Konkani Wikipedia makes headway
The first floor of the Krishnadas Central Library has been bustling with activity for the last four days. A closer look reveals the concentration, thought and precision that is put into each letter of the Devnagri script Konkani they type. Still further and you realise it’s a Wikipedia site that final year MA Konkani students of Goa University are busy with.
This article by Diana Fernandes was published in OHeraldO on August 24, 2013. Nitika Tandon is quoted.
A follow up to the Konkani Wikipedia workshop that was held earlier last month at St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa and King’s school, Margao, the Centre for Internet and Society ( CIS) in its Access to Knowledge ( A2K) initiative were back to try and bring to life a seven year incubation Konkani Wikipedia page.
The final year MA Konkani students were busy typing away at their screen as I went to pay them a visit. Nitika Tandon, Goa in- charge from the CIS- A2K team says Goan students have shown the most interest so far. Priyadarshini Tadkodkar, Head of Department at Goa University says she’s thrilled for the project as it will not only help students update and reach out to other writers but also help in popularising Goa’s mother tongue.
“ So far there was nothing in Konkani on Wikipedia. There are so many articles about Goa in English but not in Konkani. Those who do not know only to read or develop their Konkani skills can probably use this.
Also for the students it’s an opportunity for them to discuss their thoughts with other editors,” says Tadkodkar.
The last time she was in the state, Tandon says people were more inclined to hear of the English Wikipedia rather than Konkani, but sees this workshop as a definite success story.
Students were visibly interested in not only writing about Goa but to change the way people look at Goa. “ Goa is only seen as beaches, parties and cheap liquor. There is so much more. Like Goa’s unique cuisine or its famous personalities like D D Kosambi,” says Supriya.
“ People say that Konkani will die in another 20 – 25 years. I see this as an opportunity to save it,” says another student John.
Articles written by the students will be assessed by Madhavi Sardesai, editor of Jaan, a Konkani literary journal, after which students will be asked to make the corrections online.
A total of 38 students attended over the span of two days. Each session comprised eight hours of training a day. Topics discussed during the workshop included basics of Wikipedia and the status of Konkani Wikipedia as well as typing in Devnagri script, the sort of articles that are required for the site and using references other than Facebook and how to site them in the article.
“ Forty- two pages of content were generated in two days and have already been put up on the site. The students love it. Students who came in the first batch wanted to join the second one simply because they want to write. Though they don’t get credit for this workshop as part of the syllabus students are indeed interested,” says Tandon.
Though a total of 140 articles on topics ranging from Goa’s heritage, culture, traditions and famous personalities have been uploaded, she says it requires at least five contributors to add to the existing database regularly.