Punjabi Wikipedia Workshop at Amritsar

Posted by Shiju Alex at Sep 30, 2012 09:35 AM |
After Ludhiana and Patiala we came to Amritsar, which we all know is home to the Golden Temple and the spiritual centre of Sikh religion, to introduce Punjabi Wikipedia. The workshop was held at the Spring Dale Senior School, Amritsar on August 17, 2012.
Punjabi Wikipedia Workshop at Amritsar

Wiki Editing session in Computer Lab

When we decided to conduct a Punjabi Wikipedia introduction workshop at Amritsar, the location was an issue. We tried to contact many institutes (mostly colleges) over phone. We couldn't get the permission. Finally, Punjabi Wikipedian G.S. Guglani directly approached the Spring Dale senior school management with the request for a space to do the Punjabi Wikipedia introduction workshop. Spring Dale is a famous English medium school in Amritsar. The school principal, Rajiv Sharma not only agreed to host the workshop but also made arrangements to bring selected students and teachers from eight other schools in Amritsar to join the workshop. Actually this was a bonus for us since we asked just a meeting place to host our workshop but not only we got the meeting place, we got assured participation from eight other schools and the permission to use the computer lab to conduct the hands-on wiki editing session.

Nearly 50 participants including students and teachers from eight different schools apart from the students and teachers of Spring Dale School attended the workshop. One of the active and long-time Punjabi Wikipedian Guglani Gurdip Singh lead the workshop with the active support from Shiju and Subhasish.


The event started with a formal opening talk in Punjabi by a student of Spring Dale. The Principal of the Spring Dale Senior School Rajiv Sharma introduced the guests to the audience and briefed the participants about the workshop. Guglani took the participants through a brief presentation (http://bit.ly/Rnki2r) and explained the history and current status of Punjabi Wikipedia.

Few participants were invited to create  user account in Punjabi Wikipedia. Guglani demonstrated Punjabi typing and basic wiki editing. There was a question-answer session where participants asked about typing, editing, referencing and many other contribution related questions.



Participants asking questions in the Question-Answer session

After a short break and students and teachers gathered in the computer lab. Booklets containing Punjabi typing scheme were distributed among the participants. Guglani, Shiju, and Subha supported them with editing various articles in Punjabi. As none of the students was exposed to Punjabi typing before they took much interest to type Punjabi. We were able to see the surprise in the eyes of the students and teachers when Narayam converted the typed  words to Gurumukhi Punjabi. However, all the present typing tools integrated to Punjabi Wikipedia have some issues. After getting inputs from users I logged some bugs to enhance it. Bug 1 (Phonetic keymap update), Bug 2 (My Best Keyboard update). Hope WMF developers will look into it.

At the end of the session email addresses were exchanged for future communication. New wikipedians were given pointers to stay in touch and ask questions when they face problems with editing.

This workshop involving school childern was really a very good experince for us. I would like to thank the Spring Dale Senior School management for the warm hospitality that they extended to us. We are touched. I could see the possibility of doing programs there.

After conducting three workshops for Punjabi (two workshops (Luhiana and Patiala) involving college students and one workshop (Amritsar) involving school children), I am sure there is bright future ahead for the Punjabi Wikipedia if community can come forward to build the community further. From the statistical report of last year we can see that it was only Guglani editing Punjabi Wikipedia. Now Guglaniji and Surinder came forward to build it and we have around 6-7 active users now. For a language with almost 3 crore speakers 7 active users is not an encouraging number. So we need to have more programs to build it further. Hope community will be able to come forward for that.

More pictures of this workshop is available at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Punjabi_Wikipedia_Workshop-17Aug2012

Note: Although the workshop was conducted prior to the grant period, the report was written in the month of September, and hence, we are featuring this.