Will Hindi domain names increase the usage of internet in India?

For a while the discussion about domain names in Indian language has been going on. India is about to get its own internationalized domain names (IDNs). China and Russia have their own IDNs for a while now.

Today’s Mint carried an article “Hindi domain name to bridge digital divide” which talks about .bharat TLD (top level domain) being made available in India.

While experts applaud the move as a first step in the right direction, they maintain that the entire ecosystem—comprising software, hardware and content—has to come together to make the Internet truly inclusive. India currently has close to 100 million Internet users out of a total population of 1.2 billion, of whom 74% are literate, according to Census 2011.

I wasn’t aware 74% of India is literate.

About 11% of the country’s population understands English, while 40% is well-versed in some form of Hindi, according to Census 2001.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has given India the permission to release domainnames in 7 languages –  Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu and Gujarati. The TLDs would be,

  • dot-bharat for Hindi
  • dot-Indiya for Tamil

Dot-bharat would cost about Rs 500 a year (seems to be cheaper than dot-in). Trademark holders would be given the first rights to reserve the dot-bharat domain (starting in March 2012). Post that cyber squatters are welcome.

Will Hindi Domain Names Help?

The assumption has been that once we have Indic domainnames a lot more people will be comfortable using the internet. As mention earlier in this post we need software, hardware, content – all to contribute the increase in usage of internet in India.

I still believe we are more a ‘reading community’ than a ‘writing community’. Currently we use English domainnames which host Indian language content, for e.g. Oneindia.in & many others have been doing that forever.

If I were to host under the domain वनइंडिया.bharat (oneindia.bharat), it would have the content which you see on http://hindi.oneindia.in.  The argument is most people will be able to read वनइंडिया.bharat  and not oneindia.in. So they will readily click on the वनइंडिया.bharat link as against oneindia.in.

Only time will tell how these internationalized domain names will change the internet usage in India. For now, it is a welcome development.


  1. prashant yadav says:

    Hello Sir,
    Firstly, your mention of only Hindi domain name is wrong. It’s Devnagiri script which is used by many Indian languages like Marathi and others. And, secondly it won’t help growing the internet population grow but will because outside of the cities the internet awareness is very less. And, finally it’s arriving on 21st august 2014. Here is the link for it http://maharashtratimes.indiatimes.com/infotech/computer/Soon-the-web-will-have-Bharat-in-local-languages/articleshow/39805268.cms . And, yes it will revive the Indian internet. Thank you. Please correct me if was wrong in highlighting some points.

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