This post is authored by Christie Maria James of Digital Empowerment Foundation and was originally posted on Rising Voices under a CC-BY 3.0 license. Read more about the @AsiaLangsOnline project that is collaboratively initiated by Rising Voices, Digital Empowerment Foundation and O Foundation.
As part of a new social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online throughout Asia, every week a different language activist and advocate will be taking turns managing the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of their native languages. This campaign is a collaboration between Rising Voices, the Digital Empowerment Foundation, and the O Foundation.
Each week, the upcoming host will answer several questions about their background and will give a brief overview of their language. This Q&A is with Ramjit Tudu (@Ramjit_Tudu) who will provide a sneak preview of what he will be discussing during his week as host.
Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.
I am Ramjit Tudu, from Mayurbhanj District of Odisha, India. I am a native speaker of Santali language. Currently, I am a student. Along with my studies, I am also working for digitalizing marginalized languages like Santali, Ho among many more. Recently we have initiated a ‘Marginalized Community Council’ in collaboration with the O Foundation (OFDN), where I am co-ordinating the project.
RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?
Santali language is one of the official languages of India, this language is spoken by the Santal communities in the states of Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam in India and some of the states of Nepal and Bangladesh as well. This language has been included in educational curriculum of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Santali is also widely used on social media applications like Facebook and WhatsApp. However, there have been only few websites entirely in Santali language. Vikashpedia and Wikipedia are among few websites that carry information on Santali language and the communities.
RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account?
Since I am working towards digitization of Santali language, I would be talking about the same.
RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?
My love for my language and the fight to bring it at par with other mainstream languages is the main motivation of my digital activism for my language. Although there is a long way to go to achieve my dream, currently I am looking for availability of maximum resources, information and knowledge in electronic and digital platform in this language and I am working towards achieving this objective.