6 episodes

People are knowledge, and their voices speak of wisdom.
Through OFDN Conversations, we are listening about the tenacity of communities to make language, media, and technology work for them, from one inspiring individual at a time.

O Foundation Conversations O Foundation

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

People are knowledge, and their voices speak of wisdom.
Through OFDN Conversations, we are listening about the tenacity of communities to make language, media, and technology work for them, from one inspiring individual at a time.

    Our Majority World — Shahidul Alam

    Our Majority World — Shahidul Alam

    This episode features a conversation with noted Bangladeshi photojournalist, activist and writer Shahidul Alam. Recorded and edited by Subhashish Panigrahi during the National Geographic Storytellers Summit 2023 in Washington, D.C. in January and published in March 2023, highlighting Alam’s journey as a photojournalist who documented the post-liberation political landscape of Bangladesh in the 1980s. He later became a social justice activist. His contribution to a larger movement would eventually end the nine-year dictatorship of General Hussain Muhammad Ershad. He spent the following decades building spaces for independent journalism and media, and activism to hold the polity accountable. An abridged version of the interview was published online on Global Voices by the author. The full interview was published here as the sixth episode of OFDN Conversations, a conversation series hosted at the O Foundation.


    • 23 min
    Lesser-known Languages of North Pakistan

    Lesser-known Languages of North Pakistan

    This episode of "O Foundation Conversations" is an intimate conversation with Zubair Torwali who is a prominent language-activist from North Pakistan. Mr. Torwali has been working for the last 15 years for the protection and growth of his own language Torwali and 30 other languages of his region.

    Did you know that 9th of August is the “International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples”? It marks the inaugural session by the United Nations “Working Group on Indigenous  Populations” that has been working for protecting the indigenous rights since 1982. As social, political and environmental changes often put indigenous communities under risk, this day, of many things, is also a reminder for everyone to protect the rights of indigenous communities. And access to information in one’s own language is a fundamental human right too. Mr. Torwali and his organization "idara baraye taleem-o-taraqi" (Institute for Education and Development) have been working closely with the communities of northern Pakistan for the preservation and documentation of their respective languages and cultures, and for also creating digital resources for the growth of these languages.

    In this episode, Mr. Torwali shares some key recommendations that other language activists can use in their work,  and his words of hope affirming that communities sharing languages across borders will continue to work together.




    Torwali, Zubair. "Countering the challenges of globalization faced by endangered languages of North Pakistan". Language Documentation and Description,  vol 17. (Ed. Peter K. Austin). URL: www.elpublishing.org/docs/1/17/ldd17_03.pdf (Accessed 8 August 2020)

    Torwali, Zubair. Short documentary on IBT work on Torwali language and culture. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcxhDZO7TUo&t=23s (Accessed 8 August 2020)

    Torwali, Zubair. “|Qismat Si Qissa| قسمت سی قصّہ | Torwali Folktale | The Luck| Animated by #IBT”. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1O8Xv09MgE&t=36s (Accessed 8 August 2020)

    Torwali, Zubair. “Angaag o Bangaag| آنگاگ او بانگاگ Torwali Folktale| Animated| IBT|”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0MzDMFToaA&t=98s/. (Accessed 8 August 2020)
    Rising Voices. "Q&A: Meet Zubair Torwali, Torwali language activist". https://rising.globalvoices.org/blog/2020/05/04/qa-meet-zubair-torwali-torwali-language-activist/. (Accessed 8 August 2020)

    Article in Urdu “’توروالی‘ اپنی مادری زبان کیسے بچا رہے ہیں؟”. Independent Urdu. https://www.independenturdu.com/node/27636/%D9%86%D8%A6%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%84/%E2%80%99%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%E2%80%98-%D8%A7%D9%BE%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%A9%DB%8C%D8%B3%DB%92-%D8%A8%DA%86%D8%A7-%D8%B1%DB%81%DB%92-%DB%81%DB%8C%DA%BA%D8%9F

    MUSIC: Freesound pieces: gutiyvon. YVONNE GuitarArpeggiation. (CC0 1.0); quetzalcontla. Warm guitar rhythm Intro. (CC-BY 3.0); Additional music: Subhashish Panigrahi

    Note: The opinions expressed are personal to the participating guest(s), and the producer(s) shall not be liable for the same.

    2020. © Subhashish Panigrahi and O Foundation. CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.

    • 53 min
    Imagining a Digital Future for the Santali Language

    Imagining a Digital Future for the Santali Language

    Would you consider the language and culture of a community of 7.6 million people in danger, especially when the language is recognized as one of the 22 provincial official languages in the world's largest democracy? It is, and it is much more than that, when you look at it from the geopolitical, socioeconomic and technical standpoints.

    In this episode of our podcast — O Foundation Conversations — we bring you some intimate conversations with Maina Tudu, R. Ashwani Banjan Murmu, Manik Soren, Fagu Baskey and Ramjit Tudu who are all Santali-language Wikipedia editors. Talking about Santali Wikipedia — it is turning two on August 2. Santali Wikipedia is one of the few online resources in the Santali language which is spoken mostly in the eastern India along with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The Santali Wikipedia community has participation from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Maina, Ashwani, Manik, Fagu and Ramjit are young community leaders who are using digital activism to promote the Santali language and culture in the digital domain, specifically on the internet. This episode was a remote collaboration between O Foundation and the Santali Wikipedia community during the ongoing COVID pandemic. This episode covers the social, political, linguistic and educational landscape through a lens of technology. The ambitions and dreams of the Santali community that our guests amplify will be worth revisiting when India’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is implemented.


    GUEST: MAINA TUDU, R. ASHWANI BANJAN MURMU, MANIK SOREN, FAGU BASKEY AND RAMJIT TUDU, ADDITIONAL RECORDING: NOAM CHOMSKY (The minimalist program and language acquisition. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq5lMTKJiqE. VideoLecturesChannel. CC-BY 3.0, license in video description: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)


    1. Department of Higher Education. "Provisions of the Constitution of India having a bearing on Education". Retrieved 1 April 2010.

    MUSIC: Christel Steigenberger. Audio file of the "Happy Birthday" tune whistled. (CC BY-SA 4.0); edtijo. Happy Guitar. https://freesound.org/s/207558/ (CC0 1.0); tim.kahn. guitar loop.aif. https://freesound.org/s/50072/ (CC-BY 3.0); Tudu, Ramjit. “Dhal disom re thari bati (santali folk song)”. CC-BY-SA-4.0; Tudu, Ramjit. “A prayer to supreme god by santhal people”. CC-BY-SA-4.0; Tudu, Ramjit. “Santali folk song by an old man”. CC-BY-SA-4.0; Tudu, Ramjit. “Santali folk dance represents by MPC, BARIPADA student”. CC-BY-SA-4.0;  tim.kahn. guitar loop.aif. https://freesound.org/s/50072/. (CC-BY 3.0); squashy555. computer startup.wav. https://freesound.org/s/273736/ (CC0 1.0); pinkinblue. BirdFish Happy Loop.mp3. https://freesound.org/s/425971/ (CC0 1.0); OSFX. Beach dream (loopable). https://freesound.org/s/420686/ (CC-BY 3.0); MattiaGiovanetti. Tranquillity Atmosphere I. https://freesound.org/s/477837/ (CC-BY 3.0).

    2020. © Subhashish Panigrahi and O Foundation. CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.

    UPDATE: The description was updated on August 2, 2020 to reflect commentary about India’s National Education Policy 2020.

    • 26 min
    Digitally-Documenting the Sundanese Language and Cultural Heritage

    Digitally-Documenting the Sundanese Language and Cultural Heritage

    The colonization era was complicated for Indonesia, a country with 700 languages, as it is hard to tell if it was helpful or not for the Sundanese language. But Ilham Nurwansah is now on a mission to digitize old text, and share encyclopedic information through Wikipedia. What is known very little about Nurwansah is that he also makes his own musical instrument (see a short documentary of him playing the Sundanese instrument Karinding).

    UNESCO estimated that half of the world's 7,000 languages are in danger. According to the “2020 Decolonizing the Internet's Languages Report” by Whose Knowledge?, only a mere 7% of the world’s languages are captured in published resources. When it comes to digital content, a much less fraction of these languages is represented.

    As the world’s largest island country, In this episode Subhashish Panigrahi, producer of O Foundation Conversations is talking to Ilham Nurwansah who is researching the Sundanese language of Indonesia. Nurwansah is digitizing ancient manuscripts and contributing to the Sundanese-language Wikipedia.




    edtijo. Happy Guitar. https://freesound.org/s/207558/ (CC0 1.0); tim.kahn. guitar loop.aif. https://freesound.org/s/50072/ (CC-BY 3.0); ShortRecord. happy piano.mp3. https://freesound.org/s/525080/ (CC-BY 3.0); gutiyvon. YVONNE GuitarArpeggiation.wav. https://freesound.org/s/465583/ (CC0 1.0); quetzalcontla. Warm guitar rhythm Intro. https://freesound.org/s/458425/ (CC-BY 3.0)


    1. Moseley, Christopher (ed.). 2010. Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, 3rd edn. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version: http://www.unesco.org/culture/en/endangeredlanguages/atlas/

    2. WhoseKnowledge?. 2020. "Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages – Summary Report". URL: https://whoseknowledge.org/resource/dtil-report/ (Accessed June 24, 2020)

    2020. © Subhashish Panigrahi and O Foundation. CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.

    • 32 min
    Knowledge Commons and the Adivasis

    Knowledge Commons and the Adivasis

    Adivasis are the indigenous communities in India. There are 104 million Adivasis that speak a few hundred languages but only a handful of them have a access to media of their own. In this episode of O Foundation Conversations, our host Subhashish Panigrahi talks to Ankush Vengurlekar and Ashish Birulee of Adivasi Lives Matter, a platform dedicated to giving a voice to Advisi content producers. Shaped with inspirations from the Black Lives Matter movement, Adivasi Lives Matter provides training to many Adivasi youths on a regular basis who then create stories — text, audio and video. Even the hardship of COVID-19 lockdown has not stopped these content creators who are on a mission to promote their people, languages and cultures online. This episode is only a glimpse of the myriads of activities that Adivasi Lives Matter has been leading.



    MUSIC: https://freesound.org/people/0ktober/sounds/188828/, https://freesound.org/people/16HPanskaBenda_Jonas/sounds/503635/, https://freesound.org/people/mahammed/sounds/444271/, https://freesound.org/people/Tr4ck3r/sounds/132382/, https://freesound.org/people/InspectorJ/sounds/411162/, https://freesound.org/people/pjcohen/sounds/414447, https://freesound.org/people/SamplingSamTheMarylandMan/sounds/468520/, https://freesound.org/people/swapnil_gt/sounds/255115/, https://freesound.org/people/quetzalcontla/sounds/458425/, https://freesound.org/s/173564/


    1. Oxfam India. "Who Tells Our Stories Matters: Representation of Marginalised Caste Groups in Indian Newsrooms". https://www.oxfamindia.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/Oxfam%20NewsLaundry%20Report_For%20Media%20use.pdf

    2. Rao, Aprameya. "The great Indian language trouble". Asian Age. https://www.asianage.com/age-on-sunday/091119/the-great-indian-language-trouble.html

    • 31 min
    Indigenous Languages In The Times Of A Pandemic

    Indigenous Languages In The Times Of A Pandemic

    How can the speakers of indigenous languages be educated during a pandemic like coronavirus?

    In this episode of O Foundation Conversations, Subhashish Panigrahi speaks to Dr. Mandana Seyfeddinipur who is a linguist and heads the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at the SOAS University of London. Dr. Seyfeddinipur shares how indigenous and endangered language speakers need to document their language, and recommendations for the government and other authorities to ensure that such speakers get access to critical information (like health advice during COVID-19) in their own language(s). Recorded during the Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages Conference 2019 that was organised by Whose Knowledge? October 2019 in London at the Mozilla Festival 2019.

    Producer: Subhashish Panigrahi

    Background music and sound effects: Flight announcement by Subhashish Panigrahi, CC-BY-SA 4.0; YVONNE GuitarArpeggiation.wav by gutiyvon, CC0 1.0; bingBong.wav by stib, CC0 1.0; Warm guitar rhythm Intro by quetzalcontla, CC-BY 3.0; hospital_lobby.flac by tim.kahn (CC-BY 3.0)

    VIsit https://theofdn.org/podcasts/episode1/ for more details and transcript.

    2020. © Subhashish Panigrahi and O Foundation. CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.

    • 28 min

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