What is HimVani?

HimVani is an online grassroots journalism initiative with a mandate to give voice to concerned citizenry within the state and its diaspora on social and developmental issues concerning Himachal Pradesh. HimVani is a not-for-profit voluntary effort having its roots in the passion and love we feel for the state; not a mere thanksgiving but also a gesture to give back something to the state. It is an initiative to generate public awareness and responsiveness towards development in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.

As we are low on financial resources, we thought a website was probably the easiest and cheapest way to give shape to our ideas. All our grassroots journalists write for free. Some of us have committed our own money and time to sustain the website till now. In future we hope generate some revenue so that HimVani not only self-sustains but is able to partly or completely compensate our contributors for their expenses and efforts.

Who are the people behind HimVani?

HimVani is being run by you – its readers and contributors, all those people having a genuine interest in the development of Himachal Pradesh, people who believe that the process of development should be democratized, people who believe that each view point is essential and each voice counts. On behalf of all such citizens, a core team of capable and qualified professionals is managing day-to-day operations of this site. The services of all these people, including our contributors is on voluntary terms, though we do intend to compensate everybody contributions as soon as we have enough resources.

Can you write for HimVani?

Yes. At HimVani, we believe that everyone has something to say, every one has a point of view. Anyone who: wants to share a concern, has a folk tale or an authentic Himchali recipe to share, or wants to talk about life in his or her village/town, or has some interesting pictures that they want others to see, or wants to describe a good or bad experience, or has any other information concerning life and living in Himachal is welcome to write on HimVani. For details on how to write for HimVani, please click here.

Is HimVani a profit-oriented venture?

HimVani is a voluntary effort just for the passion and love we feel for the state; and not just a thanksgiving initiative but also a gesture to give back something to the state. It’s very difficult to motivate someone to write for you without any monetary compensation. However, we’ve writers who all are writing for free. As of now, we are putting in money from our pockets for the domain name and server rentals. However, in future we would certainly like HimVani to attract ads to self-sustain itself and a point where we can pay back some of our writers in remote villages – a compensation for the telephone calls they make and the pictures they send through the internet.

How is HimVani different from other news entities?

HimVani has strived to be a solution provider and not a grievance forum. While we’ve highlighted the grey areas, HimVani has been an effort to work at the grassroots and come up with solutions for those areas. One such effort was a suggestion to the tourism department to provide training to dhaba-wallas on the Shimla Kalka highway on basic cleanliness and Himachali cuisine. We also wanted to highlight the development work going on at the grassroots level. HimVani just doesn’t believe in reporting, but solutions as well. That’s why we love to call ourselves as a think-tank and grassroots journalists.

Hope we’ll grow from strength to strength and have many more grassroots journalists by the time we celebrate our 3rd anniversary. However, the biggest challenge would be to reach out to people in remote areas where the untapped grassroots journalists don’t have access to the internet. Also I’d like to thank many other grassroots journalists whose names I could not mention here for making the endeavour a success.

Does HimVani have an ideology or agenda?

At HimVani we have strived to provide solutions at the grassroots while highlighting the grey areas, rather than being merely a grievance forum. We must add here that HimVani does not have an ideological or an activist stance or agenda. This is in principal a democratic platform where we encourage pluralism and diversity in views. Our moderation is limited only to ensuring readability and public propriety. We seek to provide, any body, who has any thing to say, but does not have the means to say it with a platform which leads to the emergence of an informed public opinion. We believe that ultimately the truth shall triumph.

For more information on how HimVani intends to be helpful in the state’s development and what has it already contributed please visit our Get to Know HimVani page.

What is VOH’s interest in HimVani?

Much before the website, we had this itch of doing something for the state and prove our credibility to the people that we are serious about implementing our ideas. As we are low on financial resources, we thought a website was probably the easiest and cheapest way to give shape to our ideas.  What next? Is this the only way we can catalyse development. Through internet we are able to reach out to a very small segment of population across the globe. Next bright idea is to go offline. Hold on! Going offline certainly does not mean closing shop but going to the grassroots. We would want to see action on the field where we work along with people towards achieving our goals.

Like any other nation or state, government of Himachal is the largest player in the arena. It has huge resources to pursue the task of development in the form of abundant natural resources. The social indicators of the state continue to place us among the five most developed states in India. Yet our economy is in perpetual state of mess. We are heavily indebted to the central government and to the World Bank. The job opportunities are emerging but are the people in Himachal ready for them? The geographic terrain makes it impossible to reach many areas. Government schools are in abundance, but are they imparting quality education? Health services are probably the best in the country but do they match up to international standards? Do people have any share in the natural resources or is it being exploited by people from plains who have deep pockets but utter disregard to the values and culture of the hill people?

Keeping all these issues in mind we have decided to commit ourselves to become a promoter of social enterprises by augmenting resources available with the community. This is a vision statement for us and it certainly fulfils the desire of many who have wanted to associate with this initiative.

By ‘augmenting resources’ we intend to provide a plethora of services which will support entrepreneurial activity in the state focussing on use of resources already available with the community. We must emphasise that profit is not a bad word for us. We are also not engaging in charity. We are going to promote enterprises and we will be talking about business and market linkages but with a difference. Our approach to business will see that people are put before profits and the rightful owners of our natural resources should get a share in the pie.

What is the long term agenda of VOH?

In future we see ourselves playing multiple roles. At one end we will be challenging the state and at the same time we will continue to work along with the state as catalysts. We will adopt an approach to work which unlike the government will move beyond bureaucracy and is performance oriented.  We will continue to build a network organisation which partners with institutions across the globe and learns from their best practices, adapt these practices to our local conditions and implement them. We understand that issues related to development are complex and difficult to tackle. So we want to experiment with various kinds of interventions with which we can trigger a change but at the same time we have no intention to turn the wheel again.

We think that young professionals like us who can bring in fresh and innovative ideas should be supported. HimVani.com came into existence because a small group of people thought about it and then went ahead to execute the idea. From this experience, we think that each idea needs a champion, somebody who is constantly thinking about that idea, working out ways to implement them and pursue it with a lot of perseverance and passion. There are immense opportunities in Himachal in the fields of education, tourism, health, renewable energy, IT, floriculture and horticulture etc. We invite individuals or groups who are willing to pursue their ideas to join our network and be part of a growing tribe of social entrepreneurs from Himachal.

At the same time we also invite individuals and organisations who are willing to commit valuable resources to partner with us and support such initiatives.

What have HimVani and VOH achieved so far?

In this short span of time and with limited resources HimVani and VOH have contributed to many areas of social life in Himachal Pradesh. See our Get To Know HimVani page for detailed information on our achievements.

What is the HimVani management team paid?

As stated earlier, at present, all editorial services along with content and technological support is absolutely voluntary. However, for better content management, we do intend to compensate all our editors as well as contributors in future. We even intend to commission our readers to report from the grassroots.

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