Pratilipi- You are what you read

In ASIA, CULTURE & SOCIETY, EXPLAINED, FEATURED, INDIA On

‘Jugaad’ is a unique word in Hindi that has no perfect translation in a lot of languages, including English. It roughly translates to a solution developed in an inexpensive and creative way. It refers to a solution that is out of the box, something similar to a budget life hack. There is no direct translation in Western languages for hundreds of words in Indian languages.

Language is merely a means of communication. Ironically, it acts as a huge communication barrier between different parts of the world. It is rightly said that nothing unites people like a common language. As soon as you hear someone speak in your mother tongue, you feel an instant connection with them. This instant connection is independent of which part of the world you are from or what your interests are. We can best express ourselves in our native languages. A lot of content is lost in translation otherwise.

India is a country known for its cultural diversity – where the number of languages is approximated at a stunning 780. Translating between these numerous languages can result in a significant loss of information. Growing up as a voracious Hindi reader, translating my thoughts from Hindi to English was a daunting task for me. A few thought processes and ideologies define each language, thereby insulating it from globalization. As a ‘jugaad’ to this problem, Ranjeet Pratap Singh co-founded Pratilipi. “Reading is the only way,” says Ranjeet. “It opens your mind and teaches you about things.”

Pratilipi is a self-publishing portal for Indian language content. It caters to a large part of the Indian population that can read and write only in their native languages. At present, it supports nine languages- Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, and English. The word ‘Pratilipi’ roughly translates to ‘copy’ or ‘duplicate’, implying that you are a reflection of what you read. You can contribute poems, books, stories, and articles in one of these languages on to the site. It is a platform for people to read without the chains of language with-holding them.

Pratilipi opens doors to opportunities for a varied audience. It meets the high demand for books in local Indian languages by providing a platform for authors to sell their books. As an author, you can receive 70% royalty for books published on this platform. If you are someone who wishes to learn, this platform allows free access to content in your native language. If you are an amateur author or poet, you can also receive feedback about your content to help you improve.

The ultimate goal of Pratilipi is to expand its reach to every Indian local language. In the future, it wishes to expand to every language in the world. As a reader and author who grew up with Hindi as my native language, I have had to restrict my literature mostly to English. Owing primarily to lack of accessibility to content in Indian local languages. Pratilipi has come as a savior to me, helping me go back to my roots.

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