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Hindi Internet Portal


October 9, 1999: This message was distributed by Papyrus News, a free e-mail distribution list on the global impact of information technology on language, literacy, and education. Feel free to forward this message to others, but please include this introductory paragraph. For information on subscribing or unsubscribing to Papyrus News see


This message was posted to Cybercom, the "Cyber Community of India." It was forwarded to me by Bob Pyke Jr <>. Hindi, by the way, is the language with either the third or the fourth largest numbers of native speakers in the world according to current estimates, trailing only Chinese, English, and, according to some estimates, Spanish. It is predicted to pass Spanish and English by 2050 to become the language with the second largest number of native speakers. (See David Graddol's _The Future of English_, published in 1997 by the British Council.)


------- Forwarded message follows -------

Date sent: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 18:46:06 +0500

From: Frederick Noronha <fred@GOA1.DOT.NET.IN>


First Hindi Internet portal launched

by Vineeta Mishra, India Abroad News Service

New Delhi, Sep 23 - Indian Internet users need no longer communicate in English. With the launch of an Internet portal in Hindi,, on Thursday, the information superhighway has been opened up for millions of people who use only Hindi as the means for communication.

Webduniya has been promoted by Suvi Information Systems, a software consulting and development company based in the western city of Indore. Apart from the usual e-mail and chat service provided by other websites, provides its users rich information on India from news and current affairs to culture arts and music, entertainment, astrology, religions, festivals and rituals.

Says Vinay Chhajlani, managing director, Suvi Information Systems, "We feel our users would be more interested in knowing more about (Congress party president) Sonia Gandhi than the U.S. vice president, or they would be more interested in knowing about Sachin's (Tendulkar's) back, so our news focusses on India and Indians in depth."

Developed by a dedicated team of 32 people comprising content editors and sub-editors, took almost a year and a half to be completed. The portal sources its news from various agencies, although company sources didn't want to name any. Says Parvinder Gujral, marketing manager of Suvi, "The news would be updated on a daily basis, but other features would be updated as and when a new development takes place in the specified area."

Elaborates Chhajlani, "While developing this portal we did have a lot of problems -- non-standardisation of the Indian characters, contents were not available in Hindi, non-compatibility of some components across different browsers, and a number of technical barriers. But it was ultimately hours of hard work and dedication which helped us develop this site." But what is it that would drive people to the site? Says Gujral, "We will pick up contents of interest to Indians, for example guiding Indians living abroad on how to do a 'puja' (Hindu prayer), etc., we will provide value-added service."

Suvi Information Systems has developed E-patra which, it claims, enables one to send e-mail messages in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam and Punjabi even if one does not have a lingual keyboard. It has also developed E-varta, which enables multi-lingual online chat.

The success of the Hindi portal has now encouraged the company to plan developing a similar service in other Indian languages. But for this Suvi is looking for franchisee arrangements. Talks are on with a Mumbai-based company to start a service in Marathi, company sources say.


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Last updated: October 11, 1999