My dear Pranav,
In my previous letter I wrote to you about Vinoba's idea of a common
alternative script. In practice, it means Gujarati would be written in
its present script as wee as it can be written in Devanagari. So
would Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and other languages to be written.
All North Indian languages from Kashmiri, Assamese, to Marathi have
developed from Sanskrit. Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit have a common
Devanagari script. It involves almost 30 crores of people. Bengali,
Oriya, Assamese and Gujarati, could easily adopt Devanagari.
Languages will continue to be separate, but once they are expressed in a
common script you will start realising that there are many common
words, constructions and proverbs in the Indian languages than one
"Maitri" a journal brought out by Brahmavidya Mandir at Pavnar, publishes its
Kannada edition in Devanagari script. Bhoomiputra, a Gujarati journal
published from Baroda devotes a few pages to Gujarati articles in
the Devanagari script.
I have also made some efforts in this direction. I am the Editor
of the House Magazine published by the company for which I work. We
include articles in Bengali, Kannada and Gujarati in the Devanagari
script. Most of them are easily understood by people who do not
know these languages. Since they can read the script they can
understand the contents to a large extent. Often the same root word
sounds different because it is pronounced differently. Script poses
no such problem.
This should not really surprise people. In Europe, the Roman script
with some small adaptations is used for all printed materials, road
signs, and so on. Languages are very different, but the script used
is more or less the same.
Devanagari as an alternative script for all Indian languages was
advocated by Vinoba. Once people start reading each others language
they will see many common factors in them. Culturally, India is one
nation. It is an Ancient Hindu culture where most of the rituals
and practices are common. This commonality is very essential to our culture.
Vinoba was advocating this idea of a common
script when there was a clamour for reorganisation of the country on
the basis of languages. In his own way, he had an important dream.
He said that since China and Japan still use a pictographic script,
they also need to adopt an additional script. If India uses a
common script, China and Japan may also find that Devanagari is a
more standardised script, suitable for modern machine languages with
only one sign for one alphabet. Computer users are already finding
Sanskrit an easier language for computing than others.
Vinoba said, "If the Roman is the script of the West, Devanagari will be
the script of the East tomorrow."