*The Hindu : "Attempts on to revive Odia Wikipedia"*

*Some people who edit the Odia Wikipedia say that getting a Wikipedia in the
language is an important tool to keep the language alive. At present, an
attempt is on to revive Odia Wikipedia (or.wikipedia.org), one of the
earliest Indian language Wikipedias to be created.*
*Interestingly, the guidance to stoke the Odia Wikipedia is led by
Bangalorean Shiju Alex, who edits the Malayalam Wikipedia, while another
Bangalorean, Subhashish Panigrahi, translates and creates templates for the
*While Mr. Panigrahi has spoken about the Odia Wikipedia to 6,000 students
across six schools in Bhubaneswar, Mr. Alex, who is passionate about growing
Indian language Wikipedia and writes for the Malayalam Wikipedia, noticed
the low content in Odia Wikipedia. He scouted for Odia editors in Bangalore
and finding no response initially, he took the initiative to Orissa. On
April 3, he helped organise the second Odia Wikipedia Academy in
Bhubaneswar, to bring an awareness of the Odia Wikipedia among people.*
*The Odia Wikipedia was one of the first few Indian language Wikipedias to
be created. Although started in 2002, along with Wikipedias in Assamese,
Punjabi, Nepali, Oriya and Malayalam, prior even to the Hindi Wikipedia in
2003 July, the Odia Wikipedia never grew. It has, to date, only 700
*“We have to save Odiya. We have to take the movement online and Odiya
Wikipedia is a vital part of it,” says Sambidhan Mohanty, a Cuttack-based
businessman from a family of Odiya writers who studied in Bangalore.*
*Mr. Mohanty says he appreciates Shiju and Subhashish as they got Odia
speakers involved in Odia. “We came together because of them,” he says.*
*Mr. Mohanty says the main aim is to get people attracted to Odia Wikipedia,
to get more people to speak the language and write in it. Next is to get the
State Government's attention so that Odiya Wikipedia can be made part of
school curricula.*
*A big challenge he sees is the number of Odia dialects. Although the
language has a script, it has six dialects, including Sambalpuri (or
Kosali), Kalahandia and Berhampuri. So even within a small group of editors,
there is a difference of opinion of how a word should be written (for
example, “dharm” or “dharma”).*
*Mr. Alex says the reasons for the low interest in Odia Wikipedia might be
many including the number of people who speak the language, the number of
people with access to a computer, availability of required fonts and
*A major challenge was the inability, till now, to type in Odiya within
Wikipedia, and the large dependence upon an external tool to add content.
However, now a typing solution has been developed for Odia so that problem
has been resolved to some extent.*
*Mr. Alex says lack of a typing solution within Wikipedia was a problem that
assailed content creation across all Indian languages (using a non Latin
script) on Wikipedia. A big help has been the typing solution for Malayalam
within Wikipedia, which was developed in 2007. The solution has a base,
which can be extended to other Indian languages and was used for creating
typing solutions in Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi and Bengali WIkipedias
through 2010. Other languages are going on.*
*Srikant Kedia has introduced the Wikipedia to at least 35 people.*
*“Now, we need support from the Odia community to test the language. Now
that it has a mature community, I can move on,” says Mr. Alex, who has given
demos of edits in Odia Wikipedia in Bangalore and Bhubaneswar.*

Tinu Cherian
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