Internet content in Hindi has got a fresh online appeal with blogs, articles and more courtesy Shabdanagri, says founder Amitesh Mishra, in a tete-e-tete with Rajeshwari Swaminathan
This IIT-Bombay alumnus was one of the backbenchers in his class, which was filled with genius minds from all over the country. Understandably, it took him quite a bit to just keep pace with them. However, after working for three years with a US-based credit card giant, he finally decided to follow his heart and started Shabdanagri, a unique Hindi-based translation website in 2015.
The website offers the ability to create rich content in Hindi which can be in the form of articles or question-answers. We are also working on automatic translations to facilitate conversion of online literature base of English into Hindi. Besides, it offers blogging, share and search and other multiple options but all strictly in Hindi. Moreover, one doesn?t need to learn Hindi typing to write on the website! You type the Hindi word in English and it would translate after a press of space bar into Hindi (with the help of its transliteration feature),? says Amitesh Mishra, Chief Executive of Shabdanagri.
Originally from Kanpur, the website which is co-founded by Nikhil Tiwari and Amaresh Chandra Misra is picking up steam. "Given the fact that there are over 800 million Hindi speakers in India and there are hardly any online platforms that offers user-generated content in Hindi, we felt that there is a huge gap in supply and demand. We came forward to fill this gap and provide a platform that offers the ability to write and read in Hind"
To a very obvious question on why he chose to give up a lucrative career in Canada to run a start-up, he says, "I was working for Capital One, a US-based credit card giant. I was leading their efforts to build a base in Canada. However, this was just to gain experience and I never wanted to do it for the rest of my life. My parents were a bit apprehensive at first but soon they realised that I am not going to change my mind.
They have been quite supportive since then. I still remember the early days when we were operating from one of the rooms in my paternal house. My dad constructed a new floor to facilitate the operations. Mom too helped us with early stage cash which was vital at that time." Talking about cash and investment, the 32-year-old revealed that the start-up has been supported by SIIC (SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre) of IIT-Kanpur, "We received a seed fund of Rs 25 lakh for the launch of this website from IIT Kanpur. We invested almost the same amount from our side as well. We are working on our next round of funding," he said.
With some of the prominent profiles including those of writers, poets and Hindi news reports, this web portal has a vast reach. However, looking back, Amitesh recalls, "One of the difficulties we are facings is that this is a new arena and people still consider internet to be an English-only thing. We have to create our market ourselves. It will take time but eventually people will understand the benefits and comfort of using internet in their native language. However, many of the Hindi writers, poets and reporters did not have a platform before this where they can post their ideas, reviews, articles and criticisms etc. This provided them the first opportunity to freely write their thoughts in their own languages. Naturally, they love Shabdanagari because it gives them a new identity on internet.?