Tulu Wikipedia Workshop cum Editathon at Udupi

Posted by U.B.Pavanaja at Oct 31, 2014 12:20 AM |
A three-day programme was held at Udupi from October 15 to 17, 2014 with an aim to increase the presence of Tulu in the online world. The first day comprised the inauguration programme and a workshop to understand the Wiki markup. The next two days were devoted to the edit-a-thon where participants added articles to Tulu Wikipedia.

The team comprised 18 girls from the Government PU College, Udupi and some other women. The event was organised by Tulu Sahitya Academy and sponsored by MGM College, Udupi and the Regional Research Centre, Udupi. Janaki Brahmavar, Chairperson of Tulu Sahitya Academy, presided over the function. She spoke about the efforts being made to add Tulu in Unicode. Jayakar Shetty, President Tulu Okkoota, expressed his happiness over the fact that it was a batch of about 20 girls who participated in the workshop cum edit-a-thon. There is a grouse that male editors far outnumber females in editing Wikipedia. This could be one instance where only female editors actively added articles to Tulu Wikipedia over three days. The programme was well covered by the print and television media. The good news is that the girls who participated in the edit-a-thon have continued adding articles. As on October 26, 2014, the total number of articles in Tulu Wikipedia has gone up to 574.

Tulu is one of the Dravidian languages spoken primarily by people from the south coast of Karnataka and north coast of Kerala[1]. As per the Census of 2001, there were 1,722,768 Tulu speakers [2]; figures of 2011 census are still not available. There are a lot of Tulu-speaking people residing outside Karnataka and Kerala in Mumbai, Goa and Gulf countries. It is estimated that the total number of Tulu-speaking people is more than 2.5 million. There has been a long-standing demand to include Tulu in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India[3], [4]. Tulu had its own script long ago, it is not in use. Currently, Tulu is written in the Kannada script. Tulu has a vast vocal tradition, and there is a huge collection of knowledge that is transferred across generations orally. Efforts are being made to document this vocal tradition. The history of Tulu literature has already been documented in Kannada. Recently, the Karnataka government introduced Tulu as an optional language for schools in Mangalore and Udupi districts. However, these students don't have many books to read apart from the prescribed textbooks. There are some Tulu books in the creative writing domain, but there is hardly any book of an encyclopaedic nature in Tulu language which the students can refer to. This is where Tulu Wikipedia becomes extremely significant.

Tulu Wikipedia has been in incubation since 2007[5]. Some editing activities in Tulu Wikipedia were carried out during 2007-08. But the initial momentum gradually subsided, and most editors stopped editing. Tulu Wikipedia thereafter went into a dormant status. During the Alvas Vishwa Nudisiri Programme at Moodabidre in December 2013, Dr BA VivekaRai, former vice-chancellor of Kannada University, who was the President of the cultural and literary meet, dwelt at length on the importance of implementing Tulu language in technology. This was followed by a talk by Dr UB Pavanaja, a member of the CIS-A2K team. He continued from where Viveka Rai left off, and talked about bringing world knowledge in Tulu, rejuvenating Tulu Wikipedia, and pressuring the state and Union governments towards including Tulu in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

Subsequently, a workshop on editing Tulu Wikipedia was held at Mangalore on January 19 this year under the leadership and initiative of Dr BA VivekaRai. This was followed by another edit-a-thon at Mangalore on April 5 and another workshop at Udupi on May 25. All these efforts have given a new impetus to Tulu Wikipedia. The number of articles in Tulu Wikipedia was 147 as in March 2014, which went up to 365 in July. The Tulu Sahitya Academy realised the importance and pitched into the effort of making it live.

[5] http://tools.wmflabs.org/meta/catanalysis/?title=Wp%2Ftcy&cat=0&wiki=incubatorwiki#overview_edits

Media Coverage