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Umar Thambi: Forgotten father of Tamil computing

Monday, June 21, 2010 10:21:19 AM, Agencies

Umar Thambi - Father of Tamil Computing

Coimbatore: His creative work has been accepted globally. But, he failed to get due recognition locally even after his death. He is Umar Thambi, the pioneer, who contributed to Unicode by developing fonts for Tamil computing.

Bringing to light Umar's pioneering effort at a press briefing in Coimbatore, M H Jawahirullah, state president, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) said that he had written a detailed letter to Chief Minister M Karunanidhi detailing the contributions made by Umar Thambi for the cause of Tamil computing.

Interestingly, Umar developed the Tamil fonts using Unicode for Tamil computing without any basic collegiate education.

It was Umar Thambi, who took the initiative to take Tamil worldwide through web format. Initially, Tamil remained as palmscripts and later in book form.

His Tamil fonts using Unicode system was well received by netizens across the globe.

Hailing from Adirampattinam in Thanjavur district, Umar was born on June 15, 1953 to Abdul Hameed and Rokkaiyya.

A bright student at Khader Moideen Higher Secondary School at his native place, Umar used to meddle with radio sets since he had a craze for electronics.

After his schooling, Umar left for Dubai in search of greener pastures. Even while working, he spared time to learn the basics of software and later started updating his knowledge on computer technology.

Back home in 2001, Umar devoted himself to software development.

Finally, Umar accomplished the mission of developing the fonts using Unicode for Tamil computing method.

Jawahirullah said that Umar Thambi had worked for the development of Tamil without any government assistance.

It would be a fitting tribute to honour Umar Thambi during the World Classical Tamil meet by instituting awards or education assistance to students pursuing their research in Tamil computing.

D Sekar Annadurai, a Tamil enthusiast and a regular Tamil internetuser, said that Umar's contribution to Tamil computing should not go unrecognised as he had paved the way for others, who are keen in improving Tamil computing taking cue from his initiatives.

Echoing similar views, several admirers from abroad through emails in Tamil internet magazines have appealed to the Tamil Nadu government to recognise Unicode Umar Thambi at the Tamil meet.







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