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Weaving web links

A harmless prank was behind the launch of daijiworld.com, which is today a super popular website with Mangloreans all over the world



RAPID GROWTH Walter Nanadalike: `We have 200 correspondents worldwide and uplinking centres at Dubai and Mangalore'

An April Fools Day prank resulted in a web site that links Mangloreans world, over thanks to Walter Nandalike. Walter hails from the village of Nandalike in Udipi and comes across as the last person to host a globally popular portal.

Walter, promoter of www.daijiworld.com who began his journey into the World Wide Web in 2001 with no knowledge of computers, now presides over a portal, which has over 40,000 hits every day from U.S.A., U.K., Australia, parts of the Gulf and all over India.

Walter, who had migrated to the Gulf for employment, sent his first email on April 1, 2000, to his friends saying that he was hosting a site on the Net. It was meant to be a joke for All Fools Day. Walter put himself as the butt of the joke as his friends knew him to be a computer illiterate.

His friends, however, took him seriously and enquiries started pouring in from all parts of the world. Some friends even searched for the listings on the Universal Resource Locator (URL).

The beginnings

Surprised by the levels of interest, Walter started thinking seriously about the project. The first thing he did was to understand computers thoroughly and eight months later, after much burning of midnight oil, www.daijidubai.com was launched.

"I was primarily afraid of letting my friends and relatives down. They were looking up to me (due to my e-mail on All Fools Day) to provide them a medium to look at Mangalore and get up-to-date information on Konkani culture and society. Friends were happy with daijidubai.com, but also wanted more from India as well as Mangalore. Now we have 200 correspondents world wide and uplinking centres at Dubai and Mangalore," says Walter.

Walter insists there is no commercial angle. "When daijidubai.com was launched it was supposed to host information and news only pertaining to Konkani language and society but soon the website was full of information and news from all over the world, it was a Herculean task for the editors to choose the bits to go on Net. But sooner or later, the site has to become commercially viable."

The portal is now called daijiworld.com and has spread Mangalorean and Konkan culture to the world. For Konkans, Dakshina Kannadigas and Mangaloreans who stay in U.S.A., U.K., Australia, Canada and the Gulf, daijiworld.com has become their staple source of news and information. Resident Editor of Daijiworld, Richard Lasrado, says in the last three years the Indian operations have reached 15,000 hits a day while the columns from daijiworld.com on Mangalorean cuisine, social and cultural gatherings are making it to the Net on other sites as well. For the rest of the world on the Net, Mangalore stands for daijiworld.com with even the best search engines such as Google hosting news and views from the site.

Walter, who is also looking at Internet TV and is in contact with experts in the field to work out the technical details, is well on route to becoming a baron in cyberspace.

M. RAGHURAM

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