The infamous Indo-Pak love-hate relationship may be familiar to many here at PP since it periodically manifests in form of flamewars and hottie girl talk.
Unfortunately the same jingoism is unraveling the Internet’s biggest exercise in democracy: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which anyone can edit. Wikipedia’s official policy states that in all articles a NPOV (Neutral Point of View) should be studiously maintained as far as possible.
But they clearly didn’t take Indo-Pak chauvinism into account. Visit any subcontinental history page (called South Asian history for NPOV’s sake) and you will be greeted with a sign like the one above.
Brainwashed to their respective (distorted) versions of history,
These juvenile jingoists don’t seem to realise that Wikipedia is an attempt at a serious encyclopedia not their propoganda soap box. At stake here is the credibility of South Asians and Wikipedia itself. With the ever so frequent revert wars at Indo-Pak articles, Wikipedia has become a place to read some of the most obnoxious, colourful and imaginative narratives of history.
Indians on one hand don’t grasp that a significant number of Hindus may have converted to Islam out of choice while Pakistanis cannot stomach that there might have been a darker side to their heroes like Aurangzeb hitherto untold to them. Others are irked at the fact that linguists choose to club Urdu under ‘Western Hindi Languages’.
Another bone of contention has been the persistent refusal of some Hindus to acknowledge the existance of Muslims belonging to their caste. A Rajput article for example has seen comical revert wars with Hindu Rajputs editing out all references to Muslim Rajputs and Muslims retaliating in kind. 8 months, 3 RFCs and an ArbCom hearing (a sort of Wiki disputes court) later, the vandalisms continue.
Just a cursory glance at the
To contribute and edit in co-operation with others, and develop a broader outlook and while learning to appreciate others POV has been a guiding principle of
They are fast making a name for themselves as the most quarrelsome, chauvinist editors with an axe to grind in the Wiki-world. Half of Wikipedia’s bureaucratic time is wasted in sorting out the mess created by South Asian editors.
In past few months Wikipedia has really taken off. With a low-cost offline version in the pipeline it is set to become a reference library of choice for millions. But unless South Asian editors learn to deal with each other and reduce the anarchy that prevails over most of South Asian articles, the articles may well be reduced to mere footnotes by the Wiki admins and we may lose out the chance to have a reasonable portrayal of ourselves in an internationally known reference library.
I am a self confessed Wiki-holic with 750+ edits to Wikipedia. My wikipage can be found here.
This is a guest article. Vikrant, aka Amey, blogs here.
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Filed in: Humour,India,Media,Pakistan,South Asia