Making the Bengali Language More Digital World-friendly

Hiren Pandit
In the era of modern technology, the Bengali language should also be enriched with modern technology. Otherwise, Bangladesh will lag behind in the era of the progress of world civilization. Only February 21 can give Bengali the impetus to move forward. In order to sustain the language, linguists as well as states and technologists must be active. The country has to move forward by using technology in its mother tongue. Our positive side is that the technology-minded government is in power. Some government initiatives should be taken based on expert knowledge to make education and practice in the Bengali language sustainable using technology.
Work should be done to increase the use of the Bengali language in the digital world. The use of software and tools under the Bengali Language Improvement Project of the Department of Information and Communication Technology will create an opportunity for the globalization of the Bengali language in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. Bengali language learning and translation will be easier and better on digital devices.
Countries that are ahead in the innovation and application of information technology are all using their mother tongue in technology. China can be a great example in front of us. Chinese characters are extremely complex, but they don’t stop there. Today, the number of Internet users in China has long exceeded 50 million due to the use of the mother tongue in technology. However, although the Bengali language is practiced in technology in our country, there is a lack of good content in Bengali at the moment. Therefore, good content and mobile applications will be created in the mother tongue keeping in mind more than 186 million mobile phones, more than 130 million internet users and more than 50 million social media users in the country and if that is done, it will not only ensure economic activity and people-to-people communication, education and access to information and services but will also help to keep the mother tongue alive among the Bengalis.
Various dialogues and policy dialogues are being held in the presence of participants on the crisis and solutions of the use of Bengali script in the digital world. The discussion reveals that the Unicode Consortium has a role in the technical problems of the Bengali language and literature. This consortium has created such a complex situation in our language and instead of treating it as a separate language they have made our Bengali language follow Devanagari. It cost us dearly and posed a great challenge to the Bengalis. This is why we still have to fight with Nokta. But there is no dot in Bengali characters. If Unicode would have solved these problems by treating Bengali as Bengali, then the problems we are facing now would not have to be faced.
Policymakers point out that the wall between ASCII and Unicode has been broken down. Belatedly, Bangladesh joined the Unicode Consortium in 2010 under the leadership of the Bangladesh Computer Council. Still, the complexity of Unicode conversion is not the fault of Bengali speakers; This is Unicode’s fault. So, we are still fighting with Unicode. Concerned people and scholars think that the boys and girls of Bangladesh will win this war with their talent.
Due to the problem of the Bangla script three alphabet (Dha, Doybibindoro, Ontasta Ja) in Unicode, big data (big data) analysis, search engines, artificial intelligence and the internet of things are facing many problems. In the printing world, there is a difference in the size of the Bengali script with the English script. Variations in Chandrabindu can be observed in Bengali script using different Bengali software. The problem is obvious in the case of hyphenation. Bengali data mining is not yet on par with the industry. Language modeling appears to be quite a problem in the Bengali corpus. There needs to be a standard policy regarding the use of Bengali script. The use of Bengali script including a spell checker, dictionary, OCR etc. is being hindered. Instead of working on Bengali script on an ad hoc basis, the number of problems at the national, regional and international levels should be identified and solved quickly. Bangladesh Computer Council should be more vocal about these issues. The trend of language development should be kept alive by giving importance to the circulation of the Bengali language at all levels. Research, translation, terminology, pure language speaking and pronunciation, standard Bengali spelling, language policy etc. play a very significant role in the development of our mother tongue Bengali. The changed form of the mother tongue Bengali will one day make it the working language of the United Nations and Bengali will be the official language of the United Nations. In this way, Bengali language will create a deep and vast sphere of influence on globalization.
Bengali is the mother tongue of 350 million people in the world, the national language and the official language of Bangladesh. The Bengali language is widely used in government offices-courts, private offices, knowledge and science practice centers, and educational institutions of all levels and different levels of the national and social life of Bangladesh. Professionals, intellectuals, and thinkers all use the Bengali language in different ways in their thinking, thinking and working life. It is a matter of great joy, happiness and pride. Because language is not static but mobile. It flows like a flowing river over the two banks at a furious speed. On the way, various materials are collected from various places which enrich the language. Therefore, the multidimensionality and variety of languages continue to increase day after day, year after year, and time after time. Over the ages, the language is enriched. Changed and expanded into new forms and shapes.
Bengali is a very rich language. Its vocabulary is endless. There is variety and sweetness. A modest Bengali language is needed for educated society, teachers and mass media. If the teachers themselves cannot speak Bengali well then the students have no chance to learn. Before ensuring the use of the Bengali language at all levels, it is important to check whether we can speak and write Bengali properly. Those who write in Bengali know how difficult it is to construct Bengali sentences grammatically and write Bengali words in the correct spelling. First, how many things do we have to bring under legal obligation? We want Bengali to be introduced at all levels, and the Bengali language to get proper status but it will not be possible if we do not get out of this colonial attitude. The people of Bangladesh are constantly struggling with the spirit of the supreme sacrifice of February 21, 1952, in a great vow to establish the Bengali language. The independence movement started around the demand for this language. Armed struggle was conducted in this context; Our great freedom has been achieved. The struggle to establish the Bengali language in the world never stopped. Finally, in November 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO recognized February 12th as ‘International Mother Language Day’ in response to the appeal of Bengali youth living abroad and the initiative of the Bangladesh government. Then on May 16, 2000, it was decided that every country in the world should celebrate the mother tongue with due dignity. It is stated that the goal will be to create opportunities for the protection and representation of all human languages worldwide. This is a great achievement of the language-loving Bengali nation.
The trend of language development should be kept alive by giving importance to the use of the Bengali language at all levels. Research, translation, terminology, pure language speaking and pronunciation, standard Bengali spelling, language policy etc. play a very significant role in the development of our mother tongue Bengali. The changed form of the mother tongue Bengali will one day make it the working language of the United Nations and Bengali will be the official language of the United Nations. And in this way, the Bengali language will create a deep and vast sphere of influence on globalization. By establishing itself as an international language, the literature of all the speaking people of the world will make the cultural arena more vibrant. On International Mother Language Day, we express the firm commitment of all the countries of the world to protect the dignity of their respective mother tongues and to collectively resist any colonial pressure, plotting and language pollution, the main task of all language lovers.
We are passing through the fourth industrial revolution. At this time, if we cannot eliminate the crisis in the use of Bengali script in the digital world, then the Bengali language will lose popularity among future generations. Culture works on the human soul. February twenty-one has created a culture zone of our own. Our pride through language movement is victory through freedom war. The main demand in the language movement was to preserve the mother tongue Bengali. But that was not the only purpose. Otherwise, the movement would not have survived even after the victory in the mother tongue movement. Arguably, gaining independence was also the main objective. Bengali has always been the language of the people of this country. But the language of the rulers before 71 was always different.
Before 1947, there were almost two hundred years of English. Before that, sometimes Sanskrit, sometimes Persian or European language people ruled this country. If we had failed to achieve the final victory on February 22, 1947, with the language movement 1947, people of foreign or different languages might still be ruling.
Bangladesh has now managed to create a respectable and strong position on the world map. The name Bangladesh is being used loudly in world politics; Bangladesh is a development model today. In the new world, Bangladesh is facing new challenges and successfully tackling them efficiently. We should always move forward with nationalism and consciousness. Bengalis have never lost in the past and will never lose in the future. With the cooperation of all, regardless of party affiliation, we have to make Bangladesh stand tall among the nations of the world.
Bangladesh is the only country in the world where people have to shed blood and die for the right to speak their own language. We are the only brave nation that faced a trained, well-equipped army and defeated them. The British government granted independence to Pakistan on 14 August 1947. But the Pakistani ruling group continued to exploit the people of Bengal culturally, politically and economically. Only 8% of Urdu-speaking people declared Urdu as the state language of Pakistan while more than 56% were Bengali-speaking. The people of Bengal strongly protested this decision.
Such examples of establishing the national status of the mother tongue through bloody struggle are rare in the world. Not only in the history of Bangladesh but February 21 was also recognized by UNESCO as ‘International Mother Language Day’ and since 2000, the observance of the day in 193 countries that are members of the United Nations has made the language movement a glorious chapter in world history.
Bangabandhu addressed the United Nations in Bengali and arranged for his language to gain international recognition. By speaking in Bengali, Bangabandhu not only introduced the Bengali language to the world community but also conveyed the message of establishing the dignity of the mother tongue in exchange for the self-sacrifice of Bengalis through the individual characteristics of Bengalis and the language-based nationalist movement.
But to establish the status of the language that so much movement, so much sacrifice that language is sustainable today? Not only in Bangladesh, but in many countries of the world, the number of people who have forgotten their mother tongue is gradually increasing. A significant number of educated youth in our country find Bengali more difficult than English. Due to the encroachment of the English language, the languages of many countries are now in a crisis of existence. The main goal now is to ensure that Bangla can be written with Vijay on all types of computer devices and operating systems in Bangladesh. This is why we are working with this software.
Mr. Mostafa Jabbar, Minister, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication division, the creator of Bengali writing software Bijay, said that on December 16, 1988, Bijay was used for Bengali writing on a computer for the first time. Technically Bijay is an interface. This program does the task of writing Bengali using any other writing software. Victory has maintained its popularity since its inception. Victory Layout is used in nearly 100% of professional work today. This software has been updated in keeping with the change and development of technology, but we have to make our Bengali language more technology friendly.
1952 to 2023 has been 71 years. Bangladesh has faced many big obstacles during this time, but we have overcome them and we are still standing upright and as long as we remember our history and culture, we will remain indomitable. As long as we remember our past, present and future, no one can stop Bangladesh.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher

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