NEW DELHI, June 6 - The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has decided to forward the proposal for a separate Assamese code chart to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that is scheduled to meet in London later this month.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the BIS held here today. The ISO is meeting in London from June 18 to 22. A two-member Indian delegation comprising K Manikandan and Dr Sikhar Sarma will attend the meeting, it was decided today.
The meeting of the BIS was attended by Amtron managing director Dr MK Yadav, Assam State culture department joint secretary Partha Majumdar, Prof Sikhar Sarma, Dilip Kumar Kalita and Asam Sahitya Sabha president Paramananda Rajbongshi, among others.
On August 23 last, the BIS had formally accepted the proposal of a separate Assamese code chart submitted by the Assam government. The BIS had committed that the proposal would be submitted to the ISO for consideration and acceptance as international standard.
The London meeting of the ISO will clear the decks for separate Unicode standards for the Assamese script. Till now, the Assamese script does not have its separate identity in the digital world and shares the Bengali script codes.
Though the BIS does not provide Unicode, it is a member of the ISO that provides Unicode.
The State government had submitted that Assamese is a historically evolved script with its own set of characters and symbols representing written texts. But the non-inclusion of this in Unicode and ISO standards has triggered problems in using the language in computers.
During the initial days of digital standards for the Indian languages in the first Indian Script Code for Information Interchange (ISCII), released by the BIS in December 1991, a clear mention was made of the Assamese script.
The ISCII document released by the BIS clearly mentioned that the northern scripts are Devanagari, Punjabi, Gujarati, Odiya, Bengali and Assamese, while the southern scripts are Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil, an official, who did not wish to be identified, said.
�However, in all subsequent standards like the ISO and Unicode, the Assamese script has not been included,� said the official, who is on the panel constituted by the Assam government to push its case for a separate slot on the Unicode.