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.