Quora in Hindi too! I was happy to hear this because though I do most of my reading and writing in English, I think in Hindi. Fortunately, we have now forced the world to recognize a fair sprinkling of Hindi words and phrases and even Hinglish has gained acceptance. When I told Specky, my wife, that Quora will now have a separate section in Hindi, her immediate response was, ‘We already have a plethora of newspapers in the language. How does this help?’
‘Ah! This helps,’ I said, ‘Hindi newspapers bring in news but hardly any conversations where someone or the other is there to answer questions that have been bothering you.’ I mean, this is what Quora does, doesn’t it? You ask and someone somewhere at some point answers and you too get the opportunity to share your personal experiences and opinions when you sit down to answer queries that are anyway there on the platform.
Well, we sat down and searched for what the IRS 2017 report had to offer and found that ‘39% of Indians (12+ years) read newspapers, and 20% of all newspaper readers in 50 lakh plus population towns read newspapers online’ and were delighted to know that ‘Hindi readership stands at 17.6 crore in IRS 2017, up 45% from 12.1 crore in IRS 2014’.
Let me clarify here that Indians are already participating on Quora and even I often reach out for its pages even on my smartphone. These searches generally give me perspectives that I may not have thought of on my own. Personally, I call Quora my thought generator, but this is an entirely different story. So far as Hindi is concerned, there are people who love their copy of Dainik Jagran or Amar Ujala… and it could be Hindustan, Prabhat Khabar, Navbharat Times, Dainik Bhaskar, or even Nai Duniya. The point is that newspapers can afford to be interactive only to a certain extent and have no way of creating conversations that are endless. The truth today is that the penetration of smartphones and the internet simply means that serious queries, newsy conversations, and straight-forward heart-felt answers are what people seek – even in Hindi. By the way, an article published in Economic Times quotes an executive from Google remark: ‘While there are an estimated 500 million speakers of Hindi, there are just 100,000 Wikipedia articles. India’s Internet population is growing really fast, from 100 million users in 2011, we are now the world’s second largest Internet base with 300 million users and we are well-poised to touch 500 million base by 2017’. The same article went on to say that 21% of these online readers prefer to access Internet in Hindi in the country.
‘The truth today about online conversations,’ I told Specky, ‘is that there is no escaping Hindi. You remember I had told a few friends to adopt Hindi for their YouTube presentations? Well, they are successful and are adding subscribers faster than those who still stumble and bumble along using English.’ Well, not that there is anything inherently wrong with English, but hey there are millions of people who are comfortable only with Hindi and they need their daily dose, so to say.
‘Does one get the English version translated into Hindi?’ asked Specky.
‘Well, no,’ I said, ‘Hindi has its own exclusive platform.’ Quora, incidentally, is available in French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, and now Indonesian as well aside from English. Quora, let me tell you, has Indians giving it 33 million page views and this accounts for 17.5% of the platform’s monthly page views. I’m sure with Hindi making its way into Quora, this figure will have its own enviable growth chart.’
What you see and read in English is not there in the Hindi segment as there is no direct transliteration going on. Hindi has its own sub-section and thus its own set of unique questions and answers. If you are already having Quora on your mobile, activating Hindi is easy and you can shift from English to Hindi and vice versa whenever you wish to.
This is an encouraging move for the development and promotion of Hindi and a great opportunity for non-English people on the net to express freely. Though I’m sure they will all recognize that Quora, unlike a few other social media platforms, encourages hygiene in communication and aren’t squeamish about their BNBR policy that means: Be nice. Be respectful.
08 June 2018