Posted by sepoy on November 15, 2019 · 3 mins read

The history of this blog is also the history of blogging software. Chapati Mystery (CM) started as a hand-cranked site running on an Apache server in my university job I held as a database programmer. It next became part of Movable Type perl-revolution for serving web-blogs on one’s own hosted servers. When MT crashed as it would often do, I moved it to a php/database model that WordPress was promoting. It has been hosted on my own paid server-space (with BlueHost) since then.

In the past couple of months, I have had hackings and other malignant messes to deal with on the site, as well as with my email. The potential long-term fixes for protecting the site demanded almost 300 plus dollars/month. The cost of hosting the site itself, had ballooned to $150/yr over the decade (I think, the blog has cost me, in terms of hosting and domains, around $10,000 since 2006). All of this was an impetus for a much needed change in the blog infrastructure, to protect it from hacking and to make it sustainable for the long-term future (that is, out of a database, and into a flat file human-readable structure).

I think Chapati Mystery represents a unique archive of the conversations in Pakistan, India and the diaspora since 2004. The posts, the guest posts, the comments are all a microcosm of the many ways in which digital and political culture evolved in the first two decades of the twenty first century. I want to make available this archive to scholars to study–within the data centered approaches. Hence, I have transitioned CM to GitHub. This will allow the entire archive of CM to be available as a public repository for anyone to use, run studies on, adapt. I am excited about this opportunity. I am thankful to @elotroalex and @muziejus for giving me their expertise and time to make this happen.

This newer version of CM is a bit more streamlined. We focus our energies on two main things (with the occasional other post):

  • The XQs (Ten Questions) Series–which is concentrated on highlighting newly published first-monographs in the field of South Asian Studies (broadly). We have had 18 interviews, done by volunteers, so far and we have several in the pipeline. Please do suggest an author (our priority is to highlight women of color scholars) you’d like to interview for XQ.

  • The Round Tables Series–which is a virtual roundtable on particularly important books. We have had three RTs and have couple in the pipeline. Again, please do suggest important books for this series.

CM has always been a labor of love, and a community of learners. I want to take this opportunity to thank Salman, Daisy, Tapsi, Sonia, Afzal, and Zirwat who give this blog and the FB and Twitter sites, their time.