How Wikimedia India went bust

From mismanagement and bickering to funds misuse and unequal representation, here’s how things ended for a once-promising collective in the open knowledge movement

An assembly of nearly 1,000 people seems inconsequential in a megapolis bursting at the seams. But for the Wikimedia cognoscenti thronging the neo-Gothic, stained glass splendour of Mumbai University’s convocation hall, 18 November 2011 was at once Anno Domini and a Calling of the Disciples—the day WikiConference, India’s first-ever (and flagship) Wikimedia event kicked off. Wikimedians from across the world congregated in Mumbai to enthuse about India’s role in the open knowledge movement. One of them was the man himself: Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia and its non-profit parent, the Wikimedia Foundation, or WMF.

Just 10 months earlier, his foundation …


Roshni P. Nair

Roshni is a features writer and former editor of The Morning Context's Chaos team. Her career spans The Ken, Reuters, the Hindustan Times and DNA. She is a recipient of the UNFPA Laadli award and was shortlisted for the RedInk Awards 2016 for her story on Mumbai’s leprosy colonies. Her far-flung ideas would sometimes drive our editor-in-chief Ashish up the wall, but he wouldn’t have had it any other way (even if he didn’t admit it).