Blog on!

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Manpreet Badal is among a handful of politicians who knows what “cloud computing” means. He should be on cloud nine as his blog has evoked a tremendous response.

A recent article published in this paper has brought the blog into limelight, as Manpreet himself acknowledges. This foray into cyber space by Punjab’s well-educated Finance Minister gives us a chance to see various facets of this otherwise reclusive person since the blog has pictures and some personal comments.

Looks like Manpreet is not averse to criticism, some adverse remarks and digs at him are allowed through the “moderation” that every comment has to go through before being approved for posting.

Manpreet is being prudent since the lack of moderation in comments drove away a fellow political leader and blogger, Omar Abdullah. When I clicked on the link to see the youngest CM’s blog, I read: “This domain name expired,” Internet-speak to say that the time-period of the site’s booking has finished.

Well, Omar has “administrative rights” to another “domain” now, a real one called Kashmir and he will no doubt like to block off his blogging experience since he faced such nastiness from spammers and hatemongers that he signed off the blog with a mail that said: “We truly are a bunch of intolerant people. We want to be heard but do not have the strength to hear; we want to have an opinion but do not believe anyone else is entitled to one.” True enough.

Now, I know some people associate intolerance with the Prime Ministerial aspirant L K Advani, but his website and blog is a fine example of shining India in cyberspace. “I was looking for a recipe for a salad, and I found a link for Advani’s site,” said Jaspreet, my significant other, amused and exasperated in equal measure. She is a focused person and resisted the temptation of clicking on the advertisement pointing to the Iron Man’s website and the result was a sumptuous dinner for the family.

Call it professional inquisitiveness, but I could not do the same. I visited the blog and found that Advani’s crew has been working overtime… a massive advertisement blitz to draw in visitors and a neat job of packaging the PM-in-waiting, along with seemingly personal touches expected in a blog.

All would be great, except for the fact that it is soon apparent that Advani’s blog is not by him, it is for him. Blogs are fundamentally fora of personal expressions, personally expressed…but then that’s too much to expect from political figures, isn’t it? Blog on, blokes, we have eternal hope that our politicians will be more honest and transparent, at least in cyberspace.

This midle by Roopinder Singh was published in The Tribune on April 25.