A brief about Tulu language
Tulu is one of the Dravidian languages spoken mainly in the south coastal districts of Karnataka state and Kasaragod district of Kerala state. There are many Tulu speaking people who have migrated outside these geographical areas and settled in places like Mumbai, Gulf countries, Bengaluru. Total number of Tulu speaking people estimated to be around 3 million. Tulu language was a full-fledged language with its own rich glossary, culture, folk literature, tradition. Tulu had its own script which is even now used in Udupi Mathas. But the usage of Tulu script declined during last two centuries as more and more Tulu speakers migrated to Kannada script. Most of the rich heritage of Tulu is still now present in oral tradition. These have to be brought into digital domain and have to be preserved.
There are quite good numbers of printed material in Tulu language like novels, poems, dramas, magazines, but hardly any encyclopaedic books. Some encyclopaedic books about the rich heritage of Tulu land, language and culture exist in Kannada language and not in Tulu language. Govt of Karnataka has recently introduced Tulu as one of the optional languages of study from 5th to 10th grades for the schools in Mangaluru and Udupi districts. Students who take up Tulu as one of the languages of study have nothing much to read apart from the prescribed textbooks as there is no encyclopaedia in Tulu language. Tulu Wikipedia can fill this vacuum very well.
Tulu Wikipedia – the beginning
Tulu Wikipedia was in incubation since 2007. During 2007-08 periods, some enthusiasts requested for Tulu Wikipedia and got it initiated. As usual with all Wikipedia projects, it was in incubation. Volunteers added some article to Tulu Wikipedia which was in incubation during those days. But their interest reduced soon and activity on Tulu Wikipedia in incubation came to almost to a standstill. Till 2014 January, the number of articles in Tulu Wikipedia remained at around 135.
Injecting new life
During the Alvas Vishwa Nudisiri program at Moodabidire, its president, Dr. B.A. Viveka Rai mentioned about Tulu Wikipedia and the need to make it live. He initiated a meeting at Mangaluru in the month of January 2014 and invited many Tulu scholars to the meeting. But he himself could not participate in that meeting. It was decided in that meeting that efforts should be made to revive Tulu Wikipedia and bring it out of incubation. Many workshops were conducted after that at Mangaluru and Udupi where many enthusiastic people participated and added articles to Tulu Wikipedia. During the world Tulu conference at Mangaluru during Dec 2014, there were some Tulu Wikipedia volunteers who put up a stall demonstrating and explaining the need of making Tulu Wikipedia live. I did a presentation on Tulu Unicode and Tulu Wikipedia. Due to all these efforts many people became editors of Tulu Wikipedia and relentlessly added articles to Tulu Wikipedia. Many meetings were also held at Mangaluru by Tulu Wikipedians to make some policy decisions, for ex., Kannada script to be used for Tulu Wikipedia.
Tulu Wikipedia becomes live
All these efforts culminated in making Tulu Wikipedia live. Tulu Wikipedia became live on Aug 6, 2016. At present Tulu Wikipedia has about 1100 articles. There are about 200 registered users (editors) for Tulu Wikipedia out of which about 100 are having more than 10 edits. On an average there are about 8-10 active editors. Dr Vishwanatha Badikana followed by Bharatesha Alasandemajalu are the highest contributors. Other prominent contributors are Lokesh Kunchadka, Dr Kishore Kumar Rai, Yashoda Kudla, Vasantha S N, Dr Benet G Amanna, etc. Tulu Sahitya Academy played a key role by supporting the workshops and editathons. Other institutes which helped by providing the labs for conducting the workshops and editathons are St Aloysius College Mangaluru, MGM College Udupi, Ramakrishna PU College Mangaluru and KTC Mangaluru.
During the Wikiconference India 2016 at Chandigarh (Aug 5-8, 2016), the keynote speaker Katherine Maher, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation, USA, announced about Tulu Wikipedia becoming live. She congratulated all the volunteers whose efforts made it possible. She specifically mentioned the names of Dr Vishwanatha Badikana and Bharatesha Alasandemajalu, who were participating in the conference.
Growth of Tulu Wikipedia in incubation
|January 2014||November 2014||August 2016|
|Editors (with 10 or more edits)||8||68||102|
Top contributors during incubation period
|BENET G AMANNNA||210|
Tulu Wikipedia URL – tcy.wikipedia.org