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Re: An S.O.S. Call! Old Style Tamil Alphabet
On Mon, 8 Sep 1997, Dr.K. Kalyanasundaram wrote:
> 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.
It is not my sentimental decision. It is my brainy
and logical decision that not other scripts shoud be mixed
with tamil script. If needed old tamil scripts may be brought
and not scripts of other languages.
> My knowledge and expertise of tamil is very very limited
> and it would be a futile exercise for me to engage in literary
Since you have repeated quoted me in your
> posting, I would like to make a few clarifications.
I quoted you as I saw that you were the first person
who wrote in suppoert of including grandha scripts
into tamil scripts.
> I never claimed that grantha letters formed integral
> part of the tamil literature any time.
That is a good understanding of what tamil is.
I appreciate it.
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.
First of all there aren't innumerable sanskrit
words that got into tamil. May be in brahmin tamil but
not in village tamil.
In villages the number English words used in day
to day liefe may be more than sanskrit words. Some
of the words which you, Prof. Hart and Prof. Schiffman
think as of Sanskrit origin are not Sanskrit origin.
They tamil origin, sanskritised by brahmins.
For example the word SAthi as used in anicient tamil
is to distinguish different living species. But it
has been Sankritised by brahmins into JAthi. There
is an original Sanskrit word Jathi which is used
to distinguis not species but human beings, i.e.
caste. If you, Mr. Hart, Mr. Schiffman do not
know this difference that is neither my mistake
nor tamil's mistake. In a private email to me
Mr. Hart wrote that Vishnu and Vashnavam were
there in TholkAppiyam. I should tell you
that the origin of the religion "Vaishnavam" is
less than 2000 years while the origin of TholkApiayam
goes beyond 10,000 years. How couold TholkAppiyar
speak about a religion that is going to originate
8000 years after he wrote his Tamil Grammar? It is
pathetic those who learn science and languages do not
learn the history attached to it.
TholkAppiyam says that tamil albhabets are based
on Aythaezuththu. ThirukuRaL first song speaks
that they are based on "a". Even a man with
very little brain can understand that this kuRaL
was a later introduction. The word "Bhkavan" which
Has sound of the letter "Bha" which is sanskrit based
and also the very word Bhgavan is Sanskrit proove the
fact that it was a later introduction. There are about
10-15 poems in TholkAppiayam which were introduced
by ill minded people, similar to those who wish to
introduce Grandha letter into tamil. The wordsd, concepts,
and the style will tell you that they are not written by
tholkAppiyan. I do not have time to write more on this.
One has to be a book worm to read all the ancient works
and compare one another to find out the truth. One good thing
about such evil introduction of their stuff into golden works
of others is that they can not forcefully enter those poems
in every works of same or later period. This is because they will
not be the first person to get hold of all the old works.
A man with a good reasoning power looks at those can easily
identify what poesm are later origin. Those poems that speak about
4 different castes in TholkAppiyam is one such evil's work.
This was not one time affair. It went for many thousand years.
We want to stop it. Subramaniyan and others who founded many
dialies, weeklies and monthlies wrote sanskrit in the name of tamil.
We all know that. When someone critcized about the daily
SudhEsamithran, another replied that the news paper wrote its
name with tamil scripts, not with Sanskrit or Grandha scripts.
But, that friend forgot that the words are very Sanskrit. Do you
know the equivalent tamil words? Do you think are there
equivalent tamil words? Do you think the founder of that
daily do not know the equivalent tamils words? When there
were/are pure tamil words, this daily named itself with
a Sanskrit name. Although it used tamil scripts to write the
name, if you open the daily, mostly you will see only sanskrit.
I do not understand why this particular caste is so adamont
in Sankrtising tamil. They would have done it so successfully
in the past when others were deprieved of their right to go
to school by the filthy "ManunIthi" and "kulakkalvi" stuff.
Those days are gone.
Now, every tamilan goes to school and reads what you read.
You can not do this any more to tamil. You can no longer
succeed in sanskritising tamil. Addition of grandha
scripts will help only that attempt. Otherwise with
247 scripts one can coin trillions and trillions of words
to fulfil the requirements all the years tamil race is going
to live. I hope you know very well that I know all the
higher mathematics, although the above calcualtion
does not require them.
> 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.
I will be more humble than you and wash your feet with my
tears if you stop killing tamil by Sanskritsing it.
Why grantha scripts, why not mandarine scripts
and why not japanese scripts? It is always better
to include all the scripts in the world. If we do
not have enough space even in Unicode, we better
throw away all the tamil scripts and stick with grantha
scripts. That is what you guys will recommend.
> Font encoding scheme is meant to standardise exchange of
> tamil-related materials between tamils all around the
> world. Nothing more and nothing else.
How about transliterating all the wealth of information
that is there in mandarine to English? May we include
all the mandarine scripts into English slots?
Transliteration is the death of a language. You adopt
and adapt a few words from another language following
what TholkAppiyan said. Why tholkAppiyan when said
about adopting/adapting foreign words did not say
anything about such a scheme to scripts. Of course
I know pretty well as much as you do that a language
lives on sound (phonems) not on scripts. That is
why even with present day scripts which are far changed
from original scripts, tamil is still alive.
> 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.
Beautiful. I am one among those who intiated.
Now you are telling me this. O.K.
> 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.
What do you mean by heavily used? Who uses what and why?
Some one wrote here that he has names Roja/Raja and hence
grandha should be introduced. I am goind to name my
grand children with chinese and japanes sound. So please
introduce all the mandarine and japanese scripts. There
are many mandarine phonem that I can not write them using
grnadha + tamil scripts. When you want to have grandha
to satisfy your love Sanskrit why don't I have mandarine
and other scripts?
> 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.
This is irrelevant.
> Making provisions for grantha/old stlye lai/Nai characters does
> not necessarily mean forcing people to use them.
I know your trick. That is what Sudhesamithran would have
told my people before I was born.
> 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.
No. Those are evils and have to be deleted from tamil history.
I do not want my grant children to carry a print of
tholkAppiyam that has all those inserts of evil interest.
Same way all those sanskrit words which have been introduced
into tamil have to replaced if there are not equivalent tamil
words. If you want to write other characters, you can
tamilise and write them. If that is not possible, use one or two
grandha, english, mandarine, sanskrit letters by font switching.
That is not a big problem. Why do you want them to be introduced
along with tamil scripts? After another 1000 years, people will
say Sanskrit was the original language of India and its scripts
got changed into different forms, but their phonems have been
kept as such even in a land that is far south in India. I do not
want the history be rewritten.
> 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.
Should I say 1000 time that tamil is what brahmins speak?
It is a language spoken by tamils. If you try to destroy
my language and if I try to prevent it, you call this
pilitical. Yes, it is. It is political. We are not
creating something for the use of a few linguistic
professionals. The way computer world grows, after some time
there will not be any paper use. You and I never met each
but are talking over computer. That is the future world.
If there is way that some one can insert sanskrit
words into tamil, that is not good for tamil. Now, you
and others are claiming that many Sanskrit words came into tamil
and are being used for long time. Those few sanskrit words
were pushed by brahmins into tamil. It did not get routed
into villages like where I was born and I wanted it to
reamin like that. Just because in your family you speak
a tamil mixed with many Sanskrit words why do you try
paint that in the whole of tamilnadu people speak
a language with so much of Sanskrit? By meaningless
comparison I can claim that mandarine, japanese,
korean are all speoken by tamilnadu people. Will you
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."
Yes, very beautiful words. Therefore let us
introduce our "la", "na" "ra" into English
and let Prof. Hart initiate this work. This will eanble
English to transliterate all the wealth of information
that are there in tamil to English unaltered, as they are in tamil.
I will create beautiful fonts for those scripts and give it to him.
When he is going to start?
> 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.
Oh, ho! At the time of font encoding inculsion
of grandha scripts is not a problem at all.
We can deal with it at the time of language
reforms. And, at the time of language reform
we won't worry about inclusion of grandha scripts
into tamil, as it falls outside the scope of
language reform. That is something connected to
This is a beautiful argument. I know you will
> 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.
Sure, Kalyan. An expert committee like this should
intorduce scripts of all the world languages into
the slots alloted for tamil. Let the ministers and
the people search for the scripts of their language
and if they find them they can use them. If not
they can better write in Sanskrit which they can
surely find it, because, the members of expert
committee have placed them carefully.
I know what a committe would do and what a government
could do and how educated tamils should make their
people to understand what is going on behind the curtain.
If this is not the time when the tamil community is going
to know the truth? After sanskritising tamil has been
By the by, I am curious,
Which wonderful tamil work that you are worried would be
missed from putting them on the compoter with tamil scipts?
Why don't we plan to place tamils scripts and if any body
interested place those grantha scripts? I do not object
you or Muthu to sell some software with grandha scripts.
All that I am worried is why do we worry about quite
irrelevant scripts? Individual developers can put those
scripts at places they want to place. I do not want them
to be considered as a part tamil font encoding standardization,
which the becomes as if grandha scripts are part of tamil scripts.
Instead of going round the problem I put it straight by pulling
caste into it. You and I know that it is the bottom line in this whole
argument. Your caste people will speak all sanskritised tamil
and have names with sounds like sh, ha, ja, and to fulfill
your requirements we should adjust tamil? Is that what it is?
If you site others who are having such names, (I know, whom you
you are going to refer here) it is their problem. As I said
earlier if I choose a name that can not be written with my
scripts that is my mistake. But the sitatuation is not as bad
as one may think. If some who have seen my writings how I use
the Aytha Ezuththu would know that they can solve this problem
to some extent. At the sametime I don't object to the introduction
of any such scripts as a separate set of fonts.
I am puuting it plain, as Dr. Kannan did it in one of his
earlier writings, by bringing in caste. We can not cure this
deep wound by putting "punuku on the top of the puN. We have
to open it and let heal".
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