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Wikimedia thematic network and aspiring hub for Bengali culture and language
Bangla WikiMoitree (baŋla u͡i̯kimo͡i̯t̪ri) is an international network that deals with Bengali culture and heritage or works on thematic-linguistic coordination and collaboration between the Bengali-speaking Wikimedia community, affiliates and informal groups.
Currently, the network has two partners.
Historically known as Bengal or Bongo, the history, tradition, culture and language of the people of the present state of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal are the same, but unfortunately, they have been separated by an international border drawn by the colonial powers for almost 75 years. Yet for over a decade and a half, volunteers from Bangladesh and West Bengal have been working together to build Wikimedia projects in different languages spoken in the two regions, including Bengali. Recognized as the national language of Bangladesh and one of the official languages of various parts of India, including West Bengal, Bengali is considered as the fifth most spoken mother tongue in the world due to being the mother tongue of 300 million people. Volunteers from the Wikimedia community came together to form the Wikimedia Bangladesh Chapter and the West Bengal Wikimedians User Group in 2017 to organize their projects further. Wikimedia Bangladesh is currently the only Wikimedia chapter in South Asia. These two cross-border communities have organized various online and offline projects together at different times, including the international conference that celebrated the tenth founding anniversary of the Bangla Wikipedia in 2015. Every year at Wikimania, the two Bengali communities meet for the Bangla Wikimedia to discuss ways to work more closely together.
Why Bangla WikiMoitree?
Although in the past various formal and informal online or offline collaborative projects have been organized between Wikimedia Bangladesh and West Bengal user groups and regional communities in Bangladesh and West Bengal, it has always been felt that there needs to be a closer and holistic relationship with each other to highlight the presence of Bengali language, culture and heritage through digital medium. The discussions on the strategy of the Wikimedia movement have provided a golden opportunity to formally build cooperation in the form of the Bangla Wikimaitree. This cooperation is also keen to build an international that will contribute to the creation of new communities in the northeastern Indian states of Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, etc., and in Bengali-speaking community areas in different parts of the world, where there is no Wikimedia community or volunteer group yet. This will help build Wikimedia communities coming from languages and cultures that are historically closely related to Bengalis in minority languages and/or different regions in the majority Bengali-speaking regions.
Bangla WikiMoitree will try to work in the following areas
- To carry out collaborative programmes to enrich the Bengali language and all its dialects, cultures and traditions through digital medium.
- Create timely technology for Bangla language
- Establish close links between the Wikimedia community in Bangladesh and West Bengal
- To help build new Wikimedia communities and groups in various Bengali-speaking regions including Tripura, Assam, North East India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jharkhand and others.
- Helping expatriate Bengalis living in different parts of the world to create Wikimedia communities and groups
- Support starting communities and WikiProjects for various minority languages in majority Bengali-speaking regions such as Bangladesh, West Bengal and Tripura
- Provide support to build communities for languages that have historical connections to Bengali culture
- Provide a strong voice for all communities, affiliates and informal groups involved in this international community to raise their concerns to the global community