Centre for Internet & Society
First Urdu Wikipedia Workshop at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

Participants from the first Urdu Wikipedia workshop (by Syed Muzamiluddin, CC-BY-SA 3.0)

During the second week of February, Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Bangalore received a call from Dr Faheemuddin, Assistant Professor, Department of Translation Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad requesting an Urdu Wikipedia Workshop in University. We were informed of special interest of Dr Zafaruddin , Head, Department of Translation studies in holding the event as any effort aimed at expanding the Urdu Wikipedia will benefit the Urdu language community across the world.

The event was covered by Taemeer News, Aalami Akhbar, and Firokhabar on March 5, 2014.

During the course of discussion and further communication, CIS agreed to hold a day-long workshop for about 20-30 students. The day-long workshop was scheduled on March 4, 2013 for 28 students.  These students came from different levels such as MA, M Phil and Ph D offered by the Department of Translation Studies. All the participating students had opened their accounts on Urdu Wikipedia prior to the event. They were well-versed in the Unicode typing for Urdu.

Prof. Mohammed Zafaruddin said during the inaugural session that the Dept. of Translation Studies wants its students to impart training for writing material for Urdu Wikipedia so that Urdu could be made compatible with the modern technology. Later, Mr. Vishnu Vardhan, Director, Access to Knowledge, addressed the students through Skype. He told that Wikipedia has become an important source of communicating information. Millions of people throughout the world are getting information through Wikipedia in 287 languages. Urdu is an important language of the world, the speakers of which are spread all over the world. In view of its importance, it is obligatory on the part of Urdu speakers to preserves their language and culture by using and contributing to Urdu Wikipedia.

The initial session of the workshop included a general introduction to Wikipedia, the encyclopaedic content it showcases and the ways in which the students can contribute. This was followed by a practical demonstration round.  For this purpose, the students witnessed the creation of the article on the famous Urdu poet and Bollywood lyricist Kaif Bhopali. It was pointed out that while the English Wikipedia already had article on the poet, Urdu Wikipedia got its version only during the current workshop. The students were later surprised to see that in the context of many Urdu poets, more content was available on Wikipedia in English than  in Urdu. In the case of some of the famous poets, even an article entry is missing in the Urdu Wikipeda while English Wikipedia has full length articles.

During the hands-on session, each of the students was given a bitly link of an Urdu Wikipedia article. The students were asked to edit the article and expand the content. The students enthusiastically participated in the event with some of them creating their own  articles. They also asked questions pertaining to an advanced level of editing such as uploading images. A student named Mohammed Asif had taken pictures of the event which he later uploaded on Wikimedia Commons (http://bitly.com/urduworkshop).

The departmental staff present on the occasion included Dr. Mohammed Khaled Mubbashir-Uz-Zafar, Associate Professor, Dr. Mohammed Junaid Zakir, Dr. Khakashan Lateef (Asst. Professors), Prof. Syed Khwaja Moinuddin and Dr. Shaik Sadi Arshad (Translator). Convener of the workshop, Dr. Faheemuddin Ahmed, proposed vote of thanks.


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