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Re: An S.O.S. Call! Old Style Tamil Alphabet

Dear Anu:
I fully understand and appreciate your sentiments on whether
or not grantha characters should be part of tamil font encoding 
scheme. You have stated very clearly this point many times.
My knowledge and expertise of tamil is very very limited
and it would be a futile exercise for me to engage in literary
discussions. Since you have repeated quoted me in your
posting, I would like to make a few clarifications.
I never claimed that grantha letters formed integral
part of the tamil literature any time. As Profs. George Hart and
Prof. Harold Schiffman put it, I recommend including them for 
"practical reasons" that there are innumerable number of words 
of sanskrit origin that have found their way into day-to-day 
usage of tamil. 

In my humble opinion there is some confusion on the 
implications of having such and such character glyphs
(be it grantha or old style tamil characters) in a tamil
font encoding scheme/standard. I do not see
that having them in the scheme implies "recommendation"
that all recent reforms are nullified and we should go 
back to writing tamil in the old way. And I do not want 
to invoke this kind of "added interpretations" of yours.

Font encoding scheme is meant to standardise exchange of
tamil-related materials between tamils all around the
world. Nothing more and nothing else. 
No one is invoking POLICY STATEMENTS here. 
Let us all get this very basics right.
The purpose of the font encoding scheme is to ensure
that  ka in tamil font/DTP packages is always at the same
slot (172 or 244 or whatever) throughout the world. So
should be the case for ha or ja if someone uses the latter.
If you tell me that there is some urdu character that is
heavily used in tamil texts, we should consider that also.
This is the only way information exchange can be 
standardised. We do not have to have 200+ tamil fonts 
to be able to read in computers any tamil stuff that is 
electronically sent or archived.

Making provisions for grantha/old stlye lai/Nai characters does
not necessarily mean forcing people to use them. 
No one is forced to use these glyphs if they do not want to.
When I say, these characters will allow electronic recording,
of the evolution of the language and its literature, I simply mean
write/exchange/archive ancient tamil materials in an accurate
way the historians/indologists would like to see them done.
History should be recorded the way it happended.
This is not the place to debate if what X or Y did to tamil
long time ago as right or wrong. 

So I am a bit disappointed that,
again and again you bring in political issues when we
discuss glyph choices for font encoding scheme.
I can only quote the beautiful statements of Prof. Hart in this
context: "We live in a global, interconnected world.  
Like it or not, no language is an island."

For a computer professional like you I do not have
to clarify what a "font encoding standard" means.
So please do not bring political debate and language
reforms issues when we discuss font encoding scheme. TNC
in their stated objectives have listed "language reforms"
as a topic for future review - a place where they can choose
to make their recommendations on how tamil should be
written from now onwards. I am not even convinced
if an expert committee for tamil computing should get
into a political topic of this kind. It can be a pure 'ministerial'
decision, unless such a decision involves introducing
'a new glyph' for tamil scripts.


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