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History of the language and description

Rohingya an ethnic group from Arakan have been residing  long before the British colonial rule and have been practicing their own religion, culture, tradition and the most importantly their own Rohingya language.

Rohingya Language have been there since their existence, but the usage of their written language had variation from time to time and place to place, where evidence of such similar characters are still engraved in the walls of historical places in Marauk U and many other parts of Arakan.

The Hanifi Rohingya script is used for writing Rohingya (ISO 639-3: rhg), an Indo-Aryan language spoken by one million people in Arakan, Burma. It was developed by Maulan Hanif from the historical evidences and ancient languages that existed in Arakan in late 1970s.

Initially a group of 7 scholars including Maulana Hanif started their research and development in this language and derived unique characters defining the Rohingya’s unique language. And the language and its struggle had to go through different stages of obstacles from Burmese government and its regime.

Along the time travel scholars dispersed to different parts of the world and continued their research and content development in different ways. And practiced it among the community through different ways in hand written forms.

In this struggle to digitize the language for 20 years till today Muhammed Noor have played a crucial part in developing different stages of digitization process such as the first type face which was developed in 2002, and second typo face was developed by Arif and Latifa which were later registered with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and finally into Unicode.

Impact of Rohingya Unicode

Since the existence of the written script, was in use and continued till today among the Rohingyas in Arakan and exile.

The Rohingya language have conquered the entire syllabus in more than 20 schools since 1990 to present date among Rohingyas residing in K.S.A, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Malaysia in exile are the main host of these language preserving schools. Each year approximately 300,000 students learn this language.

Parallel to the solo Rohingya schools, Hundreds of uncountable schools have included this language in their syllabus, educating them their language and keeping connected to the ancestral language which identifies Rohingyas’ significant language and most importantly their existence.

Since then many active language Institutions like research center, language academy have been developed and extended by the Rohingyas in exile.

The journey that started in 1980 have resulted in constructive results such as completion of the Primary school syllabus including all subjects like Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, language, literature, poetry and finally cultural and religion.

Writers and thinkers did not kept flowing the content in the school syllabus, in parallel to syllabus construction they boundlessly written books on History and religious including Qur’an translation, Cultural and traditional, Story and poetry, Newspapers and articles, Columns and Magazines, and finally the latest free video tutorial.

In the ongoing persecution on Rohingya from last 70 years most of the Rohingyas working on the language had to flee to different parts of the world. Their journey to develop the contents and further research spread to all the Rohingyas in Exile and was all in manual form.

As the development continued, Rohingyas felt the need to digitize it, so that it could be easily computerised like other languages and printed as well.

The first attempt to develop the typo face started in 1997 and was developed by Muhammad Noor using existing RTL (right to left) system in 2002. And later he designed 2 types of fonts known as (Noories kuna leka) and (Noories Guwaiiyya leka).

A graduate student in history from University of Michigan Anshuman Pandey was searching online for forgotten alphabets of South Asia. In his eight years of digging through British colonial archives both real and digital, he has found almost 200 alphabets across Asia that were previously undescribed in the West, but this one, which he came across in early 2011, made him muse for a while.

Eventually, his stalking made him identified the script as an alphabet for “Rohingya” a minority described as one most persecuted and forgotten people on earth. His research journey continued and added strength when he found Muhammed Noor, who himself a Rohingya working on this unique script and worked on digitization process. His hard exertion had resulted in approving International Organization for Standardization (ISO) by the end of 2015. And further work started in the development of Unicode proposal and was submitted to Unicode Consortium. After tackling the obstacles by the 2 enthusiastic linguistic: Anshuman Pandey and Dr, Debra and with valid information by Muhammad Noor about the significance of it, the consortium accepted the proposal to Unicode these unique characters. And is expected to release on Unicode version 11 in mid-2018, completing a journey that will forever preserve this unique language for generations to come. It will be a milestone in the history or Rohingya and ingenious people on earth and will serve as an example of reviving a forgotten language that was once thought to be erased from the surface of the Earth. The Unicode will not only preserve it but will be an evidence of existence for the Rohingya people, whom are in the edge of extinction. Unicode it will open doors to latest technology and science which will enable further development in various areas.

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