Tamil achievers talk – Muthu Nedumaran
தமிழ் இணையக் கல்விக்கழகம் இன்று “சிகரம் தொட்ட கணித்தமிழர்கள்” என்னும் தலைப்பில், கணினியில் தமிழைக் கொண்டுவந்ததில் பல வெற்றி முயற்சிகளை செய்த திரு.முத்து நெடுமாறன் அவர்களுடைய நிகழ்ச்சியை நடத்தியது. முத்து கடந்த இருபத்து ஆண்டுகளுக்கு மேலாக ஒரு நல்ல நண்பர் என்பதில் எனக்கு பெருமை. முத்துவின் தெற்காசிய, இந்திய மொழி தொழில்நுட்பம் மற்றும் எழுத்துருக்கள் இடம் பெறாத கணிப்பொறிகள் மிக சில என்று தான் சொல்ல வேண்டும். ஆப்பில் கணிப்பொறியிலும், ஐபோன் கையடக்கக் கருவிகளிலும், HTC ஆண்டிராய்டு அலைப்பேசியிலும் அவரின் தமிழ் எழுத்துருக்களைத் தான் நாம் அன்றாடம் பயன்படுத்துகிறோம். மைக்கரோசாப்ட் விண்டோஸ்இல் கூட முத்துவின் மொழி எழுத்துருக்கள் உள்ளது. மற்ற கூகிள் ஆண்டிராய்டு கையடக்கக் கருவிகளில் பலவற்றில் அவரின் செல்லினம் செயலி தான் தமிழின் முகம்.
Muthu recalled of his first job as an Engineer trainer in a computer firm in Malaysia where how in his spare time he developed a Tamil font as a TSR (Terminate ‘n’ Stay Resident) program in MS-DOS, the saying from his first BOSS (the owner of the firm) who said in a company meeting across three days “The World is my market, The World is my resource“. How he learned to draw letters in Latin or Tamil using a dots pattern thought by his school teacher, a skill which helped him when he created his first Tamil font using a 8 x 8 pixel pattern in IBM PC. He then talked about the technology progress and his journey to get Tamil in each of them whether it’s Windows, Apple Mac OS, iOS, Blackberry or Android. Muthu explained in detail why Typefaces (the correct name for what we novices call Fonts) are important for a language, an app and our reading experience.
Having worked in Multinationals including Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Muthu has held many leadership roles in SouthEast Asia and Asia regions. Muthu shared few of his experiences of working in a multi cultural, multi country environments. In one corporate meeting in Beijing where his colleagues over a lunch where sharing the poems in their mother tongue, Muthu had shared one of his favourite Tamil couplets. It immediately helped him to attract the attention of his bosses, in that way having the passion to work with Tamil (technology) has always given him a edge over his peers. Never ever Tamil had been a handicap or his love for the language had pulled him down. In today’s ruthless corporate world, managers look for your true passion which is something you can’t fabricate or lie in an interview.
Switching gears to current Mobile Phone world he talked of the innovations he has brought in latest edition of Sellinam, his Tamil Font/Keyboard App. These include Vowel Rotation (as you type new vowels the vowel consanant changes without needing you to erase the previous character) , Vowel less typing (for quick typing), entire Thirukural and other Tamil works residing inside Sellinam to aid in text prediction and more. As he demonstrated these I was astonished on how much more work is left in Tamil display and input technology itself. The statistics of Tamil Input methods used by Sellinam users go like this, Transliteration (Anjal Keyboard) is 70% and TamilNet99 is remaining 30%. He talked of why it makes business sense for him to give away free “Sellinam”, it’s for his passion and to prove the demand/his credibility to big boys (Microsoft/HTC/Apple) who are is actual customers. Technology industry doesn’t respect tradition, it only worries about the Future.
Muthu demoed why all Tamil speakers should set “Tamil” as their preferred language in their Smartphones and Tablets. Setting that way for example makes Tamil aware Apps to display the entire user interface in Tamil like in Microsoft Outlook mail app in iOS & Android (as seen below).
Lastly he was sharing his observation of Indians – “Indians have too much respect for history, an inherent desire to be compliant to higher-ups. Opportunity to the young to break out of box/authority is scarce, but those who manage it, break it in total which may be extreme“, “As a race we Indians never seem to be arriving anywhere, we want to be in constant motion. Successful western cultures and companies have managed to assimilate the Chinese trait to focus, Indian talent to innovate“. A coverage of his talk in Tamil The Hindu can be read here.