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In every Gali, Nukkad and Mohalla

 

Avinash Das started mohalla.com. And ever since it first saw the light of the day, the sun has not set on this mohalla. Bharat Malhotra takes you on a tour
BHARAT MALHOTRA | New Delhi, June 2, 2012 18:15
Tags : mohalla.com |
 

Avinash had a well paying job with the NDTV. All was running smooth until something unknown drove Avinash on to this path. A resident of Darbhanga, Bihar, Avinash himself did not have the idea of the success his blog –‘mohalla’ was due to meet when he started it. Today, mohallalive.com is a well established website.

Avinash began his career with a newspaper in Patna. He then shifted his interests to television and landed a job at NDTV, where by the year 2004, he became a Senior Output Editor.

Avinash had always been involved with social networking, but in his own way. At Darbhanga, he used to run a common platform with his friends where they met at least once a week. All his friends used to bring their write-ups on an issue of their choice in these meetings. These experiences in the form of the write-ups were then photo-copied and sold for a sum of one rupee in the form of a folder magazine. But those were the good old days! His life however, was about to make a sharp turn when a tragic event completely changed the course Avinash had chalked out for himself.

To his utter shock Avinash found out that his childhood friend Poonam Mullick, who had gone to Mumbai, attracted by its glamour to try her luck in films, had been murdered by her husband and the police was not ready to register an FIR. Avinash says, “I was not able to understand what to I do, but something needed to be done, this I was sure of”.

Around this very time Avinash came to know about an e-magazine that came out in Hindi from Italy. Avinash contacted this magazine and sent Poonam’s story for printing. Not only did the story get printed, it got appreciated too. The proprietor of the magazine, Doctor Sunil Deepak told Avinash about the ‘blogs’ and soon Avinash  came out with his own one- mohalla.

Avinash brought a lot of his friends from the film and the media industry on to his platform. Ravish Kumar, Pankaj Pachauri, Ajit Anjum, Dilip Mandal, Anurag Kashyap and Manoj Vajpayee got attached with Avinash’s mohalla. But, things were not always easy for Avinash. “Some of my friends in the office were upset with my blogs. I was under pressure to shut it. My blog was blocked in my office, but this had no effect on me,” he says.  Avinash’s blog soon got converted into a website.

By 2008, Avinash had resigned from his cushy job and had completely dedicated himself to running his website. But, it was not all that easy. In fact, it was quite an uphill task. Avinash warns, “In terms of the content, howsoever strong you may be, you cannot win over the financial constraints this medium is bound to put you in.” He is however quick to point out that the situation has become a bit better in the recent past.

While emphasising on the strengths of this new medium, Avinash points out, that the latest craze on TV, Aamir Khan’s show, Satyamev Jayate gets over on at 12.30 PM and its on the YouTube at 12.35. Avinash says, the new media is continuously breaking the monopoly of the mainstream media. Now, a complete film gets released on the internet. Every single big newspaper or a magazine is available in its online form.

But Avinash also has a word of caution which he gives with a bit of a complaint. He abhors those who, in order to raise online traffic, stoop down to showing “ soft-porn”. Avinash says, while it may temporarily give a relief in terms of rise in traffic, it will do more harm in the long run.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017