On face of it, he does not look anywhere near to Hindi. He comes across a normal geek, into computers, web development and a lot of other things. But what makes this 34-plus Delhi guy, miles apart or rather ahead from his peers is his unique integration of technology with language.
Founder of a hugely popular Hindi Poetry site - Kavitakosh.org, Lalit Kumar is a simple joy to catch up with. In between gentle reminders from me to get married soon, which he says is something on his mind, he walks down the memory lane of how a small idea in his abundant grey cells has turned into a worldwide phenomenon of sorts, readily making available to Hindi lovers, well indexed compendium of poetry, lyrics, ghazals and nazms etc.
Editor-in-Chief MOHIT DUBEY caught up with LALIT KUMAR on a rainy afternoon, here are some Excerpts:
Q: So, for the benefit of readers, let’s explore the personality of Lalit Kumar. Go on?
A: Well, I am a Delhi guy, born and brought up here. People find it not in sync with me and my philosophy but I 'belong' to Delhi. Am a web developer and a software engineer. On the other side I love languages and Kavitakosh.org is a product of my passion.
Q: How and why did the idea of a Hindi Poetry compendium on the internet come?
A: It was indeed out of the mainstream when I started it way back in 2006, July 5, 2006 to be precise. The idea of having a single window space wherein people could get well indexed Hindi poems etc had been lingering in my mind for long but I was unable to shape it.
It hurt me that despite such a rich collection, Hindi in different forms was available on the net only in very scattered form. It was here that I decided to provide to the lovers of the language and culture, a single window platform wherein everything would be available under one roof. That is how the concept of kavitakosh was born.
Q: But why Internet. Am sure one reason would be you being into web development but was there more to it?
A: Of course my being into web development was a big incentive to do something like this on the internet. But then I also felt that with the galloping strides of the www, this would be a very big medium of connecting people with the language.
Moreover, at the scale I wanted to launch this, there could not have been anything better and bigger than the internet. And I am happy that I have been proved right.
Q: Am sure there must have been very many difficulties as you ventured ahead. How difficult was creating, compiling and managing the whole thing?
A: Oh, there were umpteen problems... threat of violating copyright, financial constraints and infrastructure non-availability were major ones.
Q: How did you handle them?
A: Well, first it was transition of Kavitakosh from a personal website to a community website. Then there was coming along of like minded and passion-sharing people. We now have two parts of the Kavitakosh management - the Kavitakosh team and the second; Executive, these two wings together run the whole affair.
Q: Any specific reason for choosing Hindi language as the medium?
A: Nothing as such. Though, Hindi is my mother language so there was natural affinity towards it.
Q: There must have been tough times, moments when you were down. How did you cope up with it?
A: Every journey has its own ups and downs and I was at the receiving end of both. There were frustrating moments but my love for the cause and passion for integration of web development into this language realm kept me going. Then there were people in the team who always lifted the sagging spirits.
Q: So, how satisfying has been the journey so far?
A: Very, very much. I am happy that despite the problems that we faced, we have been able to come up with a national resource on the language. It simply is a great feeling.
Q: For the hundreds of admirers that Kavitakosh has, what value additions can they look forward to in the coming days?
A: There are many new things that are on the anvil. very soon we will be introducing multi-media section which would have audio-video collection of poems and other literary events of the yore, like Mushaira, Kavi Sammelan etc. As of now we have some 45,000 indexed poems, we would like to make it 50,000 soon.
Q: To end it on a personal note, 34 is quite an age in India to remain a bachelor. Any specific reasons ?
A: Not really. It’s just that I have been busy with lot of other things. But yes, age is catching up fast (laughs) and I am looking for the Miss Right!
*** The End ***