Wednesday, June 01, 2005

യുണികോഡറിയാത്ത "Linguistic Department"

Dear Readers

Please excuse my English Post. Trust me there is good reason.

I recently visited one of Kerala Government's websites which I believe is a part of its IT Mission. (The good folks who maintain this site does not even use English proofing tools to check spellings and English grammar.)

I noticed the Usual ASCII encoded Malayalam text in places and fired off my standard email asking them to join the Unicode Revolution (Of-course in Malayalam Unicode).

I received this email from them


    Dear Nishad

    Will u pls attach the font in which i can render ur


    With respect


    Dept:of Linguistics

    Uty:of Kerala


Although I was enraged at such a response coming from someone who works in the department of Linguistics, I was actually very pleased that I got a reply from someone from some Govt. department.

My Reply to this was.


    Dear Sir.

    The text was in Unicode. I am not surprised that you are unaware of this development.

    Please download

    visit to read about this revolution

    enlighten yourself and join us

    Nishad Kaippally


His Reply to this was


    Dear Sir

    Have you heard about Nila Official Malayalam Softwere

    with unicode font.Pls downlod it from and send your feed back.

    With respect


    Dept:of Linguistics

    Uty:of Kerala


And I got Started with this reply


    I am not in doubt about the existence of the reformed (പുതിയ ലിപി)

    Malayalam Script font that you mention, but even you do not use it.

    Having heard of Nila or whatever you mention does not solve any

    problem. I want my people (the Malayalee community) To Practically and

    Freely use it. The fact Remains that there still is no Unicode Based

    FREE software with Spell checker and grammar checker availabe for the

    General Public.

    യൂണികോഡ് ഉപയോഗിച്ച് താങ്കള് പോലും മലയാളം എഴുതുന്നില്ല അതില് പരം

    വിരോദാഭാസം വേറെ യെന്തുണ്ട്.

    The very fact that someone of your calibre does not use Malayalam

    Unicode to communicate shows the development Kerala Government has

    made in this field.

    I trust you have read my Blog and the Blogs of several Malayalees on

    the internet who have begun publishing on the Internet using Malayalam



    There are too many useless Government institutions squandering public

    funds in useless projects. With nothing to show.

    The Unicode fonts you mention are not old (Traditional) Script. There

    are also some errors in character conjuncts. like the Formation of Mba

    (മ്പ). I do not wish to spend time examining something that's

    substandard and does not render old Script Malayalam. And besides

    even if I spend time recomending anything nobody will make any

    changes, because nobody cares.

    This set of fonts you mention are not acceptable to the wider internet

    community. It also does not fully comply with Unicode standards.

    Presently there are two Fonts. ThoolikaUnicodeTraditional and

    AnjaliOld. Both are exceptional fonts that include all possible

    combinations of Character forms.

    My first email to you is self explanatory. I hope you have had the

    time to read them and understand what I stand for and mean when I say

    Revolution. I am on a crusade against this disasterous script

    refromation and is presently distributing my Unicode based Phonetic

    Keyboard Driver FREE of Cost. I am putting my own money into the

    distribution of FREE Unicode Malayalam Encoding Systems.

    So far I have eager followers who belong to the non-english educated

    Gulf Malayalee small scale business sector.These

    people use OpenOffice in Malayalam and are extremely happy with my


    Its a great feeling to see a Malayalee carpenter who can't speak a word of english,

    who uses a Localized Windows XP machine. He keeps his accounts, documents

    and emails in Unicode Malayalam. I did it for him. And I am proud of it.

    If one person can make so much difference that the Goverment of Kerala could

    not acheive in the last 4 years, something is terribly wrong with the adminstration.

    I feel that the Government of Kerala and its agencies are inept and

    indifferent towards the cause of the common man. Further they are

    technically inferior to the Open source Community that has the natural

    ability to syntesise better software from colaborative discussion. The

    Kerala Government agencies seem absent in many of the discussions in

    these matters.

    My response may seem blunt, direct and at times extremely rude. All

    revolutions are of this nature. If in the 1700s the French were soft on the French

    Royalty there would still be some French royals hanging around in

    Paris hoping to be crowned one day.

    There is simply no room for sympathy and small talk. All Publications

    that use ASCII for encoding Malayalam will perish on the internet, if

    they do not move to UNICODE. and that is the plain and simple truth.

    I hope you will see the truth and join forces to spread the word about

    Unicode Malayalam and the Traditional Malayalam Lipi.

    Long Live the Revolution

    വിപ്ലവം ജെയിക്കട്ടെ


He replied


    Dear Kaippally

    Thanks for your suggestion even though it was

    subjugated by the discourse in which you are realizing

    your self.The link is

    We are looking for your suggestion very objectively.

    With respect


    Dept:of Linguistics

    Uty:of Kerala


I reviewed this sad excuse for a word processor and shot back this reply


    Dear Sir

    As much as it's against my principles to communicate in a foreign language with my kinsman, I have no other means but use English to comunicate with you. Since you adamantly refuse to embrace Unicode Malayalam and communicate with me by this means. But the Truth must be told. (I ask forgiveness from my Dear Malayalam bloggers for this blasphemous deviation from my principle)

    Regarding your "Software"

    I spent the whole morning studying Nila. You should bring down the minimum requirement to Windows 2000. Win2K does support the Uniscribe Engine (USP10.dll). Some builds of USP10.dll may be outdated so you should communicate with Peter Constable at Microsoft to get permission to include the Latest version of USP10.dll in the installation. If you don't know who Peter is then you have a lot of readng to do.

    This is a core DLL and requires Reboot.

    The accepted common Transliteration scheme used by the present Blogger community and most of the Unicode Malayalam users is Varamozhi, (Available here , I suggest that you download it and go through the logic behind the character conjuncts carefully). I am asuming that you may have some awareness of this scheme. In my desparate attempt to popularize Malayalam unicode amungst my friends in the business and trade circle in UAE, I have also developed a Keyboard Driver available here ( you may want to try it out and see how Vowel letters and conjuncts are formed. But this is of course a personal preference and need not be a platform of contention. The underlying need is to allow people to use Unicode for their day to day communication needs. Keyboard Layout is something people need to familiarize.

    I noticed that several Latin Characters (QWXCVB) in the Nila Keyboard are left without change. You could put those keys to sensible use.

    The ഔ vowel sign presently used in your software is wrong. It uses U+0D57, The Govt of Kerala has made changes to this and the correct codepoint to use is U+0D4c. ( Presently all Unicode fonts shows this with diacritics on either side of the vowel, this will be latter ammended to show only the Au sign on the Right side for Reformed Fonts and both Diacritics for Traditional script) . U+0D57 is to be used only in rare occasions to demonstrate the diacritic individually in Text books and technical documentations.

    The conjunct Mpa (as in Munpe 'before') is formed by the characters Ma and Pa not Na and Pa. (Initially I had fought long battles to establish that both Ma+Pa and Na+Pa should render Mpa but due to searching and sorting logic issues I gave up that battle) Now the Unicode-Indic community unianimously agrees that Ma+Pa is the correct conjunct characters. And Everyone (without reservations) should follow this verdict for the success of implimenting Unicode Standards.

    Please refer to discussions held at the indic unicode archives for details on this.

    Nila Keyboard:

    I could not type character combinations in Malayalam like "prai" "krai" prau" using the Unicode > phonetic settings

    when the Ai vowel sign is typed the previous character mysteriously disappears.

    The Dictionary:

    The Dictionary you have provided is practically useless. Primarily it does not check Malayalam words. Further the words that appear in the list cannot be added to the document. So in effect you can just stare at the meanings, useless don't you think.

    I notice that there is a "Convertion" Tool in Nila. I am sure that your developer meant it as "Conversion". Since we are "Brilliant" Malayalees, QA/QC is something we don't believe during software development. Good.

    Now what is this supposed to Convert. Since its very discrete about what it converts, there is no Help or docmentation to understand its function. I copied some ASCII text from another Kerala Government Website ( another site dishing out useless concoctions based on ASCII font Hacks). The converter did not convert anything from there. I tried several Text files. I also tried passing Unicode Malayalam hoping that it would dish out ASCII. nothing. So full marks for the converter.

    So in conclusion.

    Nila is a word Processor, that falls pathetically short of the primary functions of a Word processor. It has no spell checking, grammar checking, or tables. But then why would you want to make an application when there are brilliant applications (made by an international team of brilliant open source software developers) like OpenOffice. That is also FREE.

    All you need to do is collobarate with them and work on malayalam proofing tools (built with open source proofing engine like Aspell or Ispell). But then again that would be too easy. Our "Brilliant" IT gurus at the Kerlaa IT Mission, CDIT, ER&DCI, etc. will be out of work.

    Its one thing to be ignorant. But then you have to be consistent in that ignorance. Its insanely stupid to have different ASCII encodings coming from different Governement websites and institutions. But then thats the problem of not respecting any standards, even your own.



This is his response


    Dear Nishad

    I have forweded all of ur revew to our Nila Team with

    serious consern,the team will respond u soon.

    With respect


    Dept.of Linguistics

    Uty.of Kerala


I have not heard from them so far.


  1. എന്നെ തല്ലല്ലേ അമ്മാവാ, ഞാന്‍ നന്നാകില്ല എന്നു പറയുന്നവരോട്‌ എന്തു ചെയ്യാനാ?
    നമുക്കു തല്ലി (തള്ളി) ക്കൊണ്ടേയിരിക്കാം.
    വിടാതെ പിടിക്കുക.
    കൈപ്പള്ളിയുടെ ശ്രമം വിജയിക്കും.

  2. പ്രിയ നിഷാദ്‌,

    വളരെ സന്തോഷം തോന്നുന്നു... പറയാനുള്ളത്‌ ഏതവന്റെയായാലും മുഖത്ത്‌ നോക്കി തന്നെ വിളിച്ചു പറയണം.

    നിള ഞാനും ഡൌണ്‍ലോഡ്‌ ചെയ്തു നോക്കി. ഒരുമാതിരി ആണും പെണ്ണും കെട്ട സാധനം. അവരതിനെ "ഒഫിഷ്യല്‍" സോഫ്റ്റ്‌ വെയര്‍ എന്നു വിളിക്കുന്നു. അതില്‍ എനിക്ക്‌ ഇഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടത്‌ ആ മലയാളം കലണ്ടറാ. നമ്മുടെ (പൊതുജനത്തിന്റെ) കാശ്‌ തിന്നോണ്ട്‌ ഇരിക്കുന്ന സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ സാറുമ്മാര്‌ ഉണ്ടാക്കി വിട്ട സാധനം കണ്ടപ്പോള്‍ സങ്കടം തോന്നി! കഷ്ടം.(വേള്‍ഡ്‌ കപ്പ്‌ ക്രിക്കറ്റിന്റെ സമയത്ത്‌ പെപ്സിയും കൊക്കകോളയും തമ്മിലുള്ള പരസ്യയുദ്ധം ഓര്‍മ്മയുണ്ടോ? "ഒഫിഷ്യല്‍ ഡ്രിങ്ക്‌ എന്നു കൊക്കകോള"-"നത്തിങ്ങ്‌ ഒഫിഷ്യല്‍ എബൌട്ടിറ്റ്‌ എന്നു പെപ്സി".)

    ആശാന്‍ പാടി - "മാറ്റുവിന്‍ ചട്ടങ്ങളെ... സ്വയം അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ മാറ്റുമതുകളീ നിങ്ങളെത്താന്‍....." (ആ വരികള്‍ എനിക്ക്‌ ശരിക്ക്‌ പറഞ്ഞു തന്ന മനോഹരന്‍ ചേട്ടന്‌ നന്ദി) ഇവന്റെയൊക്കെ പ്രൊപ്രൈറ്ററി സംഭവങ്ങള്‍ യുണികോഡിന്റെ കുത്തൊഴുക്കില്‍ പെട്ട്‌ ഒലിച്ചു പോകും നിഷാദ്‌.

    ഈ വിപ്ലവത്തിന്‌ എന്നെകൊണ്ടാകുന്ന എല്ലാ സഹായസഹകരണങ്ങളും ഞാന്‍ വാഗ്ദാനം ചെയ്യുന്നു...



  3. Excellent, Nishad. Keep it up. We, a full team behind you

  4. hey angry young man,
    its not an elegant way to have revolution by mudslinging. may be you say its your blog where you can write any shit. it would have been better appreciated, if u had a minimum courtesy of hiding the name of a public servant who cared to reply to you. you could have rather narrated the story in a decent manner instead of stripping that guy's pants in the public. well, long live your revolution, but just that i felt that those mails sent to you, were not for the public’s eye.

  5. Man, that is a lot of work - but keep it up!


  6. പേരില്ലാത്ത വഴിയെപോയവനാണെങ്കിലും, പറഞ്ഞതു ശെരിയാണു്. ആ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ഉദ്ദ്യോഗസ്ഥന്‍റെ പേരെഴുതിയതു തെറ്റുതന്നെ. പേരില്ലത്ത സുഹൃത്തെ, നന്ദി. ഞാന്‍ ആ ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥന്‍റെ പേരു് മറച്ചു പുനഃപ്രസിദ്ധികരിച്ചിരിക്കുകയാണ്. പക്ഷേ താങ്കള്‍ ദയവയി യുണികോഡുപയോഗിച്ച് എന്നെ ശകാരിക്കു. മലയാളം യൂണികോഡുപയോഗിക്കുന്നവരുടെ പ്രശ്നമാണിവിടെ നാം പരിഹരിക്കന്‍ ശ്രമിക്കുന്നതു്, ഇതുപയോഗിക്കത്ത താങ്കള്‍ക്ക് അതിന്‍റെ ആഴം മനസിലാവുമോ എന്നെനിക്കറിയില്ല. കേരളത്തില്‍ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടര്‍ സാക്ഷരത കോണ്ടുവരാന്‍ നമ്മള്‍ നിയോഗിച്ചവര്‍ കാട്ടികൂട്ടുന്ന കസര്ത്തുകളെല്ലാം ജനങ്ങളുടെ കണ്ണില്‍ പൊടിയിടുന്നതായിട്ടാണു് എനിക്കുതോന്നുന്നതു്.

  7. This message is intended only for the personal and confidential use of the designated recipient(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient of this message you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. This communication is for information purposes only and should not be regarded as an offer to sell or as a solicitation of an offer to buy any financial product, an official confirmation of any transaction, or as an official statement of .....

    എന്നൊക്കെയുള്ള ഒരു ഖണ്ഡിക ഇല്ലായിരുന്നു അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ഈമെയിലില്‍, എങ്കില്‍ നിഷാദിനെ കുറ്റം പറയാനും പറ്റില്ല, കേട്ടോ?


  8. സത്യം പറയാലോ... ഇത്രയും വായിക്കുന്ന സമയം ഉണ്ടേല്‍ രണ്ട് ബ്ളോഗ് അപ് ലോഡ് ചെയ്യാം. സോറി വിഷമിപ്പിക്കാന്‍ പറഞ്ഞതല്ല സോദരാ
    കുറഞ്ഞ വാക്കില്‍ ആശയം വ്യക്തമാക്കുന്നതിന്റെ സുഖം ഒന്നുവേറെ തന്നെയല്ലേ.?
    ഇക്കാര്യം തന്നെ രണ്ടോ മൂന്നോ പേരഗ്രാഫില്‍ എഴുതിയിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ എല്ലാവരും വായിച്ചേനെ..
    ഇത് രണ്ട് മൂന്ന് മെയില്‍ കഴിയുമ്പോള്‍ നിര്‍ത്തും. ഞാന്‍ വാശിക്ക് വായിച്ചതായി പോയി.

  9. ഒരു വിഷമവു ഇല്ല സുഹൃത്തെ.
    പലര്‍ക്കും പല പ്രശ്നങ്ങള്‍ നിസാരമായി തൊന്നിയേക്കം
    എനിക്കിതു നിസാരമല്ല. താങ്കള്‍ എന്റെ ബ്ലോഗു് അവസാന വരെ വയിച്ചതില്‍ നന്ദിയുണ്ട്.

  10. "കേരളത്തില്‍ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടര്‍ സാക്ഷരത കോണ്ടുവരാന്‍ നമ്മള്‍ നിയോഗിച്ചവര്‍ കാട്ടികൂട്ടുന്ന കസര്ത്തുകളെല്ലാം ജനങ്ങളുടെ കണ്ണില്‍ പൊടിയിടുന്നതായിട്ടാണു് എനിക്കുതോന്നുന്നതു്"

    -പന്ത്രണ്ടു കൊല്ലം കഴിഞ്ഞിട്ടും ഇതിൽ വലിയ വ്യത്യാസമൊന്നും വന്നിട്ടില്ല. :-)


ഇതെല്ലാം വായിച്ചിറ്റ് ഒന്നും പറയാനില്ലി?
ഇതിനെപറ്റി എന്തരെങ്കിലുമെക്ക പറ..