Saturday, November 14, 2015

#Wikidata - #India and the #Peshwa culture

CIS announced in its newsletter a large donation of Marathi books about the Peshwa culture. It is hard to overestimate the relevance of this gift. It makes knowledge available to 73 million people. It provides sources to the history of a large part of India. This is the text:
1000 Marathi books by Marathi-language non-profit to come online on Marathi Wikisource with Open Access

As the Maharashtra Granthottejak Sanstha (MGS), a non-profit organization working for the preservation of the "Peshwa" culture in Maharashtra, and based in Pune, India, celebrated its 121st anniversary recently, the organization relicensed 1000 books for Marathi Wikisource under CC-by-SA 4.0 license so that the books could be digitized and be made available for millions of Marathi readers. Avinash Chaphekar from the organization signed a document permitting Wikimedians to digitize the books on the Wikisource. On this special occasion of the anniversary, a three-day book exhibition was organized starting October 30.

Answering our question "Could you please share with us your ideas of opening these invaluable books for Wikisource? How they are going to be useful for the online readers to learn about the Peshwas?", Mr Chaphekar says:

“These books are of historical importance and cover topics that are rarely covered well anywhere else. This information should reach to more people. Right after our Prime Minister Narendra Modi recommended to read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin as it contains a lot of messages for a common man, a lady walked to us once and asked if she can read this Marathi. Such books that were published by the Sanstha should not be kept closed as a lot many readers are searching for such books. We might not have a very great presence in the media or the Internet. How does any reader who does not know us buy a book? If these books are available online they could at least find and read them”
As I follow what is new, I often check what Wikidata has to say. What I find is often a lack of information. There is a wealth of data about minor nobility from the Netherlands. Given the major relevance of a nawab of Awadh or indeed a Peshwa, many improvements can be made to acknowledge the relevance of a major culture
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