India has a population of 1.24 billion who communicate in several hundred languages and dialects. Most of these languages are written in unique scripts, but some use Devanagiri and modified Perso-Arabic script. Even though India has 22 scheduled languages and the official language is standard Hindi, there has been no way to unify these many languages.
This was the case until now, but according to a recent report, an IIT-Madras professor has has developed one such script that he calls Bharati, which can convey in all Indian languages, can also be used for regular writing and can be learnt easily.
The script combines the simplest features of several existing scripts to come up with a new one that is logical and simple (via).
According to Professor V Srinivas Chakravarthy, who developed the script and applied a patent for it, Indian languages are more logical compared to a lot of its counterparts, but Indian language scripts tend to be unreasonably complicated and ornate.
“Anyone who knows one of the major Indian scripts can learn Bharati script in an hour,” The report quoted Prof. Chakravarthy saying.
The Systems Development Laboratory (SDL) in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Madras has also developed Acharya, a multilingual computing platform. The website was developed as part of the Multilingual systems project and has been distributed free on the internet, with an intent to help users interact with computers in their own mother tongues.
These linguistics developments will come as a boon for a lot of users whose mother tongue may not be English. With the unified nature of the script, language interpretation and pattern recognition will become easier. If implemented at least in the public domain this language will come in very helpful for Indian travellers, travelling within India. Never again will any Indian travelling to other part of India have difficulty reading or at least recognizing public signs.
Inspite of these positive strides in linguistic development, we will have to wait and see what stance the government and other institutions will take on it.
Bangalore-based Tachyon Technologies, who has developed a number of products for Indic input, had recently launched Quillpad for developers. This application allows developers to provide vernacular text input on their websites. The application supports 9 Indian languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil or Telugu.
Another Bangalore based startup Reverie, has developed an SDK for application developers that will help them enable text display, typing and transliteration in multiple Indian languages. The SDKs are available for platforms like Android, J2ME, etc.