Aksharaya — Letter Conscious People, the amazing folks who gave me a chance to be a part of their workshop and camp last year, are on a drive to collect script primers from India and abroad. This call is on behalf of Prof. Kshirsagar, who is pursuing his PhD from the Industrial Design Centre at IIT, Mumbai. His thesis will deal with the idea of how we learn to write. This is a subject that he also spoke about at the ICTVC conference last year.
Learning how to write new scripts is exciting. Once I heard the great news from Reading a few months ago, I went into a bit of an overdrive collecting any language and script learning books that I could. The search turned out to be pretty difficult in Delhi. A book to learn German or Spanish or French can be found in every bookstore, but when you ask for a book, for lets say, Oriya, the salesperson usually looked at you like you were crazy. Even Gurmukhi primers for children could be spotted in none of the bookstores, in spite of Punjabi being an official state language of Delhi. My search finally bore fruit at Pages Bookstore where I found some books by Readwell Publications (see below a scan from the book on Bengali). And I bought a few more language books from the National Integration Language Series at Blossoms in Bangalore (see below a scan from the book on Telugu, second from the top). At Blossoms, I also found advanced versions of Kannada script primers for school-going children for a mere ten bucks apiece on the steps outside the bookstore. It was like winning the lottery.
Over the next week, I’ll scan my books, add them to Flickr and pass them on to Aksharaya. If you also have any script primers, please leave a comment on Aksharaya’s Facebook page or let me know. I’m sure all contributions, whether they are new or old, fresh or used, will be welcome. You can also send scanned copies if you don’t wish to part with the originals like me.