Celebrating Odia Wikipedia's Ninth Anniversary

Posted by Subhashish Panigrahi at Feb 19, 2013 04:05 PM |
Odia Wikipedia saw its first edit on January 29, 2004. After a dormancy of many years it got revived in 2011. To commemorate the effort of many volunteer wikipedians, a celebratory event was organized on January 29, 2013 in Bhubaneswar. Subhashish Panigrahi participated in this event.
Celebrating Odia Wikipedia's Ninth Anniversary

A group photo of some of the active Odia wikipedians

Odia Wikipedia recently has celebrated its 9th anniversary. January 29 is considered to be that day when someone made a first edit on it. Communities from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Nalconagar joined hands to celebrate this event with a panel discussion on "Application of Odia language in e-media". The discussion was coordinated by Nilambar Rath, Director of Academy for Media Learning. The event was organized by the Odia Wiki Community with support from The Centre for Internet and Society in collaboration with Academy for Media Learning. Panelists who took part in the discussion were Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Director of "Odia Bhasa Pratisthan", Dr. Prafulla Tripathy, Odia linguist and writer, Dr. Dhanada Mishra, Academician and Director-Academics, KMBB College of Engineering, Subhashish Panigrahi, Programme Officer, Centre for Internet and Society, Jatindra Das, Senior journalist and founder, Odisha.com and Subhransu Panda, Senior journalist, Sambad. Wikipedians, students and journalists took active part in the discussion.

To celebrate the success of Odia Wikipedia, wikipedians joined the guest to cut a “Chhenapoda” and light Deepam as an integral part of the Odia culture.

The discussion began with Nilambar Rath speaking briefly about the agenda of the meeting and about the current scenario of the use of Odia language in media especially in the web. Prasanna Kumar Mohanty spoke about how the true form of the language should be taken to public via media. He also emphasized about the need to sacrifice our conventional way of approach and adopt new technologies like Wikipedia. Many such efforts are not rewarded because of the lack of support from the government even though funding is available for such development. Odia linguist Prafulla Tripathy explained about the lack of public interest to pledge for declaring Odia as a classical language even though Odia holds the 31st position among 6500 world languages. "The language of our personal lives, social interaction and verbal communication never gets documented. The confusion among various linguists is another obstacle to take Odia to a global level. If the script grammar is kept in focus and script and eventually the fonts are simplified then they would be easier to be used online", he expressed. Dr. Tripathy also shared his experience of his interaction with other Indian language experts at places where he worked such as on OCR (Optical character reading) software which could be a great tool to digitize many precious resources. He offered his support for helping with OCR in Odia. Few other aspects of simpler approaches of scripts discussed were glossary, Odia-English and English-Odia lexicon, spell check feature for typing and interactive e-learning which could boost the effort of the wikipedians.

Prof. Dhanada Mishra took the audience through the free and open source culture and Linux and future role of Odia Wikipedia to tackle the problems of primary education. He thanked the wikipedians for their noble effort and showed his interest in promoting it more in academics. Subhashish Panigrahi discussed about the role of Odia Wikipedia in documenting various resources in Odia Wikipedia. He brought various technical problems that common men face while typing, contributing to Wikipedia and how they could be handled. He also proposed a plan for bringing more language experts and museum curators to the community which would increase the spectrum of resource and capacity for the Odia Wikimedia community.

Jatindra Das, founder of the first online Odia newspaper Odisha.com discussed about the hurdles of using Odia Unicode and acceptance level in the society for it. Senior journalist Subhransu Panda discussed about the usage of various fonts and how adopting Unicode could bring a lot of information to the public.

Nilambar Rath, Director, Academy for Media Learning talked about the future efforts of Odia Wikipedia community. He elaborated how media could be used as an essential tool for taking Wikipedia to more people. Mrutyunjaya Kar, one of the very active Wikipedians closed the ceremony with a brief talk about the achievements, education program and impact of Odia Wikipedia in the recent past and community building plans.

There was a press meet in the afternoon. Wikipedians interacted with the media about future prospects of Odia Wikipedia and its current state.

Odia Wikipedians being felicitated

Odia wikipedians being felicitated by the guests
Few glimpses of the event

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