Karunanidhi opposes encoding of Tamil alphabets

Saturday, November 6, 2010

CHENNAI - The Tamil Nadu government has decided to constitute a panel to deliberate on the issues involved in encoding Tamil alphabets in unicode standard and has requested the central government to advise the Unicode Consortium to defer its earlier recommendation.

In a letter to Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Saturday said: “The Tamil Nadu government would like to constitute a high level committee to hold wider consultations and make recommendations on the proposal.”

The copy of the letter released to the media here said: “The government of Tamil Nadu has come to know that the government of India (department of information technology) has sent a communication to the Unicode Consortium, proposing to encode Indian heritage scripts (Vedic, Sanskrit and Grantha) in the unicode standard, so that ancient knowledge could be represented on electronic media, computers and internet.”

The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data. The unicode standard is a character coding system designed to support the worldwide interchange, processing, and display of the written texts in different scripts.

According to Karunanidhi, the proposal has raised considerable concern among a cross-section of the Tamil community.

“They have indicated that sufficient consultations have not taken place with eminent Tamil language scholars, before submitting the proposal,” the letter said.

Since the proposal has gone from government of India to the Unicode Consortium, it may be desirable for the minister to advise Unicode Consortium, to defer consideration of this proposal, pending wider and in-depth considerations among various scholars and stakeholders.

“I would appreciate if I am kept informed of the developments in this matter,” the chief minister said.

Raja is a senior member of the DMK party headed by Karunanidhi.

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