“We contribute to the effort so that our language could be kept alive in the digital world. We are not paid for this work; it is our labour of love for our mother tongue,” says one of the contributors.
Syed Ali Mujtaba l Clarion India
Creation of Kashmiri language Wikipedia has become a passion for five Kashmiri youths – Iflaq, Iman Qazi, Tajamul, Rishabhat and Hugled. They are making a huge effort to create Kashmiri Wikipedia so that the vast literature available in the Kashmiri language could be converted into digital format.
The Kashmiri language Wikipedia would be an online encyclopedia project written and maintained by the Kashmiri volunteers. It is an open-source on the web along with the Wiki-based editing system.
“Even though this work started some time ago, it could not take off due to lack of information and also due to lack of passionate volunteers. Now that some Kashmiri youths have volunteered to take up the project, this work on it has gained momentum since 2021,” says Iflaq, a Radiology student from Srinagar.
Iflaq is a regular contributor to the Kashmiri Language Wikipedia. He further said, “We are faced with myriad problems like how to bridge the gaps between the Kashmiri language and the digital platform. Suppose if you search for a Kashmiri word, the search engines won’t throw any meaningful results. This is because there is a dearth of Kashmiri language content on the web. The purpose of the Kashmiri language Wikipedia itself is to fill this gap.”
Most of the volunteers of Kashmiri Wikipedia, he informed are no language experts, but their love for their mother tongue is driving them to take up the task. They keep on creating new pages and checking the dictionaries for spellings so that the pages remain error-free, he said.
Tajamul, another Wikipedia contributor, says, “We contribute to the Kashmiri Wikipedia so that our language could be kept alive in the digital world. We are not paid for this work; it is our labour of love for our mother tongue.”
Pointing out there are several Kashmiri language organisations in the state that can do this work in a much better way than us, Tajamul lamented that they are seem to be in deep slumber. When volunteers contact them, they discourage us and undermine our efforts leave alone helping us in our venture.
There are only five volunteers who are honestly contributing to this project. This is too small a number while comparing to the enormity of the task at hand.
The contributors have made an appeal to Kashmiri-speaking people all over the world to come forward and voluntarily help them with this project. ‘We want more volunteers to create posts so that Kashmiri language Wikipedia could be enriched. If we get more participation, our language will be kept alive,’ reads the appeal.
Anyone interested in joining in this project, can sign up and create an article about the subject he/she is interested in. Kashmiri Wikipedia can be accessed at https://ks.wikipedia.org
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected]