Educator, Wikimedian and free knowledge evangelist. At Centre for Internet and Society's Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K)
Subhashish Panigrahi is an India-based educator, author, blogger, Wikimedian, language activist and free knowledge evangelist. Earlier with Wikimedia Foundation's India Program and currently at the Centre for Internet and Society's Access To Knowledge program. Builds partnership with universities, language research and GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive and Museums) organizations for bringing more scholarly and encyclopedic content under free licenses, designs outreach programs for South Asian language Wikipedia/Wikimedia projects and communities. Wears many other hats; Editor for Global Voices Odia, Community Moderator of Opensource.com, and Ambassador for India in OpenGLAM Local. Author of "Rising Voices: Indigenous language Digital Activism" in Digital Activism in Asia Reader. Follow Subhashish at @subhapa on Twitter.
Most people do not know that Wikipedia exists in many Indian languages. I personally did not know about the Odia Wikipedia until 2011 when a friend told me about its existence. Back then the project was completely inactive. And then a couple of friends and I started contributing, and the project grew to become the most-visited Odia language site on the internet. Other languages, I believe, could follow a similar trajectory on Wikipedia, but there are several challenges.
Though it is difficult to measure the exact percentage of growth of online Odia-language content on the internet, there's been a significant change in the past six months. Almost all the federal entities that were stuck with two non-Unicode encoding systems finally moved to Unicode, with official portal odia.odisha.gov.in including adoption of Unicode in their core policy.
On 15 January, Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia celebrated its 15th birthday, meeting this milestone with 36 million articles in more than 290 languages (the English-language Wikipedia alone has crossed the 5-million article mark). But here I want address some major questions that we need to ask as Indians. First, what is the state of Indian-language Wikipedia projects? What does India have to take from and give to Wikipedia?