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>Unicode starts with Devanagari as the most complex house to
>build and sees all others (incl. Tamil ) as simplified versions of
Actually, Malayalam is the most complex Indian alphabet. It has all the
features of Tamil and Sanskrit, and actually uses two different systems of
writing. Indigenous words (from Old Tamil, the parent language of
Malayalam) are written as in Tamil, while words borrowed from Sanskrit are
written as in that language. And, in spite of the recent changes to
facilitate printing, it remains more difficult to implement on a computer
than Devanagari. My own feeling (not entirely seriously) has long been
that Malayalam should be the national language of India. Reasons:
1. It combines both Dravidian and Sanskrit.
2. Its high literacy rate means there are (perhaps) more readers of
Malayalam than any other Indian language, including Hindi.
In any case, ISCII should start from Malayalam, not from Devanagari, which
to my mind is an inferior writing system. (In this regard, try reading
both Devanagari and Tamil or any other South Indian alphabet from a
distance -- the South Indian alphabet has much more differentiation).
It is truly distressing to see books in South Indian languages (e.g.
Tyagaraja's music) published in Devanagari. When, for example, you try to
put Telugu into Devanagari, you lose all the short e's and o's, a basic
feature of the language. We should resist the facile notion that
Devanagari is the root of everything. George Hart
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