower the citizen, simply because entry barriers are so low, and it's easy to express oneself on them.

Of course, one piece in the jigsaw is to get blogs working in Indian languages. Once can come across a handful of blogs written in Indian languages using the Devanagari script (Marathi, Hindi, etc) and maybe larger languages like Tamil. But a lot more needs to be done on this front.

To cite the importance and relevance of blogging, we can look to a case that made it to the headlines. Only very recently. In the IIPM blog war, as it has been called, a prominent media-savvy management chain was seriously upset by the scribblings in cyberspace of one blogger.

What makes blogs so unpredictable, readable, and influential?

This is what the mainstream media's Hindustan Times recently commented: "That blogs would one day become an alternative media was never doubtful. That blogs would one day truly liberate the media and become democratic in the right sense of the word was also never doubtful. What was doubtful was that so called "intellectuals" in traditional media react the way they did to new media. What was perhaps worse was that a leading educational institute sue two bloggers for airing their views on their blog." [3]

While we can crow about how influential blogs have shown themselves to be, fact is that India is hardly a nation of bloggers. For a country of a thousand million, we have just a minuscule number of blogs. Or is it that they're still mostly invisible?

A friend from Egypt, who has effectively used blogs to jostle for democracy in his part of the world, says their country has "only 500" bloggers. That, he feels, is a small number for a country which has one-fifteenth of India's size..

Of course, there are no directories or comprehensive listings of blogs. Like in the case of mailing lists, it's difficult to discover a good blog, unless someone emails or speaks to you about it. And, the mainstream press sees to hardly be willing to acknowledge the power of the blogging world. Unless, of course, there's a crisis!

In January 2006, Indibloggies -- -- announced the results of its competition for the best 'desi' blogs.

It announced, sounding breathless: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the wait is over. The hectic final voting spell spread over a week that also saw a re-poll for the Best Designed Indiblog category -- an unprecedented event in the history of the Indibloggies - is finally over and we are all set to declare the results."

Some 1278 people registered for the poll but only 892 actually cast their vote. It called "India Uncut" the IndiBlog of the year, saying: "India Uncut is the Best Indiblog at the Indibloggies 2005. Amit Varma, author of India Uncut and a Mumbai-based journalist is a maverick of quick posts and anything that starts with a "C", cows and cricket for instance. He not only bagged 25% of the votes cast for the category but also has the distinction to bag 225 votes, the highest number of votes bagged by any blog/site in this competition (yes, we know that voting for this category was mandatory but we are talking statistics here) and emerged a clear winner. Such fun! Amit wins."

Other winners were journalist Sonia Faleiro (best topical IndiBlog), Jabberwock by Delhi-based journo Jai Arjun (best humanities IndiBlog), The Scientific Indian by Selvakumar (best science/technology IndiBlog), Digital Inspiration and Michael Parekh on IT (runners up in this category), DesiPundit (best IndiBlog directory), Mall Road by Shivam Vij Indiblog with the best tagline), Megha (best designed IndiBlog), Meenakshi Agarwal's food blog Hooked on Heat (best new IndiBlog), ShutterBug nu by Nilesh Chaudhary (best photo blog), Sight Screen (group blog, best sports IndiBlog), and Guru Subramaniam aka Lazy Geek (IndiBloggies 2005 lifetime achiever).

There were also awards for DesiPundit (best group blog), Mumbai Blog (best Indic blog, in Hindi). Runners-up in Indian language solutions were Anup Shukla's Fursatiya, Kanndave Nitya (Kannada), Kalesh's World (Malayalam), Marathi Sahitya (Marathi), Disamaji Kahitari (Marathi), Mugamoodi (Tamil), Amazing Telugus (Telugu), among others.

Responding to this contest, someone commented sardonically: "History..."? What history do you go got dude! Its hardly a year. It's hilarious to see the 'Life time achievement award' unless the nominees are worker Bees which has lifespan of one year."

But there are other perspectives on India's blogging achievements and shortcomings.

Neha Viswanathan <>, the London-based South Asia editor of the US-based blog-watch centre, believes that blogging in India has both its strengths and weaknesses.

She said in an email interview: "While India-based blogs have been around for some time, the notion of Indian blogosphere by itself is a new one. It's only in recent times -- through the emergence of aggregators and sites like DesiPundit that the Indian Blogosphere is shaping an identity for itself."

Neha Vishwanathan argues that Indian blogs have their less attractive characteristics like "rank-competitiveness", "high level of spite" and its sheer insular nature, by which it disassociates itself from the rest of South Asia. But, Vishwanathan says, "it holds great potential given that more blogs are emerging from smaller cities and languages other than English". Vishwanathan argues that the growth in the number of blogs has been almost viral in this part of the globe -- even if most seem unaware of their presence.

"More people are taking to this medium which offers so much potential for expression. What is also interesting is that it in many ways is bridging the divide between resident Indians and the diaspora. It is encouraging debates that are otherwise ignored by the mainstream media. Issues like gender rights, cultural minorities, syncreticism, sexuality, volunteering etc. are finding articulation," she adds.

The trend of group-blogs or colla-blogging is also growing, which implies that there is a shift towards topical blogs, in Vishwanathan's view.

"There's also the trend of small communities and frequent blogmeets. Business houses are adopting the medium of blogs, and the recently launched CNN-IBN also has blogs by journalists and quite an open policy about comments. Every time there is a controversy (like IIPM, ToI vs. Pradyuman Maheshwari case etc), more people who generally only surf the Net without visiting blogs, become more acquainted with blogs and become bloggers themselves," she adds.

She sees Indian blogs as being "very visible, and very active". But still, in Vishwanathan's view, these new tools of the cyber-age "need to focus on truly representing the cultural and intellectual diversity of India".

Her reference to the ToI vs. Pradyuman Maheshwari case was an instance where one of the closely-watched media-related blogs run by a long-time journalist was shut down, following complaints from the scribe (Maheshwari) that he had been pressurised to do so by one of the most influential papers in the country, following persistent critical reports against it.

It can be tough to reach at the numbers. is a listing of Indian bloggers worldwide. Its 'owner' comments: "When I started blogging I could not find too many Indian bloggers. I started this list to keep track of the growing number of Indian bloggers worldwide. And boy, are they growing! I am not taking in any new submissions as of now....."

Another directory -- -- listed some 2195 blogs, and ranked the "top blogs" going by how many other blogs had linked to them.

Impressive though all this might seem, there's still a lot more road to be covered. Currently, blogging seems largely restricted to Mumbai, Chennai and expats in the US! This may seem like a unrealistic generalisation; but this is true of many of the early blogs.

Bloggers seem to be working in isolated islands, rather than building synergies with more traditional media. This probably results in bloggers 'talking to themselves'. Journalists, or a section of them, have taken to blogging; but are they largely attempting to impose their traditional forms of writing onto the blogsphere, or adapt to it? With many different newspapers and websites starting their own blogging platforms, India could well be fragmenting its bloggers. Compare this to the situation elsewhere, where the big three or four players have consolidated bloggers in their stable.

Then, one might ask if the wide range of issues that deserve attention are actually being discussed in Indian blogs. For once, here's a form of the media which actually empowers. But is it being adequately deployed? Are students being encouraged to check out the power of blogs?

In a region where hierarchy and exclusion still matters, blogging is unlikely to make the headway it badly needs, unless it becomes a really inclusive movement. Is the technology community up to the task, and willing to make it happen?


[1] [2] [3]

Some interesting blogs:

E M E R G I C . o r g: Rajesh Jain's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Enterprises and Markets

Sadagopan's weblog on Emerging Technologies,Thoughts, Ideas,Trends and Cyberworld

Conversations with Dina

---------- ABOUT THE WRITER: Frederick Noronha, or simply FN, is a Goa-based independent journalist, who has written for many publications across India, before opting for the online media. A non-techie, life-member of the CSI, he specialises on writing on Free/Libre and Open Source Software in Asia, and is an active member of the Indian FLOSS community. His writings appear on the Linux Journal (US) website, in Linux For You, Tectonic (South Africa), and he has undertaken blogging assignments for the Asia Source and Africa Source camps (2005-06). Email:

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Power issues

Just came across this blog dealing with power issues in India:

Prakash Advani, geek... etc

Just ran into Prakash Advani's weblog [1] which looks at technology, computers, Linux, photography and more. His first entry is dated 1998! And, you might have guessed right, it's about getting started with [GNU]Linux.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Links to some blogs....

Have been trying to update some of my blogs in recent days. Here's a list of the ones am working on: blog on free software and non-profits in association with; on Indian documentary film; on Goa; and another on Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) in India. Then, there are also some badly-needing-to-be-updated blogs on FLOSS in Asia; the BytesForAll theme; journalism in Goa; books on Goa; keeping track of some other Indian and South Asian blogs; alternative views from India, and a new-attempt at keeping track of radio-related issues in India.

Blogging against censorship (.np)

Radio Free Nepal is a blog which protests the coup by that country's King earlier this year. It says: "King Gyandendra of Nepal has issued a ban on independent news broadcasts and has threatened to punish newspapers for reports that run counter to the official monarchist line. Given that any person in Nepal publishing reports critical of 'the spirit of the royal proclamation' is subject to punishment and/or imprisonment, contributors to this blog will publish their reports from Nepal anonymously." Incidentally, a Google search for nepal + blog thows up United We Blog! for a Democratic Nepal, along with this article Nepalese bloggers, journalists defy media clampdown by king. Technorati's search on Nepal throws up a total of 43,443 posts. But it's hard to say how many of these are related to human rights and democracy issues there. Maybe a small percentage. Life's like that.

Recipes... of varying Indo kinds

Minal from Mumbai has this blog called Indian Recipes, subtitled "recipes for all manner of Indian food". Currently on the top is one for "experimental veg biryani" which goes with a warning: "This is not the authentic vegetable biryani you will get in hotels. This preparation was experimented on me for my quick lunch at college. It worked wonders and remains a favourite dish among my friends and family:-)"

Goa, IFFI, a gripe and a film

writer-in-exile's blog on IFFI, the International Film Festival of India and some comments: "Remind me next time never ever to think that things can go smoothly when the Government is in charge. Total chaos reigned at IFFi yesterday and at 3 p.m. when we entered we were told that we could not collect our media accreditation passes as the counter had shut at 2! wow, and no one informs us. I even attended the press on in Mumbai and there too this was not mentioned. And if you didn't have your media card you couldn't collect an invite! God alone knows what ingenuity I had to use to get an invite and how the photographer entered is another story. Anyhow, that confusion done, we settled down to two and a half hours of speeches (festival director, Jaipal Reddy, CM of Goa, Dev Anand, Chiranjeevi and then the performances: Amisha Patel, urmila Matondkar, Blaze, Meera, Prachi Shah, Dino More and his leading lady from Holiday and the three girls from Garam Masala plus Himesh Reshamiyya and Hema Sardesai. But the best part of the evening was the two-hour Brazilian film Olga. It left me speechless with a lump in my throat. What fantastic acting. It's based on the true story of a a natural-born German woman Olga Benário Prestes, who falls in love with a Brazilian communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes"

A Chennai journo keeping a blog

A journo from The Hindu in Chennai has been keeping this blog, called Whyte Space which is currently maintaining a "Goa Journal". It cautions the reader: "The views expressed in this blog are my own and are NOT endorsed by my employers or organisation. Also, this blog may contain explicit language not suitable for children So kids, if you're caught reading this, your Momma's gonna whip your ass." Sudhish Kamath, a 28-year-old film-maker has been covering the International Film Festival of India-2005 at Goa and one of his reports is titled IFFI Panaji: where lines between art and commerce blur. Some recent jottings (or photos) include Spot the park bench!, INOX, Behind the scenes, Making of IFFI, King Momo's date, King Momo's desi date, Portuguese Item number, Portuguese flavour and there's probably more to come.... They don't has space for such comment in print, do they?

Comments about Goa

Saltwaterblues' blog entry about a holiday in Goa, male bullies, pig slaughter and the like: "In many way this was a disappointing trip. No lighthouse at Aguada, no nanga-punga's at Anjuna Beach, no Martin's Corner at Betalbatim (which they say serves the best food in Goa), no Palolem (really beautiful beach), no Jazz House (awesome jazz joint at Candolim). All I did was eat lots of fried fish, drink lots of beer, and take long walks on the beach."

Cheap holidays... and Goa

This is from a cheap holidays site... dunno if Goa is supposed to actually feel flattered: "If your considering Goa as a holiday destination and what a superb destination it is, then please get a Visa before you travel as you cannot get one in country. So have a browse or call us we are here to get you the very best in holiday deals and advice."

Goa to Dombivli (Mumbai) on cycles... [Priyank Thatte's] travelogue narrates a bicycle expedition that covers 600+ kms: "After 2 years, I managed to digitalize my travelogue about the bicycle journey from Goa to Bombay that I undertook with 5 friends in November 2003. It is now available in the Photo Gallery Travelogue section of this website."

Detailed blog of a trip to Antarctica

GoanToAntarctica is Goan scientist Helga do Rosario Gomes' blog of her second, and currently-ongoing visit, to Antarctica. Helga has been active in cyberspace, and was earlier a scientist at the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa. GoanVoiceUK commented: " Helga do Rosario Gomes has been reporting in much detail, on Goanet, about her second trip to the Antarctic. Find out more about Helga and her exciting research activity.

Goanet blog... (sneak preview)

Check the Goanet blog, just being launched at Goanet is a 11-year-old mailing list that links people from (specially expats from) Goa on the west coast of India.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Links to Country:101 (India!)

Links to blogs from India. Quite a few!

India ... and blogs

Search this page for two keywords: India and blogs. Not everything might be related though.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Technical writing... with an Indian tilt

This is the Technical Writing Blog. Self-description: "This is the official blog of STC India and has a strong bent towards technical writing. It's a community blog that aims to capture interesting and useful information that's beneficial to tech writers. Though this blog has an India tilt, tech writers from around the world are welcome to join in. We welcome tech writers to share interesting information and experiences. If you want to join as an author, all you need to do is shoot across an email and we will provide you an author access."