Thursday, August 6, 2009

Typedesign set

It's been quite sometime that I posted any information about my project.
Currently I am finishing my type design and will start the documentation in a week or so. Here is the final refined set that I have made in Illustrator.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

found this article on basic type design

I am done with my character set for the typeface and now doing the refinement. While looking for some information on inktraps, I found this article on basic type design ... Unfortunately it's not very detailed ... but still proved to be informative in terms of size and inktrap relation.

the link: fontshop

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

figuring out fontlab

I am trying to give sometime figuring out fontlab so that later things don't get complicated. Found some tutorials in vimeo so thought would post them.  I have downloaded 1 month trial version with tutorials,  Fontlab seems a bit difficult... if anyone knows of related tutorials please post a link.

Friday, May 15, 2009

bell centennial

While deciding on the character for my typeface, I came across this nice article about Bell centennial typeface. Though I knew that it was designed by Matthew Carter  to be used in telephone directories. There are some amazing properties of Bell Centennial that still amazes me. The Link: bellCentennial

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ol Chikki in public

Ol chikki writing can be spotted in tribal populated regions. The above one is a book store in Karandih a santhali populated area in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.

santhali village

Field visit to Jharkhand

Though my initial plan was to cover up the three states Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal, but considering my timeframe I decided to talk to people in Jharkhand and take that as the reference model. My main aim from this field visit was to know the santhali language and the script. And to collect information about the santhali culture and how different areas like language, art, dance and script function in santhal community today. 

 A number of views were there for Ol Chiki; while the people from lower strata of society vehemently support it others have a mixed opinion. There is a clear difference in the demand for the script and it being used among the tribal people. There are publications in Ol Chiki but the sale remains low, of course there are other issues like content and quality of publication that need to be looked into.  As the literate santhali people are taught in three different scripts and languages (Hindi, Bangla and Oriya) adapting to a new script seems a difficult task for them. A few see Ol Chiki as a hindrance for santhali literature. Though the governments of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa have recognized santhali language the Ol Chiki script is only recognized in West Bengal. There are proposals for starting Ol Chiki medium schools in santhali-populated regions of Jharkhand and West Bengal. But as these areas lie in the remote places and the effort mostly remains at a very hypothetical level. Lack of teachers is just one of the hindrances, irregular payment of salary to these teachers makes it even more difficult. People who are willing to learn Ol Chiki mostly do it by self-initiative or do it at college level when they have already made some other script as their primary script to write santhali, because of this people who can read Ol Chiki fluently remains a questionable number. There are publications in the market which remain a one-way in­teraction between people who know Ol Chiki. As there is very less communication and interaction in santhali between people language and script both remain a week state. Many people only interact in santhali at home.

 A constant flow of Ol Chiki literature, text and santhali language needs to be created among the people. Both language as well as script needs to be practiced. 

 Education is regarded as a step to better economic condition and getting good government jobs among the tribal. If a child attends school, parents expect him/her to get a good government job and support the family. At present Ol Chiki and santhali medium schools don't provide much of a job opportunity. The government of Jharkhand has made it compulsory in JPSC for tribal people to know their mother tongue and be able to write it either in their script or devanagari. All India Radio broadcasts santhali and other tribal languages on a regular basis. Recent agitations from tribal unions have made it difficult for santhali writers to write in other scripts especially in bengal. Introduction of Ol Chiki has made it difficult for elder writers( who do not know Ol Chiki) to learn the script and then write  There is a good job opportunity for translators who can write and convert These into Ol Chiki.

 As the santhali population located mainly in three different states, for a same object there are different names influenced from the main language of that state. People tend to use these words from other languages in santhali. It works fine for people in the same region but creates problem in the other regions. Santhali as a language has a defined structure but lacks words and a standardized literature. This can be directly related to lack of santhali teaching from a primary level. New words need to be made from the santhali grammar and people need to be made aware of it.

The santhali culture is based on the oral tradition, there are number festivals and for each there is a different folk song with dance. Now mostly isolated in villages. There isn’t much done to show it to the outside world. Tribal do it for their own recreation.

 A santhali house stands out from other tribal houses. It is heavily decorated with different colored natural soil and their villages are distinctly cleaner. The walls are decorated with different motifs. Nowadays the art of wall painting is on a decline. Instead of elaborate figure drawings of animals, plants and human beings, simpler motifs are made. People living in 'pukka' houses don't make them nowadays. 

 There seem an emotional connection in regarding the script as their own (tribals). The script has been accepted as it is. It can be used to write pure santhali words, but scripts gets limited when it is used to write words from other languages. As the interaction among these four languages everyday, the script can be further developed to incorporate others phonation also. This will help in further development of language and the writing system.   


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Demography of santhals

The santhal population is mainly concentrated in the four states namely Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam. A significant number of santhali speaking population also lives in Bangladesh and Nepal( jhappa, morang and sunsari districts).  After looking onto a number of sites I finally found this on the most obvious one the wikipedia and the 2001 population census. 

 I BIHAR                     total population     santhals    percentage

  DEOGARH            9,33,113   NA                      

  DHANBAD            26,74,651  2,40,718   9

  DUMKA              14,95,709  5,68,370  38

  GIRIDIH            22,25,480  3,56,077  16

  GODDA               8,61,182  1,20,565  14

  HAZARIBAGH         16,01,576    64,063   4

  KATIHAR            18,25,380  1,09,522   6

  KODARMA             6,29,264    37,755   6

  PASCHIM SINGHBHUM  17,87,955  1,78,795  10

  PURBI SINGHBHUM    16,13,088    NA  

  PURNIA             18,78,885    93,944   5

  SAHIBGANJ           7,36,835  3,09,471  42



 BALASORE            16,96,583  1,69,658  10

 BHADRAK             11,05,834    33,175   3 

 CUTTACK                  NA  

 DHENKANAL                NA  

 KEONJHAR            13,37,026     NA  

 KHURDA                   NA  

 MAYURBHANJ          18,84,580  5,67,282  28

 SUNDARGARH               NA  



 TRIPURA                           2,200 


 BANKURA             28,05,065  3,36,607  12

 BARDHAMAN           60,50,605  3,63,036   6

 BIRBHUM              25,55,66  1,53,340   6

 WEST(N&S)DINAJPUR   12,00,924  1,80,138  15

 JALPAIGURI          28,00,543     NA  

 MALDAH              26,37,032  1,84,592   7

 MEDINIPUR           83,31,919  13,33,107 16

 PURULIA             22,24,577  3,33,686  15


 ASSAM                 NA       2,00,000

It shows that the total population of santhals is 60,50,000.
The total population of santhal in west Bengal in percentage with respect to the total ST population is 51.6%(2001 census). Total literacy rate is 42.2% while the male and female is 57% and 27%.

Living tongue

Started by a few Americans this NGO's prime focus is to document, revitalize and maintain the endangered languages.  There website sates the current situation of languages today.

"Minority languages are being increasingly replaced by various politically, economically, or socio-culturally dominant ones. Every two weeks the last fluent speaker of a language passes on and with him/her goes literally hundreds of generations of traditional knowledge encoded in these ancestral tongues. Nearly half of the world’s languages are likely to vanish in the next 100 years"

The organisation is involved in documenting  Munda languages also. According to them the Munda languages of India are among the most poorly known of the world’s languages. Spoken by so-called ‘tribals’ primarily in the eastern and central India states of Jharkhand and Orissa, with enclaves in adjacent states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. Despite representing the oldest known layer of population in India, predating the Dravidian and Indo-Aryan peoples that dominate the area today, the linguistic relatives of the Munda in the large Austroasiatic language family are to be found in remote mountainous regions scattered across southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, southern China, in addition to the far eastern Indian regions of Meghalaya and the Nicobar Islands), as well as the national languages of Cambodia and Vietnam.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


My project on type design has begun,  today my job was to look into how the Hebrew language and script was revived in the last century. Revival of Hebrew language took place in Europe and Israel in the end of the 19th and in the 20th century. 

If we speak chronologically the entire Hebrew language timeline can be divided into four categories, 
  1. Biblical Hebrew: Hebrew was used in the synagogues. Aramaic was commonly used.
  2. Mishnaic Hebrew: Rabbinic Hebrew, Talmud and Midrosh around 2nd century AD.
  3. Medieval Hebrew: used to translate Arabic works into Hebrew.
  4. Modern Hebrew: rebirth of Hebrew as a spoken language under Eliezar-Ben-Yehuda.
Here I will mostly write about the Modern Hebrew and Eliezar-Ben-Yehuda

Eliezar-Ben-Yehuda was is the man who is credited to for single handedly reviving the modern hebrew language. Born in 1858 in a small village in Lithuania. He began learning Hebrew at a very tender age. As he excelled in his studies, He was sent to Talmudi Academy  in a hope of becoming a Rabbi... More on him can be read from
 The reason why he is famous, is because He formulated several theories to popularize the hebrew Language out of all those Three are important:
  • Hebrew in Home
Ben-Yehuda after immigration to Palestine decided to only speak in Hebrew. When his first son was born he made sure to that the child only learned the Hebrew language and nothing else hence making the child as the first of all-hebrew speaking child in modern history.
  • Hebrew in school
He also proposed that rabbis and teachers should use hebrew as the language of instruction in the jewish schools in palestine. Revival could succeed especially and perhaps only if the younger generation could speak hebrew fluently. Apart from imparting education to children he also made sure to increase hebrew literacy  among adults by publishing low cost hebrew newspapers.
  • words,words,words 
As the spoken form hebrew was lost for 16 centuries till it was revived again, a lot new words had to be formulated. Initially to increase the vocabulary in hebrew he coined a few word on his own and let others also do so. In 1890 he formed the Hebrew Language Council to channelize the the process.

To draw a parallel with the Ol Chikki script and it's language Santhali. The population of Santhali people is about 50 million out of which only 10-30% of population knows how to write in Santhali. Due to it's similarity with bengali many writers are comfortable in writing it in bengali, also during the british rule the language was romanized and was thus also written in latin script. There are similar ways through which the written form of the language can be popularized only this time the context is different. right now for propagation of the script a few things that I could come up with are:-
  • doing a small publication on the folk tales of the santhals (from suresh).
  • adding Ol Chikki subtitles to the ever popular films.( from Ranjan)
  • Local channels can start Ol Chikki language programs or at least news. 
  • santhali newspapers.