Wikimedia India Blog

Building Knowledge Society


10 years of Telugu Wikipedia

Write-up by Rahmanuddin Shaikh, a Wikimedian from Hyderabad.

Telugu Wikipedia completed 10 years on December 10, 2013. Several training sessions, also known as Wiki Academies, were planned by the Telugu Wikipedia community to mark the occasion. One such session, the Te-Wiki Shikshana Shibir was organised at Hyderabad on December 8. It was the fifth Wiki Academy ever held in the city.

The Wiki Academy saw a turnout of around 21 people coming from various teaching backgrounds, right from a professor of Telugu from Osmania University to a teacher at a private school. Teachers, professors, student-teachers, and instructors participated in the event. It has carved the way for organising Te-Wiki Dasabdi (Telugu Wikipedia decennial celebrations) with more enthusiasm.

The Telugu teaching community has affirmed that it would make use of the Telugu Wikipedia in and out of the classroom. Many of the participants have already turned into Wikipedia editors. “A few of the difficulties the Telugu teaching fraternity faces have been solved by the Telugu Wikipedia,” said one of the participants hailing from Mysore CIIL. “I’ve been horrified by the mere touch of keyboard and mouse, this Telugu Wikipedia seems promising to deal with my Computerophobia,” said HoD, Telugu Osmania University, Prof S.V. Satyanarayana. The professor also urged the organisers to conduct one such workshop for his students in the coming days.

Event page on Telugu Wikipedia

Photos of the WikiAcademy

Cross-posted at WikipeDNA

Edited by Rohini Lakshané: rohini at wikimedia dot in

Kannada Wikipedia completes 10 years

The Kannada Wikipedia completed 10 years on November 17, 2013. An account of the anniversary celebrations held in Bangalore written by Wikimedian Pavithra H.

Banners at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Kannada Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been a key source of knowledge for everyone from a student writing her assignments to a scientist conducting research. It is the world’s fifth most accessed website. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Kannada Wikipedia has grown to accumulate around 13,000 articles and still has a long way to go in terms of building an encyclopaedia in a 2000-year old language.

Wikipedians from different parts of Karnataka had gathered at the tenth anniversary celebrations. The chief guest was the father of the modern Kannada dictionary, Nadoja Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah. Other guests included T. R. Anantharamu, a retired scientist with the Geological Survey of India, National Award-winning film director Abhaya Simha, and Dr. U. B. Pavanaja from the CIS-A2K (Centre for Internet and Society – Access To Knowledge) team.

Registration desk at the tenth anniversary of the Kannada Wikipedia

Dr. Pavanaja shared his opinions on the importance of building the Kannada Wikipedia and spoke about his stand on the upcoming areas for its development. He finds that articles are lacking in informational value, and focus should be on adding such value to them. Nadoja Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah insisted that youth engage more with the Kannada Wikipedia. He feels that the Kannada Wikipedia should grow with continued participation. T. R. Ananthramu said that as a scientist, he understands challenges in research activities such as digging out accurate information on a topic. He said he believes that domain experts need to actively participate in the Kannada Wikipedia to add the right content, which will, in turn, help everyone get correct information.

Abhay Simha whose father Ashoka Vardhana runs a book publication and grandfather, G.T. Narayan Rao was a science writer, underlined the need for timely updating and reprinting of science books. Realising the benefits of the Creative Commons licenses introduced by Omshivaprakash H.L., the Chair (Special Interest Group) of Kannada Wikipedia, Abhay has released science books written by his grandfather under a CC license. He hopes that references from the books are added to Wikipedia and the knowledge contained in them is shared with everyone.

Next was a demonstration on editing Wikipedia by Omshivaprakash followed by a session on the Creative Commons licenses by Kiran Ravi Kumar, who is an engineering student living in Mysore. The event ended with an edit-a-thon by the Wikipedians in which new articles were created. Active editors of the Kannada Wikipedia who have been contributing for years were given mementos to mark the occasion and to acknowledge their contribution. A few Wikipedians shared their experiences about the difficulties that a new Wikipedia editor faces and how to overcome them.

It was a fruitful event to help understand and realise the need for exponential growth of the Kannada Wikipedia and to make a rich and free encyclopedia for the Kannada-speaking community.

Photos of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Kannada Wikipedia from the Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA) and Flickr.

Event page on Kannada Wikipedia.

Edited by Rohini Lakshané:

Cross-posted at WikipeDNA.

Tamil Wikipedia completes 10 years

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)

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)

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.

Free access to Wikipedia on Mobiles

Aircel WP zero landing illustration

Aircel WP zero landing(illustration)

The long awaited free access to Wikipedia for India has finally arrived with WMF and Aircel announcement on Jul 25,2013. This is said to increase the free Wikipedia access worldwide to 470 million subscribers with Aircel adding 60 million mobile subscribers. In this post I would like to share more details on free Wikipedia access and steps needed for local language users.

Aircel prepaid mobile customers with smart phones can enable data services and visit Mobile Wikipedia page for English Wikipedia ( or Hindi ( or any other 18 language Wikipedias by prefixing the language code followed by dot to As smartphones have English interface as default, users can access English Wikipedia easily. In order to access other language wikipedias, it is necessary for users to check up their mobile capability to display the local language and setup free virtual keyboards for their chosen language. Android support for rendering of Hindi language started with version 4.1 (July 2012) and moved to full support in the latest version 4.3 (July 2013). Samsung offered Android phones with Indian language display support from 2.3.7 version (Feb 2011) itself. While Google also offers Hindi keyboard app(transliteration and alphabetical ordering versions), users interested in Inscript (Government standard for Indian language Physical keyboards) can try Multiling app, which supports most of the world languages including Indian languages well.

Airtel Freezone landing

Airtel Freezone landing

Airtel Freezone Hindi

Airtel Freezone Hindi

Apart from Aircel, Airtel is also offering Free Wikipedia access as part of free internet offer in partnership with Google. It was launched in June 2013, through which Airtel customers can access Google Search, Gmail, Plus services for free. They have to use the default browser to visit freezone home page, which shows Google search and also buttons to Gmail and Google+. By searching for any desired information, they would be able to see the relevant Wikipedia link in the search results. By clicking on the link, the Wikipedia page can be accessed. If the user would like to navigate either to another Wikipedia page or external link further from within page, an alert about the data charges is issued. The user has the option of continuing or reverting to the previous page. In order to visit the desired page, user can always search for it again in the Freezone again. There is a limit of 1GB per month beyond which paid access would be needed. Airtel Freezone home page is also available in several Indian languages.

Wikipedia Zero is now more than one year old and is available in 17 countries. The usage statistics are mixed with the number of page views growing rapidly in the initial months of launch and then remaining flat. It will be interesting to watch how India roll out performs and whether this will increase local language Wikipedia page views.

Cross-posted at WikipeDNA.

Where do I start editing on Kannada Wikipedia?

Many people keep asking this question on facebook, in meetups etc. I have tried to compile a quick list of pointers to start editing on Kannada Wikipedia. Hope this helps.

To start editing Wikipedia: First  create an account on Kannada Wikipedia ( This would help you to track all your modifications or contributions on Wiki.

If you’re already on wiki, then start finding information about any subject or topic of your interest. If you find that information on wiki, its well and good, see if you can improve that article. If you don’t find one, then you will be prompted to create that article.. This is the simplest way to start your editing on Kannada wikipedia.

If you have already kick started your editing on Wikipedia, you can help us (Kannada Wikipedia Community) with few of our existing projects: I shall list them for you.

  • We are also in process of starting Wiki project Karnataka 1000. This project is used to be on English Wikipedia and this time we are trying to make this as a multilingual wiki project to co-ordinate between other language Wikipedians too. This project aims to improve organisation and standardised look and feel of the articles related to the Indian state of Karnataka.- Wikipedia:WikiProject Karnataka 1000 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These are few projects through which you can kick start your editing activities around Kannada Wikipedia. If you need any help then please drop a message here or on Kannada Wikipedia Facebook Group, Kannada Wikipedia Mailing list. You can also attend our Meetups, Workshops, Or Google Hangout sessions happen atleast once in a month.