Anandabazar Patrika, Unicode and proxy


Update 1st June, 2011:  Thank you all! We have made a difference. Anandabazar has finally switched to Unicode.

Ideally, there shouldn't be any need for this proxy but see below...

Anandabazar Patrika (ABP) is the largest Bangla (Bengali) news paper from India. Being a leader in Bangla publishing industry, one might expect them to be in forefront in improving the digital standard for Bangla. Unfortunately, they themselves continue to use a decade-old, non-standard technology instead of adopting the international standard for digital Bangla namely the Unicode.  This site is a way to petition Anandabazar for adopting Unicode Bangla in their online version.

This proxy server acts similar to Firefox plugin Padma that converts non-standard ABP pages into standard Unicode Bangla on-the-fly. However, unlike Padma, conversions are done in the server side (for another proxy server see http://uni.medhas.org). This makes ABP pages viewable even in mobile phones (see the table). Further, this proxy demonstrates that adopting Unicode in ABP website is not difficult

Visit Anandabazar via Unicode proxy server (beta)


   
ABP Bangla

 
Unicode Bangla *




Desktop
Currently only one browser (Netscape is no longer in development)


  • Microsoft IE
 Almost every modern browser in all Operating Systems (Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix). It includes:
To enable read/write in Unicode Bangla, visit here

 

Mobile
  •  None    
 Every mobile devices that supports Opera Mini browser (see here). It includes
  • Apple iPhone, iPod touch, iPad  
  • Android phones (Google Nexus One, and others)
  • BlackBerry 
  • Phones made by Nokia, Samsung and others
  • Windows mobile
  • See the full list of supported phones    
     To read Anandabazar in mobile phone you may use this link or use Google reformatter 


* Gallery of screenshots showing Unicode Bangla support in different devices/browsers

  • But ABP Bangla font looks better. Isn't it?
Unlike ABP, Unicode Bangla can be viewed using any Unicode compliant font. Having said that, here are two screenshots taken in Windows XP. Now judge yourself which one looks better:  (i)  ABP Bangla font   (ii) Unicode Bangla using Bangla Akademi font.

  • Are there other advantages in upgrading to Unicode Bangla?
   ABP Bangla
 Unicode Bangla
 
Data usage
ABP uses a decade-old, inefficient method to represent Bangla resulting much higher data usage.
For example: reading this editorial page directly from ABP, costs you
  • 73 KB
 The same editorial page in Unicode version requires only

  • 21 KB
Use of Unicode will significantly reduce bandwidth cost for the readers (as well as ABP themselves)! 

 Search within a page
  • No
  • Yes 
Same as searching English text
 Web Search (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc...)
  • No
  • Yes
Click here to do a search in Bangla now!
 Email, Chat, ...
  • No
  • Yes
Same as in English


  • Why doesn't ABP use Unicode?
ABP started their online version almost a decade ago. At that time Unicode Bangla wasn't well supported. However in 2010, a decade later, there are hardly any justification for not upgrading to Unicode. 

  • Why is current ABP encoding bad for digital Bangla?
Being the largest Bengali newspaper from India, action of ABP has much larger consequences. Their use of non-standard Bangla is detrimental for the growth of a single, universal standard for digital Bangla. Thus, the issue is not simply the inability to read ABP in all platform. Their continual 
non-compliance of international standard
 has put the future of digital Bangla at stake.

  • What can we do?
Anandabazar is generally considered as a forward looking newspaper, and a champion of change. Their editorials (read here, here) are vocal about their views. So please write to the editor reminding them that ABP has forgotten to change themselves and has failed to adopt international standard for digital Bangla even in 2011. Please send your letter 
using regular mail to show that you care for future of digital Bangla. Their mailing address:

"Sampadok Samipeshu" 
Anandabazar Patrika
6, Prafulla Sarkar Street

Kolkata - 700 001, INDIA

  • What can ABP do?
At the least they can serve a Unicode version of their online newspaper along with the current pages (eg. it could be http://www.anandabazar.com/unicode/). The Unicode version can be generated on-the-fly (as being demonstrated here). So they may continue to use their own technology internally. This way they can serve a much larger audience including mobile phone users, almost immediately.

  • Can I get the conversion program used in this proxy server?
Sure. You can freely (under GPLv2) download the program from here (v0.9-beta). Its written in Python and it is just 10 KB (tar gzipped).

  • This petition is supported by:
  • Golam M Hossain  (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) - Kolkata, India)
  • Koushik Dutta  (Max Planck Institute - Munich, Germany)
  • Dipankar Das  (Teacher, Jaipuria College - Kolkata, India)
  • Sayamindu Dasgupta  (One Laptop Per Child Association Inc., India)
  • Sayan Chakrabarti  (Institute of Physics - Bhubaneswar, India)
  • Rajib Sarkar  (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids - Dresden, Germany)
  • Debasish Das   (Tata Consultancy Services, India)
  • Kinjal Banerjee  (Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics - Pune, India)
  • Arnab Sengupta  (Teacher, St. Stephen's School - Kolkata, India)
  • Sanchita Goswami  (University of Calcutta - Kolkata, India)
  • Indranil Das Gupta  (L2C2 Technologies - Kolkata, India)
  • Tathagata Banerjee  (Assistant Professor, Bangabasi College - Kolkata, India)
  • Kanik Palodhi  (Loughborough University - Leicester, UK)
  • Samik Mukherjee (Technical Architect, SDG Software India Pvt Limited - Noida, India)
  • Jayanta Nath  (Administrator, Bengali Wikipedia, India)
  • Mayukh Sarkar  (University of Utah - Salt Lake City, USA)
  • Debajyoti Choudhury (Faculty member, University of Delhi, India)
  • Madhushree Basu (Research Fellow, Institute of Mathematical Sciences - Chennai, India)
  • Debasri Chakrabarti Dubey (Computational Linguist, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing - Pune, India)
  • Purnendu Chakraborty (University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, USA)
  • Srijan Kumar Kundu (Senior Systems Engineer, Infosys Technologies - Bhubaneswar, India)
  • Arindam Sengupta (Dept. of Statistics, University of Calcutta - Kolkata, India)
  • Indranil Saha (PhD Scholar, Computer Science Department, University of California - Los Angeles, USA)
  • Anjishnu Sarkar (Post Doctoral Fellow, Institute of Physics - Bhubaneswar, India )
  • Arijit Mukherjee  (Lead Architect, Connectiva Systems - Kolkata, India)
  • Suvankar Dutta (School of Physical Sciences, Swansea University - Swansea, UK)
  • Diganta Sarkar (Software Engineer, Microsoft Corporation - Seattle, USA)
  • Jayanta Mukhopadhyay (Envista Corporation - Boston, USA)
  • Joydip Datta (Student, Dept. of Computer Sci. & Eng., Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India) 
  • Susruta Samanta (PhD Scholar, Jacobs University - Bremen, Germany)
  • Arnab Bhattacharyya (B.Tech. Student, Konnagar, Hooghly, West Bengal, India) 
  • Rudradeep Biswas (MBBS Student, R.G. Kar Medical College - Kolkata, India)
  • Avick Chakraborty (Sr. Development Mgr., SIEMENS PL, India)
  • Susmit Shannigrahi (Ambassador, Fedora Project, Kolkata, India)
  • Souvik Bhattacharyya (PhD Student, Indian Institute of Science -  Bangalore, India)
  • Dr Subrata Saha (Medical Officer, E.S.I. Hospital - Sealdah, Kolkata, India)  
  • Kasturi Basu (Rutgers University, USA)
  • Ritam Mukherjee ( Software Engg Student, BPPIMT, VIP Road, Kolkata, India )
  • Abhijit Mondal (M.Tech, CSE, Indian Institute Technology - Guwahati, India)
  • Arindam Basu (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)
  • Dwaipayan Chakraborti (PG Trainee, Dept of Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center - Connecticut, USA)
  • Supriyo Paul (Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology - Kanpur, India)
  • Rakesh Jain (Tata Consultancy Services, India)
  • Jowar Saha (Tata Consultancy Services, Kolkata, India)
  • Abhishek Roy (Graduate, Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad, India)
  • Saikat Paul (Resident, Silicon Valley, California, USA)
  • Debabrata Acharjee (Program Manager, Keane Inc, Bangalore, India)
  • Chinmoy Chattopadhyay (PhD Student , Dept of Mat. Sci. and Eng., Indian Institute of Technology - Kanpur, India)
  • Prabir Bhadra (IBM, Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Supratik Pal, (Assistant Professor, Indian Statistical Institute - Kolkata, India)
  • Soumyajit Das Mahapatra (LL.M. student, New Delhi, India)
  • Arin Ghosh (Zoho India, Chennai, India)
  • Arnab Acharjee (Tata Consultancy Services, Philadelphia, USA)
  • Sourish Roy (Asstt. Teacher in English, Falimari High School, Cochbehar, WB, India)
  • Santanu Chakraborty (Deloitte Consulting, Hyderabad, India)
  • Samik Bhattacharya (Post Doctoral Research Associate, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany)
  • Souman Mandal (M Tech, Dept. of CSE, Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India)
  • Dipanjan Chakraborty (MS Student, School of IT, Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi, India)
  • Sparsa Roychowdhury (BTech Student-IT, RCC Institute of Information Technology - Kolkata, India)
  • Samhita Dasgupta (PhD Scholar, Department of Cognitive Sciences, University of California at Irvine, USA)
  • Rahul Basu (Analyst - Field Operations, Deloitte, Hyderabad, India) 
  • Sourav Dey (M.Sc. in Physics, Calcutta University, Kolkata, India)
  • Soumyottam Chatterjee (Scientific Staff, Faculty of Computer Science, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany)
  • Arnab Bhattacharya (Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
  • Kausik Datta (PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Baltimore, USA) 
  • Sagnik Raychoudhury (Student, Department of CSE, Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur, India) 
  • Joydeep Bhattacharyya (Microsoft Corporation, USA)
  • Garga Chatterjee (PhD, Harvard University, USA)
  • Siddhartha Bhattacharya (RM, ACSA, Embassy of the United States of America, New Delhi)
  • Debashis Ganguly (PhD, Clinical Research Professional, PA USA) 
  • Arko Provo Mukherjee (PhD Scholar, Dept of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Iowa State University, USA) 
  • Devayon Das (Tezpur University, Assam, India)
  • Soumen Bhattacharya (M. Sc. (IIT KGP), PMP Senior Manager, CSC)
  • Devroop Sarkar (MBBS Student,North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri, WB, India) 
  • Bibudh Lahiri (Senior Analytics Engineer, Kikin Inc, New York, USA) 
  • Madhumita Saha (Dissertation Writing Fellow, Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science, Philadelphia, USA) 
  • Souradyuti Ghosh (Researcher, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
  • Dr. Pratap Raychaudhuri (Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India)
  • Deepal Kanti Das (Research Scholar, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
  • Dr Shankar Chatterjee (Sr. Asst. Professor, NIRD (Govt. of India), Hyderabad, India) 
  • Shibamouli Lahiri (PhD student, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA)
  • Shrish Benjwal Sharma (Hindi/Indic computing activist, India)
  • Dr. Pallab Maity (Scientist, Dept. of Dermatology and Allergic Diseases, University of Ulm, Germany)
  • Partha Mukherjee (PhD Candidate,Dept. of Information Sci. and Technology, Pennsylvania State University, USA) 
  • Sudip Kumar Naskar (Centre for Next Generation Localisation, Dublin City University, Ireland)
  • Dr Santam Chakraborty (Department of Radiation Oncology, Tom Baker Cancer Center, Calgary, Canada)


  • and possibly you... (if yes then mail [see below] your name, company/institution/profession, country, and optionally link to your webpage/blog etc.) 



This petition site is maintained by Golam M Hossain (gmhossain at gmail.com) since Jun 13, 2010. Please feel free to email if you have any comment, concern, screenshots of Unicode Bangla in your device, 
or 
want to support the petition.
You may also post your comment or words of support in this blog post.