|Grantha Script @
Grantha Script is an ancient traditional script used to write Sanskrit . Grantha was used extensively in South India to write Sanskrit even as early as the 1900’s. However, due to the emergence of Devanagari as the common script for Sanskrit in India, Grantha lost its dominance. Its current usage is mainly restricted to Vedic Pathashalas and perhaps Manuscript libraries. It has no official encoding as of now. However, off late there have been proposals for encoding Grantha Script into Unicode, which might actually help in the revival of the script.
Indolipi : e-Grantamil
As Grantha is not encoded in Unicode, one of the temporary solutions is to use a package called Indolipi, created by “Elmar Kniprath”. The Indolipi package contains a Open Type Unicode font for Grantha. However, Grantha is hack-encoded into the Bengali code point range. So, in the absence of the specific Grantha font, the Grantha Text could appear as Bengali Text. However, the Mapping is not one to one. There are a few variations. For example. the Grantha Retroflex La (ळ) is mapped to Assamese ra [Bengali letter ra with diagonal]. The Converter uses this custom encoding for the Grantha Script. Please use the updated e-Grantamil font for viewing Grantha Texts. The new version of e-Grantamil font has new characters such as “Grantha Nukta”, and some characters have been remapped. The text created with the new version of the font, is incompatible with the old version.
Display Issues in Windows 7
Windows 7 does not render all the Script blocks present in the Same font. The other blocks in the font, get a fallback rendering.This is due to a bug in the Windows 7 Unicode rendering. Since e-Grantamil has both Tamil & Grantha blocks, Grantha text may not be rendered properly, to overcome this switch to the Grantha-only font e-Grantha OT of the Indolipi package.
The Indolipi Grantha fonts have issues with severals versions of the Uniscribe, which affects the rendering of conjunct characters (especially with vowel sign i and ii). If some conjuncts are not displayed properly a, it is probably due to incompatibility with the Uniscribe Engine. If you face any Uniscribe related issues, please update to the latest version of e-Grantamil font.
There are several other Truetype fonts that exist for Grantha Script.
Features of Grantha Script
Grantha has been originally restricted to write Sanskrit only. However, with the changing of Times, there is need to write non-Sanskrit letters also in Grantha. Hence, a nukta has been proposed on par with the other Indic Scripts. This creates the ability to extend the Grantha script to represent foreign sounds. As a native user of Grantha, I feel it is great for an archaic script to update itself to represent modern sounds. The proposed arbitrary shape for Grantha Nukta is similar in shape to the Kannada Nukta
Extended Grantha Consonants for q, f & w by extending k,ph,v respectively
Sample Sanskrit Text
अनिरोधम् अनुत्पादम् अनुच्छेदम् अशाश्वतम् ।
अनेकार्थम् अनानार्थम् अनागमम् अनिर्गमम् ॥
यः प्रतीत्यसमुत्पादं प्रपञ्चोपशमं शिवम् ।
देशयामास संबुद्धस्तं वन्दे वदतां वरम् ॥
অনিরোধম্ অনুত্পাদম্ অনুচ্ছেদম্ অশাশ্ৱতম্ |
অনেকার্থম্ অনানার্থম্ অনাগমম্ অনির্গমম্ ||
যঃ প্রতীত্যসমুত্পাদং প্রপঞ্চোপশমং শিৱম্ |
দেশযামাস সংবুদ্ধস্তং ৱন্দে ৱদতাং ৱরম্ ||