A little more than three years ago, when I hosted one of the first regular Wikipedia Wikimeetups at my home in Bangalore, I didn’t expect India would be next big thing in the global Wikimedia movement. Three long years on …Lots have changed.. Lots of achievements by the Indian Wikipedians….Wikimedia India Chapter, Wikimedia Foundation’s first office in India, growing number of Indian editors and content on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Projects, first National WikiConference, Wikimeetups and academies all over India..
Then again, I never thought that I will be ever taking this painful decision.. I never thought i will (can) be ever doing it. But it is time to leave behind some of the most beautiful things in life… I am quitting my active role in the Wikimedia movement.
And this is not without any reasons…
First things first, I need to get back to my own “Real life” : Over the years, I have been struggling to manage my Wikimedia activities with the other priorities in the life.. My job suffered and I was not able to build up a meaningful career that was satisfying to both me and my bosses. My career ambitions had taken a back seat and it wasn’t flying as the way I wanted to be….. Real life Wikimedia activities were taking away a lot of my personal time, which I believe that a few other people also rightfully deserve more…. My sweet wife and my ten month old daughter certainly need a more significant share of my time. My parents, relatives and my close friends deserve more of my attention and time… It is time to regain my lost passions of reading and painting. It is time to regain my health and fitness… It is time to take control of my own life…
But then, why did I suddenly think that it is not that much worth of my time and energies here?
A gang of few individuals whom I want to name as “A-Team” (just a random name, doesn’t signify anything) have polluted the general climate of Wikimedia movement in India and made it not as enjoyable as it used to be…. These people are so strong in pushing their point of view and personal agenda; they are able to influence even many neutral (so I believed) and sensible people. The result of which is that the movement in India is seeing an unprecedented politics, which has been quite stressful (and painful) for me (and many others). We are here for a beautiful mission, passion and enjoyment, not politics. But it is difficult to be unconcerned and unaffected, when not everyone are doing it fair and neutral…Unfortunately, some of the people, genuinely passionate about the movement, are retiring and moving away … But what we see is that the people who are slow-poisoning the movement have unlimited energies and will never quit… This is because these people are at the movement for their personal benefits, power and ego-boosting only.
One of the primary targets of this A-Team is the Wikimedia Foundation India Programs (IP). Personally, I strongly believe IP can only do well for the movement in India. Not everything can be done as a volunteer, you still need dedicated and skilled staff to do and catalyst lots of activities. You must not forget that some of the most successful Wikimedia Chapters in the world have full time staff on their rolls.
You cannot fight a shadow game for so long. You cannot fight when you don’t know who you are fighting against. You cannot fight when the deals are made underground. Deals like you support me in this thing; I will support you in that thing. Anonymous mails are floated around to tarnish the personal integrity and reputation of individuals. While the A-Team is getting people to attack the IP from different fronts, they have only one goal to “prove that IP was a failure”. On one hand, they are strongly trying to prevent (by all means) the India Programs to work on anything and on another hand, they want to criticize (and make others believe) that the IP is “not doing anything”. Some of these members of this A-Team haven’t made anything successful elsewhere beyond the Wikimedia movement and this is the only place where they have “gained some reputation and respect”. I cannot think of anything other than the fear of losing this pseudo power and control as the primary reason for this hatred. They will neither do themselves good for the movement nor will they let anybody else do.
A sense of togetherness is slowly losing among the community, a feeling of working for a common goal is also fading because of this hostile environment…People are becoming larger than the movement, itself and fails to see what is good for the movement… “What is it in for me?” is the new mantra..!
The Wikimedia India Chapter is very close to my heart…I strongly believe that it should pay a more vital role in the movement in India…. But it will soon lose its relevance unless many new leaders arise to save it, people who are genuinely passionate about it. But we need quite a lot of such people … It cannot be run painfully by a few number of people , every day, day after day…. It is difficult to match the expectations of the large community with so few number of people.. I am really concerned to leave the chapter to its fate, at this critical juncture, possibly leaving it to be usurped by unscrupulous or vested interested people. But I will continue to renew my chapter membership year after year.
I know it is so easy to give up… But I have fought for the things I strongly believed in for very long and I am very very tired.
This is not just a burn-out … A leaving that is painfully taken.
A silver lining is the growth of Wiki-enthusiasts and editors, who will hopefully be the Wikimedia leaders of the future.
Nevertheless, Starting in some early 2005 as an IP editor, I did enjoy my fairly long stay here…. Also met a lot of good human beings and made great friends (will continue to be) with them.
Although here ends my active participation in the real life Wikimedia movement, I may still continue to edit Wikipedia and contribute to Wikimedia Commons as and when possible.
I wish to thank everyone who had supported and appreciated my humble work all these years. I will definitely miss all of you.
The movement is so close to my heart… I am not sure whether I will return one day. But till then, Good Bye !!
Wishing all the best for the Wikimedia Movement in India!
Cherian Tinu Abraham is a Technology Professional from Bangalore, India. He is a blogger , Social Media Enthusiast And an active Wikipedian & Wikipedia administrator.
Cherian Tinu Abraham
- Dreamer, Confused pseudo geek , Software Engineer, Highly active Wikipedian and Wikipedia Admin, Social Media Enthusiast .
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