There has been, I learn, a proposal to discontinue this forum. I am, of course, extremely disappointed.
I received an email from Jigar Mehta about it today. There was an email from John Laxmi yesterday. Pasted below is my response (edited a bit).
Jigar: thank you for your prompt email response. I appreciate it!
SAJA is a fantastic organization. Among the members are leading people in American media such as Fareed Zakaria and Sree Sreenivasan. In the recent past, SAJA has hosted such personalities as Imran Khan; it has had high quality programs on the Grammys (which naturally enough included as nominees SAJA friends Vijay Iyer and Chandrika Tandon), and it has interviewed the stars of NBC's "Outsourced". This is a small sampling of recent achievements by SAJA members. It has, therefore, been a privilege to post here on SAJA's South Asia Forum.
That said, there are also notable voids within SAJA and within South Asian Journalism. In the last two years, there has been a real void in the Indian blogosphere. As somebody who has been making blog and list posts since the beginning of blogging itself, I have noticed a distressing tendency for Indian blogs to close down, cease being operational, going khattam shuddh (*). Shutters down for any blog is bad news. Even SAJA's own blog has had a mere 4 posts in the last 60 days. There are (IIRC) no Indian or South Asian blogs nominated for the Bloggies in the past 2 years, and the IndiBloggies event has more or less shut down. Please do keep this in mind as you consider your next move.
There has been a proposal to discontinue the South Asia forum as I understand. I have been posting to the South Asia Forum with an aim of keeping things fair and balanced. Of course, not everything I say is likely to appeal to all. But so far, I have received only compliments on my work. The aim of this is to shed some light on a small subset of the major issues that face South Asia and South Asians in North America. In this effort, I have received a lot of support in the forms of analyses from leading experts in the field. It seems to me, therefore, that this is a case of censorship.
The forum has not had very many posters. That is a fact. But there has been no shortage of effort on my part to include more opinions on the forum. As part of this forum, I have brought in many opinions from outside. This includes leading researchers, scholars and thinkers. This includes Prof. Alfred Hiltebeitel of George Washington University, Prof. Francis Schussler Fiorenza of Harvard and others. To be able to comment on the issues of our times requires sufficient knowledge of a number of areas - political science, economics, psychology, religion, strategy, marketing and technology. If I have been more successful than others in networking with academics in these areas, it is because I have diligently gone through the academic literature. The work of leading thinkers in these areas continues to inform my posts here. I cite sources in my emails to them. And more than one academic has noted that I have been diligent in my study of their work and of the field. As part of my other list, I have engaged with thinkers from Amartya Sen to Noam Chomsky. Even just those two would make any list a good one. It is this sort of quality that I would like to this forum.
Please note that I cannot always name my sources unless I have permission to quote them, but you can be assured that some of the people who are being referred to here are leading thinkers in their fields. I don't have powerful friends. (You know this because as, I have posted on this forum, I have in the past been treated unfairly and did not have powerful people backing me). There is only so much "political" support I can muster. But whether you have the ability to post on a forum should *not* depend on how much political support you can support. This is about filling a real void in the South Asian blogosphere that exists today. It seems that with this proposal to move away from Saja.org/saforum, an effort to address this void is being discouraged.
I took up Mr. John Laxmi and Mr. Jigar Mehta's invitation to post on SAJA's South Asia Forum earlier this year in September. I was asked to post to this forum under the understanding that the subscribers on other fora would be asked to join this forum. This is the reason why I began posting to this forum in the first place. Based on this, I move that SAJA adopt the following resolutions :
a. Let it be resolved that we will post regular notices to the other fora to ask people to join this forum.
b. Let it be resolved that this forum will be operational for a period of at least 5 years before any decision is taken regarding it.
c. Let it be resolved that a cost-and-benefit analysis of this forum be carried out. In particular, let us assess the dollar costs to running this forum. As of now, nothing leads me to believe that the cost is more than 300 dollars a year. It requires minimal effort otherwise since this forum is hosted online.
If SAJA finds it difficult to budget this dollar amount, please let me know. I think I will be able to raise an amount greater than this with the support of my friends and associates.
Looking forward to the SAJA board adopting these resolutions.