A boy who left school in grade 10 to support his family by working as a carpenter became a Wikipedia editor, thanks to his love for Hindu and Bollywood films. Humans of Bombay, which lists stories of humanity and the journeys of individuals, shared an inspiring story about this person on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
Hindi was the favorite subject of Raju Jangir, the carpenter-turned-editor-in-chief of Wikipedia who wanted to pursue a career in writing. In his own words, Jangir worked until 9 p.m. every day and earned ??7,000 a month to support his family, but the thought of working as a carpenter for the rest of his life made him sad.
Jangir once watched a Bollywood movie and wanted to read it afterwards. He picked up his sister-in-law’s phone and eventually found Wikipedia. Whenever it searched for other topics or people, Google would launch a Wikipedia page most of the time. But Jangir couldn’t read English and wondered why the online encyclopedia is not available in Hindi when a majority of Indians, he says, speak the language.
“There was no page on my village either. It was then that I thought: “Mujhe likhna chahiye! (I should write) I wrote about my village and with each story my reach widened to those who were more comfortable with Hindi! I also started editing Wiki pages and made them smarter. Seeing my words posted online made me want to write more! The humans of Bombay have cited Jangir.
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Gradually, the boy from Rajasthan began to write on various subjects in Hindi, including history and cricket, which helped him to learn. As Jangir’s monthly income increased, he saved some money to go back to high school. He continued to write after passing jury exams and befriended other online editors.
“When Wikipedia heard about my challenges at home, they provided me with my own laptop and free internet! They said to me, ‘Thank you for keeping Hindi alive and for inspiring other Hindi writers too,’ ”he said, adding that Wikipedia also paid for his graduation studies.
He eventually decided to quit carpentry and got a writing job in 2017. Jangir now has a stable income and has made at least 57,000 edits on Wikipedia.
“And now, whenever I advise writers to contribute to their work in Hindi, I always say, ‘If its mother tongue is forgotten, its value will also be forgotten,'” he added.