GUWAHATI, July 2 - Script expert Dr Satish Chandra Bhattacharyya has alleged that it was because of the failure of the Assam government to prevail upon the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) to present the case of Assamese script in its proper perspectives before the Unicode Consortium that has deprived the Assamese script of its due status as an independent script in the Consortium.
Talking to this newspaper, Dr Bhattacharyya, who is studying the Assamese script for the past over four decades and is involved in the efforts to wrest the due recognition to this script in the Unicode Consortium for the past about one decade, said it is the duty of the State government to furnish every detail of the Assamese script to the Union Department of Electronics and Information Technology and the BIS in this respect.
The Union department concerned informed the State government of its opinion on the Assamese script in August, 2011. This was followed by two meetings at the Janata Bhawan and a workshop in the Department of Information Technology, Gauhati University. Participants of both the functions deliberated upon the issue in minute details.
But the Assam government failed to prevail upon the BIS to present the case of the Assamese script in its proper perspective before the Unicode Consortium. At a Unicode internet forum discussion held after receipt of the BIS proposal advocating a separate slot for the script, ISO members and Registrar of the Unicode Consortium, while rejecting the BIS proposal, made some very objectionable remarks about the uniqueness of the Assamese script. The Registrar of the Consortium had gone to the extent of saying: "They have never been able to show the difference (between the Bengali and the Assamese scripts) to anyone in SC 2 (Script Committee 2) because there is no difference," said Dr Bhattacharyya quoting media reports.
Against the developments cited above it was very difficult for the Assamese script to secure its due recognition .The renaming of Assamese script as Bengali/Assamese by the London meet of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Working Group 2, contradicts the history of the independent and unique growth of the Assamese script.
"As indicated by the attitude of the Unicode Consortium authorities, we don't foresee any immediate solution to our two-decade-old problem. The only way left for securing the desired slot for our script in the computer world is to make the BIS proceed more convincingly.
"While thanking the present and the former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha and other members of the delegation for going all the way to London for the purpose of securing the due status to our script, I feel that there is no use inviting the world body members to see the Asam Sahitya Sabha session, which would, in all probability, provide them an opportunity for passing more objectionable remarks on our proposal and ridicule the Assamese people as they had done earlier. To sum up, the ball is again in the court of the Information Technology Department, Government of Assam," said Dr Bhattacharyya.