This is an interview with Vijay Hardik Josyula (Fun fact: Vijay and Hardik together make his first name). An engineering drop-out and a leukemia survivor, he is currently pursuing mass communication and blogging his way to success through his blog, The Critilizers (https://thecritilizers.com/)
W.: What made you start your blog?
Vijay Hardik Josyula: Prior to being a part of ‘The Critilizers’, I had a few personal blogs of my own. Writing for me began as an outlet to express myself. It was a phase of life that is best left behind in the past. Blogging was my solace in a lonely world.
‘The Critilizers’ is an idea borne out of a random meet with my school friends. At that point in time, this venture with my friends gave me a sense of purpose. I was looking for ways to come out of engineering and pursue a career in media. This just fell into my lap at that time. The start of ‘The Critilizers’ with my friends was the beginning of my journey to give me the freedom to follow my dreams.
Today, the blog is an important part of my life. It has grown from a space of expressing views and thoughts to a platform which helps to form opinions.
W.: Why do you want to combine a plethora of topics and combine it into one blog, instead of a blog focusing on just one topic?
Josyula: The idea for having a plethora of topics in one blog, rather than going out to carve a niche is two-fold. Firstly, it has to do with how the blog came into being and the other reason is the future road map envisioned for the blog.
We were a group of young college students discussing the world of media sitting inside a McDonalds. With varied interests and an interest in writing stories that are generally relegated to the sides of a newspaper or forgotten by broadcast, an idea germinated that we wanted to talk and write on issues that are important but do not get the importance they deserve. But we also recognized the need to balance the heavy newsy items with light-hearted elements as well. This discussion gave birth to ‘The Critilizers’. As the venture moved along, I began to add a few columns inspired by popular online portals.
The decision to have various topics on the blog was a very conscious choice on my part.
W.: In your blog, you mentioned a lot regarding India. What do you hope to achieve for India through the blog posts?
Josyula: I was always interested in history and current affairs. I felt this could be realized if I become a journalist. As I have earlier mentioned I am pursuing an undergraduate degree in mass communication which has set me on the course to achieve my dream.
Over the last couple of years, I felt the major media organizations in India have at times abandoned stories that I felt were more important than the political news that I call the ‘he said-she said’ stories. And sometimes the other side of the story was conveniently not put out due to ideological biases. Thus, I felt the need for a platform where such stories or opinions could be presented.
I have recently written a piece titled ‘India’s Overhaul of the Transportation Sector is Moving at a Snail’s Pace’. The basis for the piece was a public interest litigation filed in the Supreme Court of India on the non-implementation of a policy the Indian government laid out to transition India’s vehicles to e-vehicles. I did not see any news channel take up this issue. Neither in headlines nor on their broadcast. It lies hidden in a corner on their websites. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon it.
Note: you can read the article here: https://thecritilizers.com/2020/02/25/indias-overhaul-of-the-transportation-sector-is-moving-at-a-snails-pace/
Just before writing this down, I had a conversation with my friend who was unaware of these developments until she aired her views on my piece. For me, this blog is a way forward to ensure that news stories about India that are ignored or not pondered upon are made available for consumption to all public.
Being a sole political enthusiast in a team of four, it sometimes is difficult to put in the plethora of stories available on to the blog.
W.: How does the current state of India (pollution, recent protests over citizenship law, economic development, etc.) impact you to write your blog posts, and potentially, have an impact on changing the state of India/the world?
Josyula: My inspiration comes from the happenings around the world. It could be a two-minute Instagram video posted by the World Economic Forum or just a headline on a news application. Every post on any media platform to me is a source of information and a potential for a story.
If I come across something to which I feel an instant connect with. Sometimes it can also happen by listening to developments happening about an issue over a period of time. I believe my posts should be different from the standard news report. As that is available over multiple platforms, I try to delve into the nitty-gritty of the issue. I like the reader to have a holistic understanding of the issue than the current nugget of information.
But people do have doubts about why most of my posts are about India. Residing in India I am more acquainted to the happenings in India and understand the politics and economics behind decisions more effectively. On the world stage, the news that is more prominently featured by media organizations comes to my notice and I comment on issues which I understand.
In the process of my writing I would like my reader to have as much information as possible to make an informed decision.
W.: On the lighter side of things, you have also done movie and literature reviews. Tell us about those.
Josyula: Balance is important. Personal, professional, mental or any other sphere balance is important. While I like to write on issues that are topical that are political or have a link to policy decisions, I too like to let my hair down. I like to speak about the movie or books I enjoyed. Or the places I traveled. ‘A Columbus Like Experience’ is a tale of a humorous day out with my friends. And how we stumbled upon a good restaurant. Chronicling these events is a break from the norm and keeps things interesting.
Note: read “A Columbus Like Experience” here: https://thecritilizers.com/2019/02/21/a-columbus-like-experience/
W.: What general impact do you want to express through your blog?
Josyula: At the moment, I want to present stories that are not widely discussed but I consider important. I want to be a source of information on issues that are ignored by sections of media. And be a source of opinion that people might consider to be different. In the long term, I want to be a media organization that focuses on off-beat stories that are left untouched by the mainstream.
W.: What are your goals in the future?
Josyula: For my blog, I have quite ambitious plans. I want to convert my blog into a blogging platform in the 22 Scheduled languages as proscribed in the Indian Constitution. I also want to take out a magazine by the same name which would either be a monthly or a semi-monthly. The magazine would be kind of thematic in nature.
While that is my vision for the blog, I would like to aspire for some personal goals as well. I would like to be in a relationship. Make decent money out of the blog or get into a decent wage job. And get a few things off my bucket list.
W.: Any comments/thoughts for our readers?
Josyula: Be kind to yourself. Do not judge yourself harshly. Accept and understand yourself. It gives you a sense of peace and stability. Always believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. That person is just another one in a long list that you will prove wrong.
We thank Vijay Hardik Josyula for answering these questions and to accept this interview with us. You can visit their blog, The Critilizer, here: https://thecritilizers.com/
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