Adventures in Hindi Part 3: India Shining, Internet, and the entertainment override

Going back to the drawing board regarding my Hindi project, I decided to look at some basics. Who, exactly, were these Hindi speakers I was concerned about? Given that Hindi came in so many forms, could a single approach work for most persons? I felt the answer was yes, mainly because of the success of Bollywood and also the way Hindi words have crept into so many of the advertisements.

(This is part 3 of a four-post entry; you can see the earlier parts here: Adventures in Hindi Part 1: A mother-tongue fading behind a veil and Adventures in Hindi Part 2: The failed experiment of Have-English-can-translate-to-Hindi)

To paraphrase an old ad, Kisko Hindi Mangta?

But I was not making movies or ad jingles; I was thinking about websites. Who visited Hindi websites, and for what? What sort of websites existed, and whom did they cater to? How did one locate Hindi websites of interest?

From what I understand, when people say they know Hindi, they usually mean they speak Hindi and watch movies and all that, but do they read Hindi? Even if they can read Hindi, do they want to read Hindi, do they read articles in Hindi if they chance upon them, do they *look* actively for such articles? How many Hindi-reading people use the Internet and how do they use it?

One keeps hearing of the Internet revolution and of Indians being experts in computers—does that have any relevance at all with respect to Hindi material on the web?

The two things go hand-in-hand: having online material available on a topic and having people who look for it. If there is no material, people will not look; if there are no people looking for material, other people will not create it. How has this balance panned out for Hindi? What’s the future? (If any of you know of any papers on this, please add the information to comments below).

Anyway, this post is not a coherent collation of thought-out stuff, it is a collage of random tidbits as I thrashed around for some weeks for information and ideas and I played around with whatever I could find.

Here’s one tidbit: There’s an interesting site that contains some world-wide statistics on the Internet at www.internetworldstats.com.

And here is the link where we learn that there is no Indian language(other than English) in the top ten Internet languages (see http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm

Some interesting numbers on Internet users: China 485 million, India 100 million, USA 245 million.

And some more: percentage population penetration (% of population using Internet) is 8.4% in India as against 36.3 in China, 78.4 in Japan, 1.1 in Bangladesh, 10.9 in Pakistan, and 78.2 in USA.

We’ve got some catching up to do, India Shining…

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