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Just a step, still miles to go: Doley

Just a step, still miles to go: Doley

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 Sep 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Move to digitalize Assamese scripts

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Sept 6: The elephantine task of making the Assamese language available in the digital world by making its inclusion into the intertiol standard organization (ISO) possible has gone a step further with the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) accepting Dispur’s proposal to send it to the ISO. However, there are still miles to go on the issue as it has to be raised at the intertiol level with supporting arguments.

AGP MLA Prafulla Kumar Mahanta raised the issue in the House on Wednesday. He said that Assamese scripts have to be digitalized or else the language would remain unknown in the world. “Bengali scripts will be known as ours at the intertiol level,” Mahanta said.

Replying to the question, State Cultural Affairs Minister ba Kumar Doley said: “Unicode is the standard of languages, scripts, alphabets and diacritical marks. At present Unicode doesn’t have separate scripts for the Assamese language. The Bengali scripts are also taken as Assamese scripts. It has been a long-standing demand from Assam to ensure separate Assamese scripts in Unicode. Unicode is a private or industrial sector standard organization. The government sector organization is Intertiol Standard Organization (ISO). A language can be included into the ISO-10646 code from India through its agency BIS. We’ve long been trying to persuade the BIS for the inclusion of Assamese into the ISO, without much success. We had to put pressure on the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and BIS repeatedly, but to no avail. We had several meetings with the BIS involving representatives from the State Department of Cultural Affairs, Information and Technology, Gauhati University, Cotton College, Axam Xahitya Xabha (AXX) and ABILAC at Delhi. At every meeting we did ask the BIS to send our proposal to the ISO for the inclusion of the Assamese language into ISO so as to make it digitalize. After a lot of discussion through semirs and workshops, Dispur sent its proposal to the BIS’ Delhi office on February 26, 2016 for the inclusion of the Assamese language into ISO. Unfortutely, BIS sent back the proposal seeking amendment to the proposal. We reasserted our stand and had a meeting with the BIS on August 23, 2017. The BIS at that meeting accepted our proposal to send it to the ISO. This is, indeed, a step forward towards the goal. We’ve, however, miles to go as we have to face a debate with argumentation for the inclusion of our language into ISO at the intertiol level. Dispur is closely monitoring the development so as to make Assamese scripts available in the digital world.”

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