Mangaluru, Apr 04 2018: Speaking after releasing the first book printed in Tulu script ‘Sri Hari Stuti’ at the Dhyana Mandira of Sharada Vidyalaya, in Mangaluru, Udupi Shiroor mutt seer Sri Lakshmivara Teertha Swami said, "There is a need to develop a technological interface to transfer the knowledge hidden in the palm leaf inscriptions engraved in Tulu script, into digital mode,"
The seer further said it was a high time to revive the Tulu script. Today, Tulu script is almost extinct, owing to negligence. Though Tulu is used as a communication language from Udupi to Kasargod, the script is less focussed upon. As a result, the Tulu script has ceased from usage. People of Kerala, long back accepted and developed Tigalari script into Malayalam script, which continues to be in circulation.
The seer recalled that earlier, he had chalked up a project of digitising the manuscripts but the effort was not fruitful, as the scanners could not recognise Tulu script. “An advanced software is needed to be built to recognise the Tulu script engraved in palm leaves,” said the seer.
Tulu Jnati Padakosha editor Dr Padmanabha Kekunnaya said that when the vedic scholars from Tulunadu moved to Kerala, they preferred Tulu script over Malayalam script to write down vedic hymns as Tulu script had all vowels and consonants. These writings were in manuscripts as there was no printing technology.
Dr Padmanabha further said that when Basel Mission entered Dakshina Kannada in 1826, they brought printing technology along with them and developed Kannada typography for printing Kannada and Tulu works.
"However, they did not prepare a separate typography for Tulu and the works of Tulu language were printed in Kannada fonts and gradually the use of Tulu script faded away," Kekunnaya added.
"Developer of Sri Hari font Nishkal Rao said that the book contains Sanskrit hymns in Tulu script. The book is made available in bilingual form. The Kannada version of the hymns is also printed along with Tulu script for a finer reference," he further said.
Sharada Education Institutions Chairman Prof M B Puranik launched the e-book version of ‘Sri Hari Stuti’. The e-Book can be accessed www.thetulufont.com.
The book was prepared by Nishkal Rao and his younger brother Nischit Rao, class nine and class six students of Sharada Vidyalaya, Mangaluru. They were guided by Experts K P Rao and Dr Kadri Prabhakar Adiga.