From: prnakkeeran keeran <prnakkeeran@yahoo.co.in>
Date: Nov 1, 2010 3:20:47 PM
Subject: Feedback on Grantha Unicode Committee meeting minutes - reg.
To: slata@mit.gov.in
Dear Dr. Swaran Latha,
Thank you for sending me the minutes of the Grantha Unicode Committee meeting.  Though the letter asks to provide a feedback by October 25th, I didn't receive the minutes until last Friday (October 29th.)  I am providing this feedback at the earliest in light of the sensitivity of the document.
1. As the meeting minutes accurately observe that unification of Grantha with Tamil is sensitive and made the right decision in encoding Grantha separately.  However, the unification of Tamil with Grantha is equally sensitive and encoding Tamil letters that are not part of the Granthasc-ript and creating Tamil like glyphs in Grantha is equally worrisome.
2. Adding characters that are native to Tamilsc-ript but not part of the Granthasc-ript can potentially lead to confusion when digitizing ancient Tamil insc-riptions that have Grantha characters mixed in or Grantha insc-riptions that mixTamil characters sometimes even in the same word.  To accurately record this type of insc-riptions, one needs to encode Grantha characters in Granthasc-ript and Tamil characters in native Tamilsc-ript.  However, adding Grantha equivalents for Tamil or Dravidian characters for transc-ription purposes has the potential to either leave out the important information on the source Dravidian language (Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada etc.,) or have both glyphs present in the same document from both Tamil and Granthasc-ripts where disambiguation becomes difficult for an archivist.
3. The essential character of Granthasc-ript is to encode Sanskrit.  That is its historical role and even in its modern usage it is only used to write Sanskrit.  Where there is a need to represent Tamil characters, as in Manipravala commentaries, the writers have always used Tamilsc-ript to render Tamil characters.  I would urge you to reconsider the opinions of scholars who were concerned about the non-Sanskrit characters in Grantha and consider removing these from the recommendation to the Unicode Technical Committee.
4. Some of the glyphs that were added to the Grantha character set to represent Dravidian characters are similar to old Tamil characters that followed the rule from Tolkappiyam grammar and added a puLLi above the short vowels and this could also misleading in the historical sense.  Again to avoid the need to disambiguate such instances, I'd strongly urge you to drop the addition of Tamil/Dravidian characters in the Grantha character set.
5. From the minutes it is not obvious that there is any practical need or use case where there is a need to transcribe Tamil or English characters in the Dravidian characters that were added.  Since Grantha is essentially an historicalsc-ript that was used to write Sanskrit and is currently being used to transliterate texts in Devanagari, such innovations as the addition of new characters is unnecessary and confusing besides being sensitive.
I am sorry that this feedback comes to a little late but not too late for the Unicode Technical committee meeting that is scheduled to meet on November 6th, 2010.  I strongly urge you to consider dropping the Tamil/Dravidian characters that were added to Grantha character set and submit a revised proposal to the Unicode Technical Committee.  I would appreciate if you can confirm your decision as soon as possible as there is a need to address this sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu with accurate facts.
Best Regards,
P.R. Nakkeeran,
Tamil Virtual Academy

முனைவர் ப. அர. நக்கீரன், B.E., MSc. (Engg.)., Ph.D.,
இயக்குனர், தமிழ் இணையக்கல்விக்கழகம், சென்னை - 600 113
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