By Amaninder Sharma, TNN
PATIALA: Bringing down the script barrier between 25 lakh Sindhis in India and four crore in Pakistan, a first-of-its-kind software will enable Sindhis settled on both sides of the border to read each others’ literature despite the different scripts.
The yet-to-be-launched software has been developed by Punjabi researchers in Punjabi University, Patiala and Manchester University, England.
Despite having the same language, Sindhis residing on both sides of the border could not read each others’ literature since Pakistani Sindhis use Perso-Arabic script and those in India follow the Devnagari script.
The software, which is in trial stage, will remove this barrier as it will transliterate Perso-Arabic Sindhi into Devnagari and vice-versa.
“Like Punjabis, Sindhis also follow two scripts. Hence, the immense need to remove this language barrier. We had begun work on this project in March, last year. A Punjabi scholar form Manchester University is also collaborating on this,” said Dr GS Lehal of Punjabi University, coordinator of the project.
Dr Lehal said that the software will be equipped with over one crore Sindhi words in Perso-Arabic script and around 50 lakh Sindhi words in Devnagari script.
“Word bank of Sindhi words in Devnagari is smaller as the volume of Sindhi literature published in India is much less than that in Perso-Arabic. We found soft copies of numerous Sindhi magazines, newspapers and books published in Perso-Arabic script. These words were converted into data bank. Besides, there is dictionary of over 25,000 basic words, which is part of the word pool,” he added.
He said that phase I of the project is complete, which means that software has the capacity to transliterate with 90% accuracy. “We will launch it after we achieved accuracy rate of 95%, which likely in the next few months”, he added.
Till 1850s, Sindhi was written in several scripts including Perso-Arabic and Gurmukhi by people of different religions residing in Sindh province of Pakistan. “However, in 1850s, a special committee constituted by British mandated use of Perso-Arabic script to write Sindhi, said Dr Lehal. The practice continued till 1947, when large number of Sindhis migrated to India and settled in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Shortly after Partition, Indian Sindhis adopted the Devnagari script.