Nepali Bloggers on Identity Crisis

More than two months ago, blogger Umesh Shrestha was awarded by Nepal America Society for his work during the people’s movement. The certification of the award, with cash Rs. 51,000, said that journalist Umesh Shrestha awarded. Although the society did a laudable job recognizing a blogger’s effort, they failed to differentiate between a journalist and a blogger.

And, when Umesh held a small gathering in his home, a few bloggers, including me, had a discussion on blogs and blogging. KP Dhungana of HamroBlog raised a very good points and asked me if we would unite to do something to keep blogging alive or let it die.

The same thing was discussed when Martin Chautari organized a discussion ‘Nepali Blogging: Around Feb 1 and Now’ to which I was a pundit (discussion leader) along with James Sharrok, a UK student researching on Nepali blogs.

The truth is that during the people’s movement and king’s direct rule, all the bloggers had one thing to report – news not likely to get into the mainstream media and advocate for democracy. My United We Blog! and annoymous Radio Free Nepal hogged the limelight doing that and encouraged many other bloggers, including both Umesh and KP, to start something similar.

Thus was created a small blogosphere in Nepal – the blogosphere that we could be proud of because we did something that many other failed and proud also because it was recognized by the people and media. Numerous articles were published, and NAS even honored Umesh for his tireless blog that included news, pictures and videos.

The people won; the monarchy fell (bloggers too boosting a little on this). Bloggers started wondering: now what? I went almost silent with UWB! as well as many others. Umesh kept on but not without drawing criticism from others (‘you either call MeroSansar a news site or stop writing news’ – as KP commented).

What I had experienced with UWB! was experienced by both of them. Once it turned into news-based thing, there is no space for non-political issues and personal experiences. This all prompted me to begin this blog, UWB! co-founder Dinesh to open his own as Deepak Adhikari and Tilak Pathak. “I am thinking of beginning a new personal blog,” Umesh admitted. We felt similar pain.

What we can do? KP suggested that we should unite and form an association so at least our affiliation with the association encourage us to blog regularly. Surely a good idea!

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