Monday, January 16, 2006

Indibloggies contest and Internet in Indian languages

My blog on Marathi Literature was selected as the best Marathi blog in a contest organized by Indibloggies. I would like to thank all the readers and bloggers for visiting my blog and their comments.

When I started this blog, there were very few Marathi blogs and I was bit skeptical about the response my blog would muster. Another challenge was trying to avoid the monotony; which was bit difficult as the blog revolved around one subject. However, the response so far has taken me by surprise. It does not necessarily reflect on the quality of the blog, but I am glad that there are over 3600 pageloads now since I started keeping the track of visitors from Sept 2005. The major reason, I guess, is the exponential rise in the number of people writing in Marathi - from the handful of them few months back; the figure now stands around 200.

It augurs well for the digital revolution in regional languages. So far, English has been the lingua franca for Indian netizens; but slowly and surely there is rising a class which prefers to communicate in their respective mothertongues. It is bit cumbersome to type in Indian languages, as the fonts and/or keypads are not uniform; but despite that many are attempting to express themselves through the language they are most comfortable with. It is too early to say that the regional languages have made their presence felt online; but the progress is certainly in the right direction. When I was in Seoul few years back while coming to San Diego, I noticed that most of the computers in the airport terminal had Korean keyboards and people used them very comfortably. While it is difficult to envisage a Tamil or a Bengali keyboard in near future; it should not be very tough to have entire OS/softwares in them. Microsoft has come up with BhashaIndia project, but I think a lot more could be done in this regard.

I need not explain how knowledge will play the most important role in the future economic development. English, though it is rightfully considered as the window to knowledge, won't open very easily for a huge section of our populace that is first-generation school-goers. What better way to combine the most effective tool of information to deliver knowledge to them in their own language?


Sudhu said...

Hearty Congratulations Nandan. Was delighted on hearing the news.
Frankly, I'm still unable to appreciate local languages on the web. Its not just against Indian languages, even Spanish, French or German. It would be like you are shutting out other communities (who do not understand that language) from reading what you have written. I get irked at that attitude at times.

Nandan said...

Thanks, Sudhu. While I do agree with you somewhat, I think the advantages outweigh this problem by far. I hope this problem of viewing pages in other languages will become much simpler once translating softwares like Google language tool evolve. If we can accept books, movies, news, TV in regional languages; then why not internet?

vb said...

hi nandan happy to know that our national languages are becoming visible atleast in the virtual world.the credit goes to people of u r breed.identity involves creation of boundaries.but these boundaries should not be allowed to exclude. they must remain permeable.the problem with english in india is that it has become a means of exclusion.

Nandan said...

Thanks for your comment, vb. I agree about the 'permeable boundaries' and as you have correctly pointed out, English in India often acts as a stoned wall to ivory tower.