Centre for Internet & Society

The Wikipedia India Community Consultation 2014 was organized by the Wiki Media Foundation (WMF) and Wikipedia India Chapter in collaboration with Centre for Internet Society (CIS A2K) Bangalore on The venue was Movenpick Hotel and scheduled for October 4th and 5th here.

The article was published in the Siasat Daily on October 24, 2014.

The objectives of the meet up according to the organizers are “to share views and preferences on the most effective ways to pursue our shared vision of creating and sharing free knowledge in India and in the Indian languages, and to arrive at an agreement on a road map for a future where its resources are better utilized, its volunteers are better served and progress on its mission is more steadily attained. “

I reached Bangalore on 3rd October and invited Urdu speaking people and the Urdu media from Bangalore for a general meet up. Mr. Azeez Belgaumi a renowned Urdu Poet & writer and Mr. Syed Tanveer Ahmed, as senior Journalist heading “Karnataka Muslims” News portal approached me and we had a good conversation to know more about Urdu Wikipedia. They appreciated Wikipedia and promised to extend their support to the Urdu Wikipedia.

Mr. Syed Tanveer Ahmed and Mr. Azeez Belgaumi promised to take up the initiative to conduct some Wiki workshops in collaboration with Salam foundation and CIS A2K. Mr. Vishnu the Project Director CIS has also agreed to extend his best support to organize the outreach programmes in Bengaluru and other parts of India to develop Urdu Wikipedia.

An introductory meeting was held in the evening of 3rd October in which members of WMF and the Wikipedians representing languages viz. English, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Odia, Assamese, Kannada, Konkani, Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, and Gujarati attended.

On 4th October after noon the scheduled meet up was conducted wherein WMF Senior Director Grantmaking Mrs. Anasuya Sengupta from US, Head of Wikimedia Grants & Global South Partnerships Mr. Asaf Bartov from US, Chief Financial Officer Mr. Garfiled Byrd from France and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees Mr. Petricio Lorente from Argentina Trustee Bishakha Datta participated. Mr. Gagan Sethi from Counterviews Gujarat facilitated the programme.

The Indic language bureaucrats, sysops and representatives participated actively and focused on the topic how to improve the Wikipedia in Indic languages. This session gone up to 7 p.m. and in the night too, the delegates had the get together to discuss on various issued related to Wikimedia programmes in India.

On the 5th October morning the work shop continued with dignified discussions. Various user groups from different languages took part and presented their views and successes. The discussions focused on wiki tools, various practical problems, do’s and don’ts. It’s a fabulous meet to take part, comprehend, and show the spirit of volunteerism towards Wikipedia.

During discussion on Urdu language, Mr. Asaf appreciated the contributions of Mr. Muhammad Shuaib. Mr. Nisar Ahmed Syed administrator in Telugu Wikipedia represented Urdu Wikipedia too as he is a contributor to Urdu Wikipedia. He discussed issues and stressed the need of outreach and developmental activities for Urdu Wikipedia in India. Mr. Muzammil Ahmed from Hindi and Urdu Wikipedia advocated its importance.

Ms. Anasuya and Mr. Asaf Bartov accepted the need of Urdu Wiki development programmes in India and they said they are ready to prepare a road map for the same.

Finally with the initiations of Mr. Nisar Ahmed Syed and with the kind cooperation of Mr. Asaf Bartov and Mrs. Anasuya Sengupta, an Urdu user group was set and introduced. The user group initially was gathered by backing of Mr. Asaf Bartov. The group has Mr. Syed Nisar Ahmed (Pune), Mr. Muzammil Ahmed (Hyderabad), Mr. Azeez Belgaumi (Bengaluru) and Mr. Satdeep Gil (Punjab).

The contributions of Muzammil Ahmed and Nisar Ahmed to Urdu Wikipedia were appreciated. The WMF team thanked all the Urdu users from India who rendered their best contributions.

Emphasis was laid to improve the Urdu Wikipedia India group.

As WMF intends to focus on the online encyclopedia WIKIPEDIA in the Indian languages Urdu users too expressed willingness to work for the mother tongue Urdu by enriching Urdu Wikipedia.

Mr. Nisar Ahmed said, “It is true that the awareness among the Urdu speaking community about Urdu Wikipedia is very less.” He emphasized the need to take a small step to lead to a large extent to bring awareness by means of outreach programmes, meet ups, seminars. It was accepted and appreciated to initiate outreach work among the Urdu speaking states and clusters in India.

In India about 450 newspapers and magazines are being published in Urdu language. And it is an amazing fact that many of the Urdu newspapers are using the Wikipedia as their source material from English Wikipedia as it has a large and authentic content, but they are not aware about the need to enrich Urdu Wikipedia. It should be known that everyone can edit, resource and enrich it. Hence it is decided to start a user group for Urdu Wikipedia India and to bring the same message to the masses.

“Bring Urdu Wikipedia from budding stage to a blooming stage.”Courtesy:Karnataka Muslims