Balancing a full-time job with his studies, this 22-year-old managed to edit over 57,000 Hindi Wikipedia pages to date
As a young boy, Raju Jangid had wanted to become a cricketer. But, in order to support his family’s finances, the 22-year-old found work in a carpentry job right after completing his Class 10.
His flair for the Hindi language led him to editing pages on Hindi Wikipedia in 2015. To date, he has created about 1,890 new entries and edited close to 57,000 pages of the free online encyclopaedia.
But that’s not all: Raju’s consistent and diligent efforts led him to create 750 of his new pages and edit about 8,000 articles on his keypad mobile phone. And, while working at his carpentry job, he also managed to complete his Bachelor in Arts. He even wrote for Wikipedia’s Project SWASTHA — an initiative aimed at translating all medical content on Wikipedia into Indic languages to reach a wide-spread population.
SocialStory caught up with Raju to learn more about his grit and determination that helped him go past his struggles and make a difference.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
SocialStory [SS]: How were things for you before becoming a part of Wikipedia?
Raju Jangid [RJ]: My dream was to become a cricketer and play for the Indian cricket team. In fact, I used to mimic Dhoni quite a bit. But, after passing grade 10, and due to our poor financial condition, I had to go to Pune to take up a job in carpentry and leave my higher studies. However, I kept preparing for grade 12 on the side.
While I am not so fluent in English, I’m quite good at Hindi. So, I started editing articles on Hindi Wikipedia on January 22, 2015. Since the carpentry work takes about 10-12 hours of my day, I don’t get that much time for it.
Editing on Wikipedia does not get me any money, but I feel good that the pages that I have made come to the top in Google searches, and are available to thousands of people.
SS: When did you realise your passion for the Hindi language, and how did you find an opportunity through Wikipedia?
RJ: I have been fond of writing in Hindi ever since grade 8, and I even wrote many short stories. Gradually, I grew fond of writing and then started editing on Wikipedia in 2015.
At the time, I did not have my own mobile, but I looked up Mithun Chakraborty’s name on my brother's mobile phone, and the first article was of Wikipedia. In fact, all the actors I looked up would have a Wikipedia page. Looking at this page, I wanted to have my own Wikipedia page. Since I didn’t really know how it worked at the time, whatever I had created got deleted.
I also saw that there were very few articles on the Hindi version of Wikipedia. So, I wrote new articles for it in my spare time. However, when I started on Hindi Wikipedia, I only had a mobile with a keypad, and from that mobile, I made more than 750 new pages.
By 2015, I got a hang of how Wikipedia works and created a new account. So far, I have created 1,890 new pages and edited a total of 57,000 pages.
SS: How did you manage to make so many edits and write so many articles on your mobile phone?
RJ: I did these edits from a Samsung keypad mobile. It was not easy to type, but I liked it. I edit articles whenever I get time, or I am absolutely free. Also, I still work on a mobile phone.
SS: What are some of the major articles you have worked on? How many articles have you written in Hindi so far?
RJ: Some of the major articles are about Rohit Sharma, Article of Cricket Records, Timeline of 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India, and 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India.
When I started editing on Hindi Wikipedia, it was very difficult for me because I had absolutely no idea of the rules for writing articles and editing. It took me a lot of time to learn, but after that I slowly did it.
But yes, at that time, there was only a mobile, so I could not make a big article, but right now, I have a laptop that was gifted by the Wikimedia Foundation, so I can write as many pages as I can.
SS: Tell us more about "WikiProject Cricket."
RJ: When I started editing, there were very few pages from cricket on Hindi Wikipedia, so I started the "WikiProject Cricket" because I love writing on cricket. I have been working on this project since 2016, and have made around 700 pages so far.
SS: What kind of articles did you focus on in 2020? What was your role with Project SWASTHA?
RJ: During the pandemic, I have tried my best to keep the pages updated with the latest COVID-19 information, and created many new pages as well. I am also part of the Project SWASTHA, where I created health-related articles and improve the quality of the content on existing pages in the Hindi language.
SS: What are some of the major challenges that you faced?
RJ: If I knew English fluently, then perhaps I would have been able to contribute more to Hindi Wikipedia. Because when I translate a page or read a news article to collect data, it takes me a little time to understand. Or I’d have to translate the page with the help of Google. And, if I do not understand it at all, then I ask fellow Wikipedia editors.
Also, typing from a mobile phone was very difficult, but I had no choice. Many a time, I used to write text, but it was a problem if it was deleted automatically. For this reason, the Wikimedia Foundation gave me the laptop and internet connection in 2016.
SS: What are your plans for the future?
RJ: In the days to come, I want to open a small company of my own and give jobs to people from villages. I also want to help add more editors to Wikipedia. I am also fluent in Marwari, so I am hoping to start Wikipedia in Marwari as well.
(Disclaimer: This conversation has been translated from Hindi to English.)
Edited by Suman Singh