Interview with Blogger Taha KeharBy The Pakistani Spectator • Jun 28th, 2012 • Category: Interviews • 4 Comments
Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
My website is essentially a journal that includes some articles I have written for print and online publications. Having worked as a freelance journalist and an editor at a media magazine, it was particularly important for me to create a compendium for my numerous writings. This resulted in my producing a diary of sorts which reflects how I have matured as a writer.
I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
Since my blog serves to create a record of my articles/poems/short stories, it does not contain too many pieces that were written exclusively for the site. But while independent blogging has not been my forte, I have previously blogged for various e-zines. Perhaps my most memorable experience as a blogger involves the controversy surrounding Veena Malik’s FHM Magazine scandal. The Express Tribune Blog published my article where I criticized the ghairat brigade for their bigoted and inhumane attitude towards Veena’s shoot. Although many people admired my effort, some readers were displeased by the overly liberal stance adopted in the article. This served as a reality-check. It confirmed my fears that Pakistani society was riven between
liberals and conservatives who were in no position to reconcile. Moreover, I realized that there could be no recipe for change until we altered the way we thought about social issues.
If you had to describe life as a blogger in a Twitter message (140 characters) what would you say?
Expressing an opinion is a blessing unto itself. But opinions must be sensible and pragmatic or else they stand the risk of being ignored
What do you think sets your site apart from others?
Blogs are sacred entities for their creators. However, my site suffers from neglect. It is only updated when I have a new article to share on my blog. I don’t use the forum to vent my frustrations. It is akin to a gallery where only serious pieces are showcased. Although it is not a personal space, my blog offers insight into my countless forays with written words. Hence, it
simultaneously serves an account of my achievements.
If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
We must learn to persevere if we want to realize our dreams.
What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
Frankly, there is no point in crying over spilt milk or even reminiscing past joys. The purpose of life is to tread forward and find new aspirations to pursue.
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?
I’d like to visit Moscow, Mumbai and Berlin.
What is your favorite book and why?
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin conveys the abysmal conflict between following your heart and falling apart. The novel evokes sentiments that are real but unknown and propagates the importance of the human existence.
How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
They must keep their fingers on the pulse of the masses and learn to see things from their perspective. Ranting and musing on your blog may be cathartic but it is only rarely that it generates financial gain.
What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world friendlier and less hostile?
Bloggers can become agents of change by broadening their horizons and having faith what they do best. Opinions have the rare potential to manufacture social change and bloggers must embrace this reality.
Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
Perhaps the most engaging and informative bloggers include Teeth Maestro, Tazeen Javed and Kala Kawa.
Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
Reactions can vary according to how current and emotionally sensitive a particular theme is. So far my blogs on current affairs have generated a forceful response from readers. For instance, I recall that my pieces on the bomb attack on the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in 2010 and last year’s shisha ban triggered an interesting debate. While this indicates that readers are
thinking critically about media contents, it is also a source of grief. Having examined recent trends on my blog, I have noticed that articles/posts on serious issues that need to be immediate attention do not generate a powerful reaction. This is disconcerting because such pieces are geared towards social change.
Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
The Arab Spring was galvanised by a group of bloggers who firmly believed that they could induce change. Each and every one of those dynamic opinion-leaders is a source of inspiration for local bloggers.
What is the future of blogging?
At this stage, blogging is synonymous with diversity. It is not restricted to written words. On the contrary, we find bloggers expressing themselves through videos and photography. Such diversity is commendable and has led to a growth in citizen journalism. Furthermore, many newspaper websites and e-zines have enriched the blogosphere with their interesting and
informative blog sections. However, there is now an overabundance of blogs that mirror similar concerns. Microblogging is arguably the best solution to break through this clutter.
You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
I started out as an occasional blogger at a local newspaper. This helped me get noticed and brought me into the world of print journalism. Therefore, my blogging life has positively influenced my professional life. However, I’ve made a conscious effort to keep my blogging life separate from my personal life to avoid any adverse consequences.
What are your future plans?
My first anthology of poems, Writing words with Fire, is being published by a Goa-based Publisher. Over the next few months, I plan on carving a niche for the book.
Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Believe in your dreams. Contrary to what you may expect, they can come true.