Samskrita Bharati and Sanskrit Wikipedia: The journey ahead

“Aksharam,” Samskrita Bharati Office in Bangalore.

In 1981, a movement called the “Speak Samskrit Movement” started in Bangalore. The effort quickly spread across India and evolved into the organization “Samskrita Bharati” in 1995. The movement has a number of dedicated volunteers who aim to popularize the Sanskrit language, Sanskrit culture and the Knowledge Tradition of India.[1]

Inline with these objectives, Samskrita Bharati embarked upon a mission to enrich Sanskrit Wikipedia in 2011. This project involved approximately 50 volunteers with some of them working full-time. Most of the contributors are based in Bangalore, Karnataka or Karnavati, Gujarat. As a result of tremendous effort and dedication, the team was able to substantially grow the number of articles on Sanskrit Wikipedia. With only 2,000 articles in 2011, mostly written in Hindi, the present number of articles is well over 10,000, with articles ranging from geography and history to health and society.

In terms of editing difficulties, Samskrita Bharati editors, like other Sanskrit Wikipedians, encountered difficulty in the use of modern terminology and the paucity of referenceable literature. Most of the contributors of Sanskrit Wikipedia are from the Southern region, resulting in confusion due to pronunciation differences between northern and southern regions for some Sanskrit words.

As part of the outreach efforts, Samskrita Bharati conducted introductory workshops in many educational institutions like Karnataka Samskrit University, Delhi University and Christ University, Bangalore.

Samaskrita Bharati member, Ms Shubha, who is also a proactive admin of the Sanskrit Wikipedia, finds no difficulty in managing the language community. According to her, the supportive gesture of Malayalam and Kannada Wikipedians was helpful in overcoming many technical issues.

Regarding the future efforts needed to support Sanskrit Wikipedia, Ms Shubha is of the opinion that workshops on technical aspects of Wikipedia (like Wikidata) is a necessity. In addition to this, she has specifically pointed the following suggestions:

  • Create more involvement of Sanskrit teaching fraternity in the Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects.
  • Assign online Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects for students.
  • Involve masters and doctoral students in the Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects.
  • Involve scholars in vocabulary-related support.
  • Promote organizational involvement in digitization of literature on Sanskrit Wikisource.
  • Create university involvement in projects such as Sanskrit Wikisource and Wikitionary.
  • Technical support for Sanskrit Wikimedia Projects could be readily extended by engineers who have an inclination for the language.
  • Encourage schools to create Sanskrit Wikipedia Clubs in the same manner as popular Science and Literary Clubs.
  • Support/sponsorships for good articles to encourage editors.
  • Inspire knowledgeable persons to contribute audio content in the language.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Wikipedian

I am thankful to Ms Shubha of Samskrita Bharati for the valuable information that was used in this post.

References

  1. Samskrita Bharati. The Organization. Retrieved on June 5, 2014.
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2 Comments on Samskrita Bharati and Sanskrit Wikipedia: The journey ahead

Ganesh Paudel 3 months

I appreciate the incredible contribution of Samskrit Bharati especially in the development of Sanskrit Wikipedia. Many Wikipedians from Nepal (and around the globe) contribute in Sanskrit Wikipedia although, the the articles prevailing in Samskrit Wikipedia are mostly concentrated about India issues. I think it should not be narrowed within the geographic boundaries. I Suggest to address this issue by broadening topics to write in future contribution. Shubha’s suggestions are considerable to my country as well.

Jesse 3 months

Do you have any ideas for spreading this method to other languages? This kind of effort might save languages that are on the verge of extinction around the world. It would be great if others were inspired to do just that.

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