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Dr Satyakam Phukan
Date of Publish: 2017-04-15

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THE ASSAMESE SCRIPT IN INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

All the scripts of the world are included in certain International Standards. Although the extent of these standards is international, the agencies maintaining these are not all international in character. Three names are mentionable among those Standards.

ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation)

This is an organisation formed by representatives of most of the countries of the world, for determining standards in various fields.

These standards named by the prefix ISO, are numbered by numbers unique to the particular standard, this organization maintains Standards in many diverse fields. Among them are several Standards related to the Scripts of this world. Bureau of Indian Standards (B.I.S) represents the Government of India, in this international forum.

ISO 15924:

ISO 15924 standards determines the names of the scripts included in the ISO Standard, there is no script called Assamese in this standard.

ISO 10646:

The ISO 10646 standard, details the characters of the recognised scripts included in Standard. This ISO Standard is synchronised with the Unicode Standard. Assamese characters are included within the Bengali code chart in a grossly distorted manner. By this inclusion the misconception is being publicised worldwide, that Assamese language is written by Bengali script. So by using this Bengali code chart of ISO 10646/Unicode Standard, many Assamese characters can be typed in computers, but apart from typing no other functions for Assamese can be done. Typed characters may look like Assamese but their Code inside is all Bengali.

ISO 15919:

This is the transliteration standard of the Indic or Indian scripts (International Standard for Indic Scripts Transliteration). Here Assamese transliteration is depicted like the Bengali.

Unicode Standard:

This standard is prepared by an American (US) company named Unicode Consortium or Unicode Incorporated. Its international status and acceptability is maintained due to its synchronisation with the ISO-10646 Standard. By a strange unexplainable attitude taken by the officials of this organisation, they want to convince the world that “There is no script called Assamese, Assamese language is written by Bengali script”. The main person behind the propagation of this misconception is a person named Michael Everson, he holds dual citizenship of both United States of America and the Republic of Ireland.

ALA-LC Romanization Table:

This standard is maintained by the United States of America government's Library of Congress. They maintain a Romanization or Transliteration chart of different languages of the world. There is a chart for the Assamese also, which is exactly similar with the chart for Bengali. They also have the same arrogant attitude shown by the Unicode Consortium and refuse to get it corrected in spite of the gross error being pointed out to them.

MAIN POINTS

On the sad plight of the Assamese Script in ISO, Unicode ALA-LC and other Standards, some progress has taken place due to individual efforts of some persons. Among them can be named the author of this piece, Pastor Aziz-ul Haque, Dr Sikhar Sarma, Mr Ambeswar Gogoi, Dr Dilip Kalita, Dr Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, Mr Durlav Gogoi and Dr Paramananda Rajbangsi. Lately many steps have been taken from the side of the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) for inclusion of the Assamese script in the ISO Standards. The matter in Assam is in the hands of the Department of Information Technology, Government of Assam, if the Government of Assam does not do the needful everything will be in vain. If Assamese script could not be given its due place in the International Standards, the application of Assamese script and language in computers will be crippled forever. The Government of Assam on February 26, 2016, had sent a Proposal to the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards), Government of India seeking a separate encoding for the Assamese script in the ISO Standard. Regrettably enough due to activities of many influential officials of the Department of Information Technology and others having a mindset of not recognising the uniqueness of the Assamese script and its requirement of a separate encoding, the Government of India has still not accepted the Proposal of the Government of Assam. Much needs to be done for the Government of India to accept the Proposal of the Government of Assam. Hence it is necessary for all Assamese people to press upon the Government of Assam to work in this direction. In the links below of this author's website Satyakam Phukan's Webpages, all information and documents related to the Assamese script and International Standards are available in public domain.

https://drsatyakamphukan.wordpress.com/assamese-script-misrepresentations-in-international-standards/ https://drsatyakamphukan.wordpress.com/assamese-and-unicode/

https://drsatyakamphukan.wordpress.com/an-appeal-to-the-i-s-o-on-unicode/

https://drsatyakamphukan.wordpress.com/assamese-transliteration-scheme/

https://drsatyakamphukan.wordpress.com/roots-and-strings-of-the-assamese-language/

Dr Satyakam Phukan

( Dr Satyakam Phukan, a general surgeon by profession, is an independent researcher, writer and social activist based in Guwahati. He can be reached via titbit420@yandex.com or at (+91)9954046357 and (+91)7896773381. The views expressed are the Author's own. )

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