Former Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader, Nitish Kumar has launched the ‘Bihar on Wikipedia’ campaign, reports DNA. Kumar invited people of the state to write about their villages, towns, and the unique culture of the state, its history, development over the years, eminent personalities and other important aspects of the state. He also asked the Bihar expats to contribute to this campaign, and help in spreading a positive image of the state across the globe.

Will a new Bihar page be created on Wikipedia?

There are several Bihar-specific pages on Wikipedia, including a page dedicated to North Bihar, and pages on Bihari languages,  Bihari culture, History of Bihar, Bihari literature, Bihari cuisine, Bihari people, and Education in Bihar. It isn’t clear if, as part of the #BiharonWikipedia campaign, more information will be added to these pages, or if a new page will be created for the purpose.

JD(U) also launched a Twitter handle (@BiharJDU) to further this cause. Kumar had initially launched the #BiharonWikipedia campaign on his Facebook page (he joined Facebook in September 2013) and on Linkedin. Kumar had joined the business networking platform in a bid to connect with professionals from Bihar settled abroad, as indicated by this The Telegraph report. There is a separate BrandBihar website as well.

Bihar JDU tweet

Languages: The main Bihar page on Wikipedia can be viewed in Hindi, Bhojpuri and Urdu (which is the second official language of the state, after Hindi). The other primary native languages of the state – Magahi and Maithili – don’t find representation on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Indic language stats: In August and October, 2011 Wikipedia reported 32.95 million pageviews and 43.5 million pageviews for Indian language wikis, respectively. As per the August 2011 report, there were 0.1 million Hindi articles on Wikipedia, and these articles received the highest pageviews – 7.95 million pageviews (7.7 million non-mobile and 0.25 million mobile). At the time Urdu wikis attracted 1.54 million pageviews, and Bhojpuri wikis received 0.20 million pageviews. In October 2011, Hindi wikis once again received highest pageviews – 8.9 million pageviews (8.7 million non-mobile and 0.20 mobile). Urdu articles received 1.64 million pageviews and Bhojpuri articles attracted 0.18 million pageviews.

Data on Wikipedia Indic language pages aren’t available any longer.

Our Take

This seems like a noble effort on paper, but the back-end effort required for it to materialise on the web will be huge. Several things aren’t clear yet. Will people be allowed to send in their inputs in any language they prefer, and then a team of editors translate it for the Wikipedia page? Will all the four main languages used across Bihar find representation, or will it be restricted to English and Hindi? What about verifying data/information posted by the people?

Also Read:

An Indic language wishlist for Government – #NAMAindic