3 Years

After a false start in 2003, this blog made its appearance three years ago on May 30, 2005. Initially intended as a collection of my already published book reviews, it has taken on a life on its own and now contains, in addition to book reviews, social and political commentary and of late, just links to stuff I read on the internet. Since last week, Bhashwati Ghosh, who has guest blogged here earlier, joins me in contributing to the blog.

The biggest satisfaction in having this blog has been getting to know so many wonderful people that otherwise I might have never met- particularly Abi, Madhukar, Rahul Banerjee, Krish, Raza, Jack, Adnan, Arvind Gupta, Mohib, Rama, Alok, Prof. Swarup and so many others listed in the blogroll. It has also helped to keep a conversation going with friends and comrades from the pre- internet age. Blog aggregators and collective endeavors- especially desicritics, desipundit, blogbharti (where I was a contributor till recently) and indianmuslims – have inspired both confidence as well as opened up new windows, and show cased this blog to new readers, who have not exactly rushed in millions but have slowly joined by subscribing to the blog feed or by email or just adding the blog url to the bookmarks in their browsers.

It may sound like a cliche, but the fact remains that one ultimately writes for readers, and it is they that keeps one going. The first, and for a long time, the only reader of this blog was myself! I cannot but help noticing how this blog has evolved and what it indicates about how ‘virtual communities’ evolve and operate. My initial blog posts carried a lot of ‘I’ so that it was more like a personal diary, this slowly gave way to writing in the third person as if one was writing for a newspaper or a magazine. Indeed, even as I was discovering other blogs with common interests, they too were discovering me- via comments, search engines and links at other blogs.

In other words, what was initially very personal realized itself only by becoming socialized, by joining and coalescing with others.

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23 thoughts on “3 Years

  1. Hi Bhupinder, Congrats for completing three years… and more book reviews please also more posts in the “I-Me-Myself-Mode”. Subjectivity isn’t always undesirable, quite often it is instructive to learn from other people’s stories of their intellectual journeys and adventures.

  2. Yay! Congrats on crossing this wonderful milestone.

    What you said about the new kind of socializing and making new friends is so true. I’m so lucky — and so glad — to have discovered your fantastic blog.

    One of the key things in the blogosphere is sheer staying power. I wish you lots of it 😉

    Keep writing, Bhupinder!

  3. bahut shukriya, Adnan
    Alok: inshallah!
    Abi: not everyone can be as prolific and as resilient as you! But I will try and keep it going. As the Urdu poet Zauq, whose poetry mirrored the decline of the Mughal empire, encouragingly said: tum bhi chaley chalo, jab tak chali chaley (keep going as long as you can) 🙂
    Thanks for your generous link support all these years!

  4. Thanks for the mention Bhupinder. I too have the same sentiments as you do about blogging and personal evolution. My blog has changed quite a bit (actually, a lot!!) since I first started blogging in July of 2006. One of the things I have appreciated was also meeting bloggers in cyber space and meat space (aka, the real world) such as yourself. In fact, you were one of the first commentators on my blog site and I have cherished our (internet) friendship ever since. It was also great getting to know and meet other bloggers from around the world, such as Apurva (your fellow Blogbhartian) and Hossam (socialist from Egypt who blogs at http://arabist.net/arabawy/ ). Hopefully one day we shall meet each other; whether it be the East Coast, San Francisco, or in India. Peace my friend, and keep blogging comrade.

  5. Jack:I remember your post on the Indian caste system and what stuck me at that time the sincerity with which you were trying to understand it. I was looking for blogs on Dalits, and found very few posts on the subject (the scenario has changed substantially between then and now).

    I feel that blogging is something that basically reinforces one’s beliefs and ideas- and in that it is conservative in nature. If one is looking to change one’s ideas- or trying to change other people’s ideas- probably blogging is not the best mechanism. One can at best fine tune one’s understanding. To play the devil’s advocate, I am wondering if it is just another mechanism that is essentially conservative in nature (it does little beyond creating social networks- which is at best a neutral purpose that it serves).

    As on our meeting, insha allah, we will surely meat, and since I am a carnivore, it could be anywhere. How about Ireland?

  6. Bhupinder:

    I feel that blogging is something that basically reinforces one’s beliefs and ideas- and in that it is conservative in nature. If one is looking to change one’s ideas- or trying to change other people’s ideas- probably blogging is not the best mechanism.

    I never looked at it like that before! I agree, very true. Blogging is best used as a resource for information and communication plus networking.

    As for our future inevitable meeting. Ireland would be great, I have plenty of family all over the island (except the North) so plenty of free places to stay with free home cooked food to mull over. 🙂

  7. Well, it has been argued that blogging is a nihilist media, but I am of the opinion that it is possibly worse.

    Blogging is a bleed-to-death strategy. Implosion is not the right word. Implosion implies a tragedy and spectacle that is not present here. Blogging is the opposite of the spectacle. It is flat (and yet meaningful). Blogging is not a digital clone of the “letter to the editor”. Instead of complaining and arguing, the blogger puts him or herself in the perversely pleasurable position of media observer.


    And thanks… so Ireland it will be!

  8. Thanks, Anoop. I am trying to keep it going despite my increasing skepticism about blogging in general. It ain’t a good thing if mian Zauq is my inspiration right now! Probably it will be more of links than any original writing.

    Continuing on my doomsday line of thought in the thread with Jack- I am now wondering if “virtual communities” is an oxymoron.

  9. in a time when capitalism through consumerism has totally bludgeoned human sensibilities it is blogs like yours that keep the possibility of reclaiming public space for such sensibilities alive. i have learnt a lot about blogging from you and have become an irregular blogger with some help from you.

  10. I have learned much from this blog, and not just about books and writing. Blogging, for me, has been about joining dots scattered all over the place. That’s how we connect with each other and come to appreciate the traces of sameness that underlie different perspectives.

    Kudos to A Reader’s Words on its third anniversary. In bloglife, three years is quite a lot!

  11. Bhupinder: Yes, “vitural communities” is an oxymoron. In fact, we should strive to not have “virtual communities” at all. Blogging must be grounded (if one is an activist) in reality and should never ever take presidence over on the ground work. However, what blogging can do is get you in contact with other folks around the world and take you to stories that you would have never known about, therefore informing you about them and perhaps widening your world view. Nothing more, nothing less. It is with that thinking that we can put blogging in its proper context and not over inflate its importance; however, we must not discard it either.

    I recommend reading Egyptians ignore strike call by Facebook activist group


  12. Jack: I think you have carried the thought to its logical conclusion! (as of now). I have a feeling we will return to this topic as we continue to ask fundamental questions and re- examine the basics again and again.
    Jo: thanks

  13. The big brother kind of surveillance employed in the work place has made me shift to a feed reader through which i access almost all the blogs and news and that in turn means, that i have been following all your posts 🙂
    This has prevented me from making my presence felt on blogs through commenting.. and engaging in any kind of discussions.

    I am hoping that google reader will soon include a way to comment on blogs that i visit through the G reader!

  14. Congrats! for the 3rd anniversary!
    … though slightly belated, as was off to Sikkim ;0)

    and agree with you that for me too blogging has helped to get to know many remarkable people, learn from their work and thought… and something I had never anticipated – become more accepting and appreciative of ideas different than mine…


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