West Bengal Wikimedians/Reports/Annual Activities/2023

West Bengal Wikimedians
User Group


The West Bengal Wikimedians User Group has completed its 7th year since its recognition as a Wikimedia affiliate in February 2017. Like previous years, the user group was able to continue its several multi-year programs, thanks to different grant oppoortunities from the Wikimedia Foundation and fiscal support from Kiwix. Digital conservation of nature, culture, history and heritage had been the priority of the user group since its existence and this year was again no exception. The user group continued to support the Wiki Loves Butterfly team, which has been consistent with rigorous field-trips in the deep forests of eastern and north-eastern part of India for last seven years to digitally document live species of butterflies and share them with the world for free and open knowledge. For the first time in its six years of the Wiki Exploration Program, the affiliate has aslo ventured out to its neighbouring state of Bihar to explore built heritage structures of the region. Apart from the sixth consecutive iteration of Wiki Loves Monuments photo-competition in India, the user group has also joined hands with Wikimedia Bangladesh to run a new photographic competition in the form of Wiki Loves Bangla, to enrich the digital representation of common culture and heritage of Bengal from both sides of the international border. This year, the affiliate collaborated a GLAM partnership to digitize a century old newspaper in the state of Bihar bringing thousands of pages of rich journalistic contents to Wikimedia Commons. At the end of this activity year, more than more than 42,000 files have been uploaded through direct or indirect support from different user group programs with 55% increase from last year and more than 48,000 files have been uploaded through the competitions it has organized with 20% increase than last year.
The other Kiwix guy and Christina Malouf Contomichalos for all the financial support this year!

Nature and Environment

Wiki Loves Butterfly - Phase VI

7 states
36 districts
96 field-works
4199 uploads
16 valued images
423 quality images
111 articles
690 participants
₹1540008 spent
sponsor: WMF

Wiki Loves Butterfly is a field documentation project to identify and digitally conserve live butterfly species in different parts of India, which has been running for the last seven years by a dedicated group of volunteers. This year, the team concluded the sixth phase of the project with the funding from the Wikimedia Foundation for which the final report has been accepted. In this phase, the team conducted 96 field-works in different butterfly hot-spots of Lower Subansiri and West Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh; Baksa, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Golaghat, Kamrup Rural, Karbi Anglong, Kokrajhar districts of Assam; Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya; Balasore, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh districts of Odisha; East Sikkim, Gyalshing, Mangan, Namchi districts of Sikkim; North Tripura district of Tripura and Alipurduar, Bankura, Birbhum, Hooghly, Howrah, Jhargram, Kolkata, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24 Parganas, Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Bardhaman, Purulia, South 24 Parganas and Uttar Dinajpur districts of West Bengal and uploaded around 4200 photogrpahs of different butterfly species available in these regions. It has also co-organized one national level butterfly meets at Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh in collaboration with noteworthy butterfly organizations from all over the country and the forest department of the region.

The team has organized a series of five butterfly and nature photo walks in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh during the month of September, 2023 as part of observance of Big Butterfly Month in the country. An online session named “The Power of People Citizen Science and Big Butterfly Month - India Month Data Insights” was organized during the same month with Rohit George, a Database Analyst & Project Coordinator of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment-Eastern Himalaya, as speaker and more than 50 participants.

Footprint of Wiki Loves Butterfly in sixth phase
Atudu for leading the program and the entire WLB team for their dedication, passion and hard work.

Built heritage

Wiki Loves Monuments 2022 in India

1 month
5753 images
189 participants
82 new users
₹ 88097.53 spent
sponsor: WMF

The user group organized Wiki Loves Monuments photographic competition in India for the sixth consecutive year during the entire month of September, 2023 to increase the media content of different built heritage structures located in the country. This year, we have brought a new member in the organizing team to take part in the primary sorting of submitted photographs in the national competition. We retained the same jury members from last year's competition. This year, we have gradually expanded and arranged the list of Listeria based tables according to districts and brought back Wikidocumentaries based upload feature as the site resumed its service again.

This year, 189 photographers uploaded 5,754 images in total, out of which 4% of total uploaded images are used on different Wikimedia sites till now. 43% of all the uploaders were new users. The ten winners were selected by the jury members within deadline and were sent for the international competition to compete. Like previous year, this year too, prizes were also declared for the photographer with highest number of uploads and also for the photograph of an monument located in West Bengal which gets into top 10 of the national contest. The user group designed the prizes and sent them to the winners.

Wiki Exploration Program

5 phases
13 districts
63 places
11,165 uploads
₹ 227674.54 spent
sponsor: WMF

Wiki Exploration is a program run by the user group for last six years to proactively search and document heritage sites in a cost-effective way by sending small dedicated teams in multiple phases. This year, Amitabha Gupta planned and executed 5 phases covering 5 districts of West Bengal and 8 districts of neighboring state of Bihar. A drone operator was assigned in one such phase to capture aerial videos and images of the monuments. In this year, special focus was given to document collections of different museums located in these places. Wikidata items of most of these built heritage structures have already been created and linked with relevant categories on Wikimedia Commons.

Footprint of Wiki Exploration Program this year

Wiki Explores Darjeeling - Phase I

The user group conducted its first exploration project in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts to document built heritage structures from 4th May 2023 to 15th May 2023. In this phase, we covered Sukna, Kurseong, Ghum, Alubari, Lamahatta, Lava, Takling Khasmahal, Dalingma Khasmahal, Mangpu, Takdah, and Dansong Forest along with the municipal cities of Darjeeling and Kalimpong and photo and video documented the heritage structures there. 4343 photographs and videos were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

GLAM was one of the main focus of this phase. While museums were documented in earlier phases, this time, we dedicated more time and documented ten museums located in the two districts. They are:

  1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railways Museum, Sukna
  2. Darjeeling Himalayan Railways Museum, Ghum
  3. Himalayan Tibet Museum, Darjeeling
  4. Himalayan Mountaineering Institue Museum, Darjeeling
  5. Roy Villa, Darjeeling
  6. Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre Museum, Darjeeling
  7. Rabindra Museum, Mangpu
  8. Lepcha Bong Gumpa Museum, Kalimpong
  9. Gouripur House, Kalimpong
  10. Geden Tharpa Choling Monastery Museum
Out of the above, Roy Villa and Gouripur House were under renovation and the museums were getting set up, which were documented too.

Wiki Explores South 24 Parganas - Phase I

The user group also planned to run its first ever exploration project in the district of South 24 Parganas district from 6th to 8th September, 2023. Different built heritage structures located in the villages of Sarisha, Ramnathpur, Harisankarpur,Karanjali,Falta,Maheshpur,Uttar Kamarpol and Kalagachhia, the census towns of Baharu, Sirakol, Chak Alampur and Amtala along with the municipal cities of Rajpur Sonarpur and Jaynagar Majilpur were covered. 621 photographs of these heritage structures were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Wiki Explores Birbhum - Phase II

The user group decided to explore the district of Birbhum for the second time again after 5 years of its first phase to cover another part of the district. In this phase, the villages of Itanda, Supur, Abinashpur, Ganpur, Goswami Khanda Mullikpur, Uchkaran, and Kundala along with census towns of Surul, Ilambazar, Labhpur, Mallarpur and the municipal city of Guskara were explored to document the heritage structures located there. 1275 photographs of these heritage structures were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Wiki Explores Bihar - Phase I

As the heritage structures located in West Bengal were almost covered in the last 7 years under Wiki Exploration project, it was decided to look outwards to the neighboring states of West Bengal. The user group conducted its first exploration project in the neighbouring state of Bihar from 22th September 2023 to 24th September 2023 to document built heritage structures. In this phase, several built heritage of Sasaram, Rohtas, and Daudnagar along with four semaphore towers in the villages of Gori, Karwandiya, Ratwar, and Babhani were documented. A drone operator was assigned to take aerial videos. 767 photographs and videos were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Wiki Explores Bihar - Phase II

The user group conducted its second Bihar exploration project in the Gaya, Jehanabad, Nalanda, Patna, Vaishali, and East Champaran districts to document built heritage structures from 4th October 2023 to 14th October 2023. In this phase, we covered Bodh Gaya, Kurisarai, Barabar & Nagarjuni Hills, Rajgir, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Kundalpur, Bihar Sharif, Patna, Maner Sharif, Vaishali, and Kesaria. We also video-documented all the places covered. 4223 photographs and videos were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons till now.

GLAM was one of the main focuses of this phase. Six museums from the Gaya, Nalanda and Patna districts were documented. They are:

  1. Archaeological Museum, Bodh Gaya
  2. Veerayatan Museum, Rajgir
  3. Archaeological Museum, Nalanda
  4. Kumhrar Museum, Patna
  5. Bihar Museum, Patna
  6. Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya, Patna
Amitabha Gupta for taking the lead, overall planning and execution
Sumitsurai, Argha Guha, HerpKing and Indianvagabond for execution of the project

Intangible heritage

Living Heritage of Bengal proofread-a-thon

11 months
13 participants
2468 proofread pages
₹ 0 spent
Mention about the project during Wikimania 2023 by Susannaanas (00:08:02)
A 11-months long proofread campaign was organized on Bangla Wikisource to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage as part of Wiki Loves Living Heritage campaign. 6 copyright free Bnagla books were selected on topics related to intangible cultural heritage of the region of Bengal for this purpose. 13 Wikisource contributors participated to proofread 2468 pages in total. One of the worth mentioning work is Gopichandrer Panchali which has around 2500 footnotes to explain the words used in the song.
Susannaanas for organizing Wiki Loves Living Heritage and
Nettime Sujata and Integrity2020 for their quality edits.

Wiki Loves Bangla 2024

1 month
215 participants
2118 uploads
sponsor: WMBD
The user group has joined hands with Wikimedia Bangladesh under the collaborative banner of the Bangla Wikimoitree to enrich contents about the culture, heritage, history and language of Bengal, the region where both the affiliates belong but divided by an international border. It has been decided to run a photographic competition name Wiki Loves Bangla each year with a different theme, common to both side of the border. The theme of the first iteration of the competition was decided to be Bengali cuisine which is near and dear to all Bengali people. Organizing team and jury members were carefully selected from both West Bengal and Bangladesh. The competition ran for 1 month from 15th January, 2024 to 14th February, 2024, after which winning photographs were selected by the jury members.
Tarunno, RockyMasum and Moheen from Wikimedia Bangladesh for this wonderful collaboration.


Science edit-a-thon

1 month
25 participants
85 articles
₹ 0 spent
A month long edit-a-thon was organized on Bangla Wikipedia in January, 2024 focusing articles on science related topics. A list of topics were selected to create articles about them. 35 people enrolled and 25 actually participated creating 85 new articles]. Digital certificates will be sent to the top three contributors.
খাঁ শুভেন্দু and Nettime Sujata for organizing the editathon and reviewing articles.

History and Legacy

Bengalee Association Bihar GLAM

1 Wikimedian-in-Residence
6888 pages uploaded
sponsor: WMF
In 2022, the user group successfully engaged and negotiated with a Patna based organization named Bengalee Association, Bihar which has been publishing the oldest English language weekly from Bihar named Behar Herald since 1938. With the help of a successful rapid fund application, this year user group was able to assign a person to visit the office of the organization and start digitizing the newspaper. The digitization is now almost complete and 6888 pages have been uploaded on Wikimedia Commons till now, with reports due in April, 2024. The GLAM page can be found here.
Dr. Bir for leading the project and Apurba Bir for the digitization work.

Bangladesh Liberation War proofread-a-thon

1 month
7 participants
451 proofread pages
₹ 0 spent
West Bengal Wikimedians User Group worked together with the Wikimedia Bangladesh chapter under the collaborative banner of the Bangla Wikimoitree to organize a proofread campaign on Bangladesh Liberation War during the month of December, 2023 to commemorate the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. 15 volumes of a documentary book series named Bangladesher Swadhinata Juddho: Dalilpatra (Bangladesh Liberation War: Documents) were focused for this competition to generate reference materials on the subject. 7 participants proofread 451 pages within the timeframe. This campaign was the continuation of the competition which was held in 2022 on the same subject.
Nettime Sujata and Salil Kumar Mukherjee for their edits during the campaign.

Retrieval of Samachar Darpan: 1836

430 pages
£ 232.64 spent
sponsor: WMUK
Samachar Darpan is considered as one of the first Indian language weekly newspapers published from 1812 by Baptist Missionary Society at their press in Serampore and this has high historical significance. It has been noted that the volume of this Bangla newspaper which was published in the year 1836 is available with the British Library, so it was decided to get it digitized and uploaded to Commons. Wikimedia UK was requested to pay the cost of digitization, which they kindly agreed. After the payment and digitization, the British Library sent a batch of jpg files containing the pages of the volume. The jpgs were converted to 53 pdf files for 53 issues and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The items of all these issues were created on Wikidata and index pages were created on Bengali Wikisource for users to proofread.
Daria Cybulska (WMUK) for sponsoring the digitization cost!

Community Support and Sustainability

Infrastructure support

26 books
₹52346.50 spent
sponsor: WMF
The user group purchased 26 reference books related to culture and history of the region, so that they can be utilized by volunteer editors to add references to relevant articles. Customised t-shirts for user group project leads and representatives were also printed and purchased. All the photographic and digitization equipment bought in previous years are currently in use by different project leads and are generating contents for Wikimedia.


revised bylaws
20 representatives
3 new committee members

The user group received multiple proactive mails from Affiliations Committee, which deducted that the bylaws of the user group was restrictive in nature for new users and needs to be perked aside to operate. While the user group representatives had major disagreements with such conclusions, they failed to convince the committee about the reasoning behind framing the bylaws. It was decided to approach the WMF board liaisons to AffCom to explain the frustrating situation and to see if any negotiation can be reached before the final option to de-affiliate the user group from our side and operate independently. The conversation with the liaisons were productive and it was decided to look back into the bylaws. The bylaws were then revised based on the feedback taken from members and advisors of the user group and passed during the annual general meeting on 7th January, 2024. According to the new amendments, we have;

  • secured representative membership for people of West Bengal who are native speakers of any indigenous languages of the state. Previously it was open for all Indians but as we are not a national affiliate, this part was modified,
  • reduced the edit count thresholds by 30% for representative memberships and committee. This is the maximum limit which we have agreed to compromise to maintain the quality of the decision making process;
  • given the option to either fulfil the criteria for recent online/offline contributions in the last 1 year or the criteria for overall online edit threshold for representative membership. This allows the members who do not have an overall edit threshold but still have taken lead in our offline projects, activities and administrative works in the last year, can represent the user group;
  • incorporated a clause to have quality editors as representative members whose contributions may or may not be measured by any tool;
  • added an option for a mentorship program for newcomers and members who are not eligible for representative membership, so that they can be forged as future leaders for the group;
  • clarified the scope of honorary membership, which was just implied before. We tend to invite more offline experts under this membership to advise us on regular intervals;
  • added necessary footnotes to explain the clauses for future references and conversations.
According to the new amendments, 10 new representative members joined the pool. Three new members replaced previous representative committee members, whose tenure ended this year.
Lahariyaniyathi for all possible support throughout the process
Ijon for feedback, moral support and guidance
NTymkiv (WMF) and Laurentius as WMF board of liaisons for patiently listening to us and kind support.

Supporters and Partners