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Growing Women Leadership In India : Eyes From Featured Wikimedian Of The Month Program

Wikimedians are a bunch of silent nobodies, tireless and restless in doing what they love doing. Silent nobodies who stand for their passion, silent nobodies who stand for their ethnicity. But is there equity and diversity amongst the nobodies. It’s no secret there isn’t. Endless discussions, deliberations, debates to communicate, coordinate and command do not boil down the problem of having a gender-neutral Wikimedia. There are undying efforts though to say the least, it’s a priority for most of us. Most of the nobodies, most of the affiliates, most of those who are leading the initiatives admit, accept, acknowledge and appreciate the need to articulate this as a principal priority problem.

We at Wikimedia India, have been documenting the success stories every month for these silent nobodies. The stories of those silent editors who are, lesser known to the larger Indian and global communities. Recording stories since 2011, Featured Wikimedian of the month is a storytelling exercise, where every month a Wikimedian is identified and a short story is blogged. The idea is not only to facilitate the person for efforts but to build the moving spirit and motivation for others to follow.

In this edition , Wikimedia India will  featured three Women Wikimedians.


Here is a small story on how they are doing today from the time they were made the featured Wikimedians.

Nitesh Gill during Train The Trainer 2016

Nitesh Gill : Nitesh is a Wikimedian on Punjabi Projects and she was featured last March in 2018. Either it be then, or it be today, there has been no change to Nitesh’s dedication and commitment  toward Wikimedia. She was featured last March after having completed 365 day challenge on 28th February where for each of those 365 days she had written an article on Women biography. Today, that score for Nitesh has reached more than 700 and she is still unstoppable. She has an aim to reach 1000 articles at the moment but who knows the scores may keep rising as the enthusiasm is indefinite.

Nitesh was previously pursuing her scholarship in Mphil for Punjabi literature and has now successfully attained it. She believes for equality and justice, women’s really need to know about their rights at the first place.

Ananya Mondal

Ananya Modal : Popularly known as the Butterfly Wikimedian. The passionate Ananya Modal with User Name: Atudu is a clinical nutritionist who works on Bengali Wikipedia, Bengali Wikisource, Wikidata and uploads pictures of butterfly, also snakes and other fauna and flora too. Ananya who was featured in September 2016 had then written 90 articles and had an edit count of 9,000 +. Today, she has written more than 250 articles, has an edit count of more than 38,000+. Till date , over 300 butterfly species and subspecies have been photo documented (with more than 100 images in Valued Category ) and near about 200 articles on butterfly have been contributed. The numbers are galloping any moment and let’s not miss her contributions to Wikidata and Wikisource.

Her Wiki Loves Butterfly Project which earlier had a geographical base for the state of West Bengal has now reached entire North-East India. Growth in her leadership skills has led her in hosting Wiki Loves Monuments in India 2018 and being on the International Jury for Wiki Loves Earth Photo Contest in 2018.

In some of her initiatives with West Bengal Wikimedians User Group, she has  included two female participants from Assam , made them wiki contributors and mentored them to take fore-front role and even lead different fieldwork operations and they have been given utmost importance among experienced and expert fieldworkers. As a result , those two female wikimedians are developing the necessary skill and motivation.

Pankajamala Sarangi

Pankajamala Sarangi : Ask anyone in Indian community about Pankajamala who has a User Name:Pmsarangi and they will tell you she one of the most active contributors on Odia Wikisource. Yes ! That’s correct and for that reason she was featured wikimedian in January,2016. But that’s not everything. Her passion for Wikisource hasn’t been restricted to just Odia, she also one of the most active contributor on Hindi Wikisource (which is under incubation). She is helping out today Hindi Wikimedians, training them on one-to-one basis and also participated in Hindi Conference to make them understand, Hindi needs a Wikisource. Today, Hindi has fulfilled the requirements of the Language committee and at any time they could get their domain. User:Pmsarangi is one amongst those who deserve appreciation for the same.

She dreams to have at least one women from every family as an editor on Wikimedia Projects.

Written by Abhinav Srivastava

Edited by Yohann Thomas

The World’s Largest Democracy Meets The World’s Largest Encyclopedia

Rear side of Taj mahal - The winning photogrpah of WLM 2012

One does not need to be quizzed on this, Wikipedia is unarguably the World’s Biggest Encyclopaedia both in terms of information and readership, its merits and endeavour remain unmatched. Similarly, India is also the world’s largest democracy promoting free speech, expression and voice. India’s rapid economic progression from curbing poverty to advancing towards digital literacy via technological advancements remain unparalleled. Recognising the potential amongst the two, when Wikipedia and the people of India come together something big is bound to happen, categorising, ‘bigger than the biggest’. Wikipedia’s parent organisation Wikimedia Foundation runs an annual international photographic competition, ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’ where participants upload pictures of Indian monuments its architectural heritage , ancient heritage and much more clubbed under India’s unique monumental diversity. Wikimedia India, the affiliate of Wikimedia Foundation will be hosting this program in India between (September 1st – September 30th), when you surf Wikipedia to gain information about something in September, you will find a Wiki Loves Monument in India banner at the top.

The basic concept is that people are invited to upload images of monumental objects under a free license for usage on Wikipedia. The participants images are subsequently uploaded on Wikipedia pages which not only gives their photography a global recognition but also at times convince them to contribute content on Wikipedia. That’s not all ! The journey is much longer, Wikipedia has a long list of sister projects such as Wikivoyage, Wikiversity, Wikinews etc. The pictures are subsequently used on these sisters projects as well. Next time there is some development in Ellora Caves, you may be reading about it on Wikinews with your photography attested to it. You may infact be planning to visit Ellora Caves for a vacation, your search results may be directing you to Wikivoyage, you may find your picture out there !

Home to several ancient cultures that date back to time immemorial, it should come as no surprise that India happens to be one of the biggest challenges in capturing as many historically significant sites as possible. India has a nice bend of monumental history stretching from ancient civilisations like Dholavira in Gujarat to Rakhigarhi in Haryana or Ropar in Punjab to Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Photograph of the 9 stupas at Thiksey (Leh District)

With the help of the Archeological Survey of India lists who captures all of them, Wiki Loves Monuments team would concentrate their efforts on shrines of national and international importance.The 2011 version of WLM was accredited with a Guinness World Record for the World’s largest photo contest with 168,208 images being submitted during the contest, 2012 made way for bigger records with more than 350,000 photographs of historic monuments being uploaded by more than 15,000 participants. The 2016 contest plans to carry many more records with it, all five continents would go ahead in making this contest a success.

The year 2016 has already brought success to India. In June, this summer, Wiki Loves Earth a photography competition to record India’s flora and fauna recorded an unprecedented 32,000+ images from more than 6,000 contributors across India. Stretching from Ladhak in Kashmir, Jim Corbett in Uttrakhand, Western Ghats in Maharashtra to the backwaters of Kerala. Everything was captured !

Wiki Loves Monument is another such attempt, to capture India’s heritage digitally. This time, even bigger !

Written by Abhinav Srivastava

Posted by JimCarter