A number of Indian language Wikipedias complete 10 years in 2013 — Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Sindhi, Bhojpuri, Kashmiri and Sanskrit. The tenth anniversary celebrations of Tamil Wikipedia were held on September 28 and 29. Tamil Wikipedia has 965 contributors, 56,000 articles, and gets approximately 175,000 page views every day. Here is a brief account of the event by Sowmyan Tirumurti, Executive Manager, Wikimedia Chapter (India).
Visit to Mahabalipuram (By C. R. Selvakumar)
On September 28, Tamil Wikipedia contributors took a bus tour of the historical town of Mahabalipuram and spent a large part of the day interacting with Wikipedians they had met for the first time. Tamil Wikipedia has many expatriate contributors. Some of them had flown to Chennai to attend this event.
The first edit to Tamil Wikipedia was made 10 years ago by Mayuranathan, an architect of Sri Lankan origin and a resident of the UAE. He shared the history of Tamil Wikipedia with the participants. He was the only editor for eight months. Sundar Lakshmanan, one of the co-founders of the Wikimedia Chapter (India), was the second Tamil Wikipedia editor ever. He provided much needed technical help, which Mayuranathan had found necessary. Ravishankar Ayyakkannu who currently leads the group’s activities was the next Tamil speaker to start editing the Wikipedia.
C. R. Selvakumar, a professor based in Canada, also attended the anniversary event. He has shown a lot of enthusiasm for maintaining the integrity of the language. He has been encouraging the community to use existing Tamil words where possible, and helping them create new words where none exist. Many government organisations and universities that work on the Tamil language have replicated a large amount of the content from their dictionaries to Tamil Wiktionary. Though the use of new words potentially hinders new contributors on Wikipedia, these words have now taken root, and are used in popular Tamil magazines.
September 29 began with a workshop on editing Wikipedia. Then, a professional translator advised participants on what makes a good translation. The third presentation was on basic photography tips and instructions on contributing images to Wikipedia. Next was a session by the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) group of Chennai. They shared how they have been able to take the free knowledge movement to the public in general and to the students in particular. Some students who participated in free knowledge activities have landed good jobs based on their meritorious contribution to the movement. In the next session, many eminent leaders of the free knowledge community of Tamil Nadu shared their thoughts on the activities that can be undertaken.
Tamil Wikipedia tenth anniversary cake (By C.R. Selvakumar)
Two books in Tamil on open source software were released. One of the books is a guide on GNU/ Linux authored by Nithya Srinivasan. It is available for free downloading here under a Creative Commons license. Active Tamil Wikipedia contributors were felicitated with a certificate at the end of the event.
The Tamil Wikipedia community has a very vibrant youth brigade ready to take the movement to greater heights. Their enthusiasm and camaraderie were inspiring.
It was a challenge to capture the spirit of the event in mere words. I have only narrated the sequence of events with a brief background.
More photos on Wikimedia Commons
Edited by Rohini: rohini at wikimedia dot in
Cross-posted on WikipeDNA.