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After almost five years of professional engagement with the South Asian language Wikimedia communities, I have decided to step down from my current role. And I will remain a Wikipedian friend of yours who you can reach out in volunteer capacity on my talk page.


I was about to complete my first wiki-versary when I joined the Wikimedia Foundation’s India Program as a Consultant for Community and Program Support. The program ran until August of 2012 and then got housed at the Centre for Internet Society’s Access to Knowledge program (CIS-A2K) [0]. Thanks to Sunil, Pranesh, Nirmita, Nishant and many others at the CIS family who embraced my team from India Program with great amount of trust. CIS became more like a family for me all these years. It will always remain my other home and alma mater - calling CIS a former employer will be quite an understatement. I feel I grew as a person along with the organization that is today a noted name for its research in openness, accessibility, privacy, IP reform, access to knowledge, and digital humanity.

Over these years I have had the most memorable time in my personal and professional life. I have traveled a lot in the country and across the world, met many friends in the Wikimedia and the open knowledge community, and had the privilege of working on many important projects both locally and globally. The South Asian language Wikimedia communities that I have worked with have not just been patient and understanding, but have been my mentor in many ways. I thank you all wholeheartedly for being such great friends and guides. And I hope that I have added some value to your community, project and the larger Wikimedia movement.

This was an incredible journey and I feel really honored to see as many as three new Wikimedia projects taking birth where I had a chance to contribute. Many of you have shared your stories in an interview series WikipediansSpeak [1] that I started during my time at CIS, and I felt so touched and connected to many people that spoke languages that I never even understood. I want to thank many Wikimedians both from the Indian and the global Wikimedia community that participated in @WeAreWikipedia [2], a rotation curation project on Twitter that I started as a voluntary project. The good news is @WeAreWikipedia has always been and will be a volunteer-led project even after I leave my professional role at CIS.

In the last few days of my work at CIS, my biggest worry was if I will be able to give much time to wrap up Project Ol Chiki [3], a project to create typeface family and input tools for the Ol Chiki script (used to write the Santali language) that I was leading. I would like to personally thank to colleagues T.Vishnuvardhan (former Programme Director of CIS-A2K) for his guidance, Pooja Saxena for designing the typeface and several other peripherals, Prof. Damayanti Besra and other friends of the Santali-language community who have reviewed the typeface, and Wikimedians Jnanaranjan Sahu and Nasim Ali who have created the input tools. A few years of my childhood was spent in a place where 30% of people spoke this aboriginal language Santali, and I cannot share how nostalgic it felt when the opportunity came to lead this project.

Once again, thanks you all the friends in the Wikimedia community, and the larger openness movement for your kind support over all these years. In the long road, this was a great milestone but there are many more to come. I hope to continue working with you in my volunteer capacity, and/or may be in my new role.

Where I am heading next?

Some of you might know this already. I am super excited that the next milestone is going to be another open source community as I am joining Mozilla’s Participation team as South Asia Community Catalyzer [4]. I am super excited for it. And I will keep seeing you all amazing people on the Wikimedia projects like before.

Do feel free to get in touch with me in my talk page at User:Psubhashish, or over email at psubhashish (at) gmail (dot) com, or at @subhapa on both Twitter and Telegram.

0. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/CIS-A2K
1. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikipediansSpeak
2. https://twitter.com/wearewikipedia

3. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Project_Ol_chiki

4. https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/introducing-our-new-south-asia-community-catalyzer/11975



Subhashish Panigrahi
Programme Officer, Access To Knowledge
Centre for Internet and Society
@subhapa / https://cis-india.org