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Submissions/Revival of the Hindustani Language and the Role of Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

This is an open submission for Wikimania 2011.

Review no.


Title of the submission
Revival of the Hindustani Language and the Role of Wikipedia
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)

Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Independent Wiki Projects Contributor.
Personal homepage or blog
http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Hindustanilanguage - This is the Wikimania User Page providing some insight about me and my intellectual pursuits.
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia has emerged as a universally accessible compendium for netizens on a wide range of subjects in many languages. The languages include English, German and French which are in wide concurrence in more than one country; Latvian and Czech which are mostly used within specified national borders; Telugu and Malayalam which are subcultures within more prevalent linguistic cultures of a country (India) as well as constructed languages such as Esperanto and Ido which are used by some people with a specific purpose. Sequential to these, Wikipedia has also approved Fijian Hindi or Fijian Hindustani – a language that is an offshoot of Hindi, its various dialects as well as the native linguistic culture of Fiji.

As a further continuation to this multilingual diversity expansion that encompasses the treasure trove of Wikipedia, I propose to provide insight into Hindustani – a language that existed and was widely recognized as a synonym for Urdu and Hindi collectively.

A sad aspect of the division of British India is that Hindi is today viewed more as the national language of India and Urdu as its Pakistani counterpart. The result of the evolution of this demarcation of the two languages in the words of an eminent Indian writer is that today the Indians have made Hindi more Sanskritized and Pakistanis Urdu more Persianized, with the result that it is difficult for a common man to comprehend either Hindi or Urdu, especially the Radio and TV broadcasts. Even in the spade of many politically motivated reforms, the lingua franca of the man on the street in India and Pakistan, especially those who are not educated or semi-educated has remained reasonably unaltered since the Post-independence era. A living example of this is Bollywood or the Hindi film industry which is immensely popular in Pakistan. Similarly, Pakistani singers such as Atif Aslam and late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan have an enormous following among the Indian masses. Thus, it can be fairly concluded that though Hindi and Urdu are viewed as two distinct languages, they remain mutually intelligible just as Afrikaans and Dutch, or perhaps even to a further degree. Wikipedia can thus start publishing pages which highlight the rich content of both Hindi, Urdu as well as the various offshoot dialects with a view to assess the comprehensibility of the laymen with regard to literary genres such as:

  • Bhakthi/Hindu literature (Bhajans, dohas, etc pertinent to Hinduism).
  • Moslem Literature.
  • Brief Overview of other Religious Literature.
  • Contemporary Poetry in both Hindi and Urdu (common language and NOT the highly Sanskritized / Persianized ones).
  • Humour (Haasya / Mizaah)
  • Articles (Nibandh / Mazmoon)
  • Novels.
  • Drama.
  • Biographies including autobiographies.
  • Research Documents/ reports/ dissertations/ theses, etc.
  • Books and Periodicals.

I propose that Wikipedia should recognize Hindustani as a distinct language with the parameter that it shall neither be too Sanskritic nor too Persianized – rather the simple Hindi or Urdu spoken by the people in South Asia and the Indian diaspora overseas. It is worth referring to the criteria of “Simple English” on Wikipedia. I also propose that for the representation of Hindustani on Wikipedia, the people should have the liberty of using any of the three scripts – Devanagri, Persian or Latin similar to Kashmiri, which is represented on Wikipedia in both Devanagri and Persian scripts.

A good initiative by some Wikipedians towards this end is a project to improve the organization and quality of the articles related to the Hindustani language and all allied languages/dialects. However, the scope of this project is supposed to be “fundamentally defined as all articles and sections relating to Uttar Pradesh. Almost all of these will be (eventually) categorised under Category:Uttar Pradesh and Category:India”. I propose that the scope needs to expanded - not just to include Uttar Pradesh but entire India and Pakistan as well as Hindustani speakers across the world.

Update on May 26,2011: A related project by the author linking Urdu and Turkish entitled "TURKIC LANGUAGES AND LEXICAL SIMILARITIES OF TURKISH AND URDU - An Etymological Approach" is now available on a number of websites: South Asia Analysis Group website, Journal of Turkish Weekly website, Uighur Language cultural website,'Politikcity' - a website hosted by Germany-based Turkish speakers, Indialogue Foundation website and some of the blogs posted on Blogspot.com besides several other websites. It has also been referenced in a book marketed by Amazon.com
Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

People and Community as well as Knowledge and Collaboration (Wikipedia vis-à-vis people from South Asia and their overseas diaspora / Cultural Heritage of India and Pakistan / Linguistics).

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  1. Slashme 08:30, 24 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  2. jashn2010 09:03, 24 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Arjunaraoc 16:28, 28 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Gomà 20:53, 31 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Jewbask 03:27, 24 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  6. DrorK 05:02, 3 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Charles Jeffrey Danoff 15:39, 11 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  8. CasteloBrancomsg 04:08, 19 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  9. micrib 15:50, 24 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Tinucherian 23:49, 26 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Georgiasouthernlynn 18:05, 31 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Marcus Cyron 15:33, 19 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Millosh 14:25, 20 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Vibhijain 13:07, 4 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Blahma 09:18, 23 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  16. ~ Seb35 [^_^] 18:06, 5 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Amir E. Aharoni