The joy of blogging is all about the freedom you have in expressing yourself and the fact that you don't need to worry about the constraints of newspaper columns or the demands of the editor.
Even though I wrote fewer posts, I felt that the quality wasn't compromised. The year 2011 had begun on this blog with an off-beat feature on the smoking saint:
Killed by Indians, Revered by Indians' about the East India company's 'Christian' officer who was killed by Indian soldiers but over the years whose grave became a place of reverence and where people offer cigarettes.
COMMUNAL HARMONY & OFF-BEAT
Strange and unique stories included Pind-daan ritual for MF Husain and his soul's salvation by Hindus in Bihar [Read], 'Ganesha on Muslim couples' marriage invitation card' [Read], stories on condition of Sindhi newspapers and magazines in India et al.
Some travelogues that included pieces on Lucknow. First about 'Blogging from Lucknow: The romance of Rumi Gate then about 'Clock towers of Awadh', Wandering from Aminabad to Hazratganj, Culture of non-vegetarian street food in India 'Bun-Kebabs and street food'.
Or the post on the huge 'Chaubara', a Clock tower-cum-watchtower in Karnataka's Bidar. There was a post on Kanpur, 'Ganges and Greenery but no Gazelles'[Read]. Many posts were about Shias who interest me a lot viz. Shia populace yearning for political clout and Bohra community in India.
Urdu poetry is the defining feature of this blog. There were reports about couplets recited at Mushairas like this post. The demise of veteran poet of Bhopal 'dabistaan', Ishrat Qadri was a personal loss, it was titled, 'We haven't forgotten you Ishrat Sahab' and 'Buy a Urdu paper campaign' that began from Kolkata.
Though I focused a lot on cricket in the earlier posts like the articles on memories of the world cups of cricket from the first such even in 1975 [Read and Read] to Zaheer Khan's sporting journey [Read] & Azamgarh throws up a hero [Read] but in latter part of the year I couldn't keep the tempo.
Several satisfying posts like about the serendipitous discovery of a hidden heritage, which I wrote after finding this little-known but amazing Shia shrine in Unnao, and the one on centenary of shifting of capital from Calcutta to Delhi, 'Calcutta 1911 and Ismail Merathi's Urdu primer' [Read].
There were posts like 'Indian Muslims must avoid street protests' [Read], as images of angry crowds and furious mobs create a bad image of the community. And yes, firing in Forbesganj [Read] or article on media's astonishing softness on Sanatan Sanstha: Terror convicts termed as servants! [Read].
Posts on 'Peace Party's growth in Uttar Pradesh [Read]. Decade of Print media boom in India that defied international trends. Among other off-beats posts were my visit to a Circus after a long time and returning sad, a post on Arjun Singh amongst others [Read]. Even a guest post.
There was focus on politics, stories on election scene and also a post on 'Narendra Modi's chances to become India's Prime Minister' [Read]. Come on you can't call me 'sickular' or 'pseduo', I tried to be objective even if some of you would differ.
Not many movie reviews though I did watch Shahrukh Khan starrer Ra One and wrote a piece. There was another piece on 'Ghantaghar' which was about a father constructing a clock tower in his son's memory in Lucknow [Read].
I focused on Kashmir in the posts like 'Eternal Suspects: Mistreating Kashmiri youths outside J&K' and 'Patriotism or Petty politics at Lal Chowk'. There were a couple of posts on Indian Muslims' and their issues including communalism, police excesses but mostly introspective ones like 'Sorry, I don't need a Muslim leadership' [Read].
In positive stories, there was focus on Saba Anjum, the India women's hockey team captain's journey was mentioned in the post, 'Muezzin's daughter is national team captain' and story on Muslim girls breaking tradition and contesting students' union election in AMU [Read].
Though there is less discussion on blogging now, I notice a trend. The traffic on this site has gone up sharply even though I am not even posting every week. Last year, sometimes only one article was posted a month.
But despite the surge in traffic, there are lesser comments. One of the reasons could be the moderation of comments, which I had introduced. Many people who are not on blogs, try but failing to log in, simply walk away without commenting.
But even otherwise, I feel, people are reading, even spending more time on blog, but avoid comments. The ones, who make wild or abusive comments, are of course filtered. Either Hindu or Muslim fundamentalist, none can get through.
I can't stand meaningless debates and the endless arguments of hate-filled 'Anonymous' netizens who keep suspecting others' patriotism and nationalistic credentials or rake up an old issue, discussed a million times, and again 'demand' your answer.
BLOGGING IN 2012
For this year , I had intend to write more often. Till now I have been quite regular and hope to write twice the number of posts compared to last year. For last year's annual blogging round up [year 2010], you can go to THIS LINK.
So keep reading, friends.