Interview with Blogger Ali SulemanBy Amna Mekal • Oct 15th, 2012 • Category: Interviews • 2 Comments
Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
I am a telecommunications engineer by degree, an entrepreneur by passion and a writer by… well, necessity maybe; this is the best medium I have got to express myself.
The website Shashca is not basically “mine”. It’s the result of the effort of more than a hundred young minds working on it with dedication. An entrepreneurial venture launched to bring a social change in the country by engaging the youth. We want the youth to bring a social revolution by awareness and education through the newspaper. Furthermore, we want to revive the reading culture among the youth of Pakistan.
I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
Yes, I once had chicken biryani while writing a blog. Now that was memorable.
If you had to describe life as a blogger in a Twitter message (140 characters) what would you say?
tu isay paimana e imroz o farada se na naap
javidaan, paiham ravaan, har dam javaan hay zindagi!
[you do not measure life by the scale of gain and loss
life is lively, ever-flowing, always youthful!]
PS. I don’t know whether it answers the question of “life as a blogger” in particular, but I think this is all life is about, no matters whose it is.
What do you think sets your site apart from others?
What sets apart Shashca from others is that it is in a language and manner that has never been used ever in the world. Actually our site uses a new language, which is the trendy language that is now used as by the youth of Pakistan, which is also known as “Roman Urdu.” This is the language which we use while “texting” each other. So, we use an amalgam of this “Roman Urdu” and a bit of humour to make the things we talk about a bit more interesting. Our newspaper is thus pretty different from the conventional ones, which the juvenile lot finds boring and uninteresting, and thus is a way to revive the awareness of political and social problems of our country among the youth.
If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
I try to win hearts, not minds. We are all humans, and emotions are what drive us, what motivates us. So I try not to hurt anyone by any means. This is what brought me to success, I believe.
What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
Happiest: when Shashca got the finalist award at mBillionth South Asians awards in New Delhi.
Gloomiest: at Ahmed Faraz’s death
If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?
Rome, Paris, Toronto
What is your favorite book and why?
My favourite book is “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. Maybe because it was the first political satire I ever read. But somehow the diction managed to win my heart. It’s simply a marvelous book! I am short of words when it comes to the Animal Farm.
How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
Bloggers are relaying their minds to their audience through their hands. They can advertise their blogs via their social circle to higher levels, and look for sponsors thus. They can become part of a larger firm to get collaboration for their own blogs. And, like me, they can use their blogs as a stepping stone to larger ventures. Furthermore, we all know about Google Adsense. Google really made life much easier, no?
What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world friendlier and less hostile?
Everybody is seeing what’s happening around us. But the point is how to react. Incidents that happen around us, affecting us directly or indirectly might not be a matter of our choice; but reaction to those incidents… well, that’s a choice.
Bloggers have creative minds. Through innovation, they can play a huge part in changing the circumstances that we are living in for the better. Words penetrate our hearts and minds a great deal. It’s like slow poisoning and vaccination, and eventually, the venom will kill all the hostility and prejudices.
Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
Salman Latif, Zoha Khalid, Zunaira Afzal, Hamza Asad, Samia Khan
Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
Yes, there was that post on the Independence Day, about how we got freedom. A short 100 word post, it described an incident of Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria and Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir. It ended at a Goosebumps-giving scenario with Ben Bella saying that you don’t ask for freedom, you get it by laying down a graveyard of lives in sacrifice. It went viral. This is 2 years back, when I hadn’t even started my own site.
Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
Most of the people who work at our site are bloggers. Every one of them is unique in their own way. Everybody has dips and ups in their writings, so it isn’t specifically any blogger, because it’s the work that really matters.
What is the future of blogging?
The future of blogging is very bright. Blogs are transforming into whole new shapes. For example, I being a blogger, used my skills to create the basis of a change in the country.
You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
I don’t think that way actually. I think how my personal and professional lives are affected my blogging life. It’s all about priorities, I guess. I am happy, alhamdoliallah.
What are your future plans?
I plan to take Shashca to a whole new level by God’s will. It has to be world’s first printed newspaper in slang language. I aim for the Guinness’s.
Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Nothing new. I am just going to repeat what Mian Muhammad Bakhsh said centuries ago:
Dha day masjid, dha day mandir, dha day jo kuch dhainda
Ik banday da dil na dhaveen, Rab dilan vich rainda
[demolish all mosques, destroy all temples, break anything that can be broken
don’t break a person’s heart, for God lives in hearts]