Hindi Diwas: How love for language and a Bollywood movie helped carpenter become Wikipedia editor
- The boy couldn’t read English and wondered why the online encyclopedia isn’t available in Hindi when a majority of Indians, according to him, speak the language.
A boy who had quit school in class 10 to support his family by working as a carpenter became a Wikipedia Editor, thanks to his love for Hindu and Bollywood movies. Humans of Bombay, which catalogues stories of humanity and journey of individuals, shared an inspiring story of that person on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
Hindi was the favourite subject of Raju Jangir, the carpenter-turned-Wikipedia editor who wanted to pursue a career in writing. In his own words, Jangir worked till 9pm every day and earned ₹7,000 a month to support his family but the thought of working as a carpenter for the rest of his life made him sad.
Once, Jangir watched a Bollywood movie and wanted to read about it afterwards. He took his sister-in-law’s phone and ended up finding Wikipedia. Everytime he searched for other topics or people, Google threw a Wikipedia page most of the time. But Jangir couldn’t read English and wondered why the online encyclopedia isn’t available in Hindi when a majority of Indians, according to him, speak the language.
“There wasn’t a page about my village either. That’s when I thought, ‘Mujhe likhna chahiye!’ (I should write) I wrote about my village and with every story, my reach increased to those who were more comfortable with Hindi! I also began editing Wiki pages and made them more resourceful. To see my words published online made me want to write more!” Humans of Bombay quoted Jangir as saying.
Gradually, the boy from Rajasthan started writing on different topics in Hindi, including history and cricket, that helped him educate himself. As Jangir’s monthly income increased, he used to save some amount to resume his high school education. He continued to write after passing board exams and made friends with other online editors.
“When Wikipedia learnt about my challenges back home, they provided me with my own laptop and a free internet connection! They told me, ‘Thank you for keeping Hindi alive and inspiring other Hindi writers too’,” he said, adding that Wikipedia also paid for his graduation studies.
He finally decided to quit carpentry and got a job as a writer in 2017. Jangir has now a steady income and has made at least 57,000 edits on Wikipedia.
“And now whenever I mentor writers to contribute their work in Hindi, I always say, ‘If one’s mother tongue is forgotten, one’s value will also be forgotten’,” he added.