Interview of Shri Ratilal Chandaria, creator of Gujaratilexicon.com | SpeakBindas
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Interview of Shri Ratilal Chandaria, creator of Gujaratilexicon.com

Shri Ratilal Chandaria

Shri Ratilal Chandaria

જેને જે અપનાવવી હોય તે રીતી અજમાવે. ‘ચા કે કૉફી’ -‘સાર્થ કે ઉંઝા’ બન્નેની ઑફર ખુલ્લી હોવી જોઈએ.

Speakbindas interviews Shri Ratilal Chandaria who for the benefit of mother-tongue Gujarati initiated Gujaratilexicon.com which is now used by the mass Gujaratis for the purpose of dictionary and other features related to making Gujarati a simple language to understand.



Here is the excerpt for the site itself, for our better understanding.

GujaratiLexicon is a landmark work in the history of Gujarati language containing resources of more than 25 lakh words. It aims to preserve, popularize and develop Gujarati language through the power of information technology. Lovers of Gujarati language can develop vocabulary, enjoy literature, read exclusive literature and join our mission through GujaratiLexicon.com.

GujaratiLexicon is a small attempt in contemporizing Gujarati and developing Gujarati Language Resources. It is the first comprehensive Indian language resource kit on the Internet.
GujaratiLexicon.com project is the result of undying passion and relentless vision of 84 year young Shri R P Chandaria, who has spent two decades to prepare this lexicon.The most important part of this dictionary project is a Gujarati spellchecker that is warmly welcomed by all those who promote effective use of this ancient language. GujaratiLexicon.com Project is supported by, Magnet Technologies, US Technology Resources & Steel Co. Gujarat.

Enjoy the question-answer session below.

Q1:

  • Whole your life, you have worked for your business. What inspired you to create Lexicon?

A1:

  • I was busy with business my entire life, but my affection for Gujarati remained intact. How can I forget Gujarati? After all, it was and is the language, which is deeply rooted in my heart. I had its cultural significance in my mind. So, I thought ‘would it possible to employ modern technology to type in Gujarati as we do it in English?’ This single thought led to many initiatives for Gujarati language including Fonts, Keyboards, Gujaratilexicon, Digital Bhagwadgomandal etc.
  • The inspiration for Gujaratilexicon is love for my mother tongue.

Q2:

  • It is said that you had to face lots of difficulties in this task. What kept up your spirit to continue working relentlessly?

A2:

  • Yes, you are right. But let me talk more about the downs than the ups. At times I was out of breath. I was getting on in age. Few years ago, I had undergone a by-pass surgery in London. This strained my resolve and my patience too. I had crossed the eighth decade of my life. However, I was determined to see that this project gets completed during my lifetime. Until today, I have never accepted “no” for an answer and I was determined to complete the lexicon project as well.
  • On such occasions many of my friends affectionately encouraged me. Not only that, they also gave me moral support and helped me in keeping up my spirit. I am really thankful to all of these well wishers.

Q3:

  • Although you are the creator of on line dictionary – a resource to ensure correct spellings- you support UNJHA Jodani. Why?

A3:

  • The entire objective of mine is to promote Gujarati language amongst people. I believe in Anekāntavāda – On one hand, we have simplified writing of traditional Gujarati using online tools like Spellchecker, Phonetic Keyboard etc. On the other hand, we are also supporting the cause of language simplification. Unjha Jodani Movement is an important movement for the Gujarati language and it has its merits. જેને જે અપનાવવી હોય તે રીતી અજમાવે.. ‘ચા કે કૉફી’ -‘સાર્થ કે ઉંઝા’ બન્નેની ઑફર ખુલ્લી હોવી જોઈએ.

Q 4:

  • What future do you see for Gujarati language in a) Gujarat and 2) Outside Gujarat?

A4:

  • I see a bright and prosperous future for Gujarati language. Our young generation is the audience we need to think about.
  • In Gujarat and Outside Gujarat, we have to know where the new generation is. It is important for us to understand the new generation and redefine ourselves for them. The work has to be presented in the way they consume English Language. We have to have global packaging for our language. That is the prime reason that we have created this dictionary. If language has to attract the new generation, it has to be computer-ready. Today’s youth may not read ancient manuscripts or classic novels but will definitely be interested in reading Gujarati blogs or articles on websites. They will be willing to access Gujarati dictionary and SMSes in Gujarati now. Then the love of language will definitely take them over. This is happening. Our mother tongue has that magic and power!
  • Outside Gujarat, Gujaratis will accept influences from local culture and be enriched. Already, words from Swahili, English are being accepted as part of Gujarati language (a similar phenomenon in the English language). People will increasingly depend on internet and IT for maintaining links with mother Gujarat. We predicted that people would start typing on computers in Gujarati and regularly use video conferencing. This is already taking place. Since we anticipate that consumption of Gujarati will increase via non-traditional media like internet, mobile etc, it is important that great quality work is available to people.
  • Language and literary work are closely related. We believe that there is a need to digitize the great works of Gujarati and preserve them for future. With this is mind, and as a beginning, we decided to digitize Bhagvadgomandal.
  • Gujarati experts and teachers will have to unlearn and learn with open minds ands open hearts. The methodologies will have to be adapted to changing times. But I am 100% positive that our language will prosper and scale new heights. I do not believe that it will die or be endangered.
Shri Ratilal Chandaria

Shri Ratilal Chandaria

Q 5:

  • Spoken Gujarati language includes many English words. Do you think, something should be done, so that this trend can be reversed? What would/ could change this trend?

A5:

  • Language is determined by people, not by official bodies. When the entire global environment is moving towards English, we cannot move against the tide. I do not think that we should be afraid of English language words coming in Gujarati vocabulary.
  • What words will you use for Mobile, Bus, SMS, Laptop, ATM, Credit Card? People are used to words like Tension, Office, Ticket etc. One cannot expect people to use Gujarati words for the sake of purity.
  • Rather than resist the trend, we should pragmatically focus on promoting the richness of Gujarati language. Gujaratis should distribute free CDs of classical Gujarati work like animated stories of Narmad, Munshi, Meghani to students to encourage them and develop their love for language. Gujarati speaking people should use the internet connectivity in the state to promote sites for the promotion of Gujarati language, perhaps via online games, contest, publication of government magazines online etc. The Government of Gujarat thinks Vibrant Gujarat is in a Vibrant Economy, but Vibrant Gujarat is also rich in Gujarati culture and language. The Gujarat Government should support production of world-class movies, plays, books and events to promote contemporary Gujarati society and Gujarati ethos using Gujarati language.

Q6:

  • Many Gujarati fonts have been developed. Does it not create confusion/ conversion difficulties? Do you think, standardization is necessary for them?

A6:

  • Yes. Today common user is confused and faces lot of difficulties. Moreover, writing and reading Gujarati Language on Internet is a cumbersome process today. Ease of use, user friendliness etc is of key importance and the community needs to focus on that. I believe that Unicode is the best answer to resolving the above mentioned issues and hence all our work supports Unicode. We recommend that all Gujarati Newspapers, Magazines and Websites to move to Unicode format. We believe that using Unicode will lead Gujarati to default language for all Gujarati people on Internet.
  • Standardization is a must. There are many great individuals and organizations working passionately for language computing and font development activities. However there is not enough sharing, no coordinated and systematic approach, policy / strategy agreement etc. Unless this happens everyone will be reinventing the wheel and achieving piecemeal results. The vision is bigger than all of us!
  • I was involved with creation of the first Gujarati font – developed for me by a French Lady but some characters were to be added. I got introduced to Madhu Rye, who was also developing Gujarati fonts and we have shared his input. Today, we are working on creating an ideal Gujarati font with the best of the experts. This font will be based on Unicode and Gujarati rules. It will become the standard Gujarati font. I believe that this will solve both problem for users and publishers. God willing, we also want to work on a Universal Font Converter for Gujarati language. People can convert different fonts and arrive at a standard Unicode font.

Q7:

  • Even at this age, you are very active, What is the secret of your energy?

A7:

  • The secret of my energy is that I have got lot of tasks on hand for Gujarati language. I am busy with activity. I have got full loving support of my family and friends – they say my best is yet to come!

Q8:

  • Which is the most memorable incident of your life?

A8:

  • Too many to enumerate. I have enjoyed many incidents in my life. Courtship with Vijaya, birth of children and grandchildren, setting up Comcraft, launch of Gujaratilexicon and BG.

Q9:

  • Which is the most unfortunate incident of your life?

A9:

  • None

Q10:

  • What message would you give to people of Gujarat, especially youth?

A10:

  • Never ever forget your mother tongue, be proud of it.

Q11:

  • What has been your Jivan Mantra?

A11:

  • Serve humanity in what ever way you can.
  • An after thought at last moment.

Q12:

  • Gujarati blogs/ web sites have grown like mushrooms in last three years. What role they are likely to play in furthering the cause of Gujarati language?

A12:

  • This is just the beginning; we have a long way to go. We intend to fill in the gaps by providing more online resources to catch the fancies of younger generation.
  • We want to continue the pioneering work in Gujarati Technology domain by working on areas like Universal Gujarati Font Converter, eChappu, Lok Kosh and Digitization of Classical Works.
  • Lok Kosh and eChappu are revolutionary ideas for Gujarati language. They are empowering democratic tools for people to create, contribute and distribute online content.
  • Gujaratilexicon’s Lok Kosh is an attempt to capture the contemporary language of the enterprising Gujaratis. Lok Kosh allows users to contribute new words and phrases in daily usage. Users can also decide on the popularity of words. Language is a flowing river. Gujaratilexicon Team receives lots of feedback and suggestions for new words. However, we do not add these words to Gujaratilexicon as Gujaratilexicon represents a standard dictionary approved by experts like Gujarat Vidyapith. At the same time, existing dictionaries like Sarth were updated till 1967 and few additions were made in 2005. However, majority of new words of Gujarati language were not represented. Hence, Gujaratilexicon devised the Lok Kosh initiative.
  • eChappu is an unique endeavour to create and publish an online publication in quick and easy manner. eChappu aims to encourage and promote distribution of niche and sticky content to people across the world via the power of internet. Today we live in an information and knowledge age. There are thousands upon thousands of magazines and newspapers catering to special interests and target audiences. However, these publications cannot reach the people across the globe due to huge cost of distribution and circulation management. eChappu allows the creation and distribution of online publications with the help of a specially developed web based application. eChappu and similar initiatives will serve the preservation of the Gujarati language and allow users to read rich content from various niche publications.
  • Our only heartfelt desire is that Gujaratilexicon project contributes in the development of Gujarati language, and it serves the needs of Gujaratis here and abroad. We can only assure that we are fully committed to continue our efforts to update and improve the project.
  • The chief aim of Gujarati Lexicon is to preserve the rich Gujarati language for posterity and create future linguists. We want to be the focal point for all technology related developments in Gujarati Language. We plan to create a Gujarati World Heritage Centre – a centre for excellence in Gujarati Language which will work on, text to speech software, OCR, digitalization of Gujarati classics, translations and more.

——————-

Note: We thank Shri Sureshbhai Jani (USA) for preparing questions for this interview and Ashokbhai (from Ahmedabad) for being a liaison between us and Shri Ratilalbhai.

About

Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

16 thoughts on “Interview of Shri Ratilal Chandaria, creator of Gujaratilexicon.com

  1. Fan of you says:

    You have done a fantastic and marvellous work for all guju community, hates of you dada

  2. Mansukh Shah says:

    Where there is a will there is a way – and Ratibhai Chandaria has demonstrated that in its tangible form by spending 20 plus years in creating Gujarati Lexicon. This feat from a decent human being, a true son of Gujarat, is unparalleled in the history of the world but it has not, regrettably,been recognised at home. Despite a number of obstacles placed in his single minded pursuit of his objectives, both by the State government and Institutes of higher learning who should know better, he is unstoppable. Our people are driven by a singleminded objective of making money, by means fair or foul and have no time to recognise achievements of the son of Mother India. By the same token as Tagore’s Gitanjali was first recognised by foreigners rather than Indians, the day will come when we all will rue the day we failed dismally in recognising Ratibhai’s work and extending such support and helping hand to such an august man. Those few who had given their all in advancing his fundamental work find themselves in an invidious position as their efforts are being thwarted by vested interests and jealous people. I am deeply saddened by the turn of events and pray for sanity to prevail even at this late stage.

  3. Harnish Jani says:

    Well done Ratibhai- Nice to see you on Speakbindas- Your message will be heard (or seen) all over the Gujarati world.

  4. Chirag Patel says:

    Timely and nice interview with Ratikaka. He is pioneer in making eGujarati. Hats off to you, sir.

  5. Suresh Jani says:

    Thank you very much for highly inspiring and deeply mature replies.
    His message for his bio data prepared by me was –

    ” હાથ પર લીધેલું કામ હું ક્યારેય અધવચ્ચે છોડતો નથી. મને હંમેશાં લાગ્યું છે કે, પ્રશ્નો ઊભા થાય તો તેના ઉકેલ પણ મળી રહે છે. એક દિશામાં દ્વાર દેવાઇ જાય તો બીજી દિશામાં ખૂલે છે. “

    Read his profile –

    http://gujpratibha.wordpress.com/2006/09/04/ratilal_chandaraya/

  6. I had met Ratibhai only once in mid-80s when he told me of his work in creating Gujarati fonts. I was just ‘Narendra’ – a community development officer involved with Gujarati Talking Newspaper “Kiran” in London then. It never occurred to me – or any one for that matter that what he had commenced was not just that: He visualized a mini-Everest and ascended the heights. Gujarati Lexicon was like the base camp North Col and the ultimate became the eBhagvatgomandal. Well done, Ratibhai. The universal Gujarati fonts will become the pennant you will plant on the highest point of our literary world.

  7. Qasim Abbas says:

    GARVI GUJARAT NA GARVA PUTR SHRIMAN RATILAL CHANDARIA NI GUJARATI BHASHA NI SEVA KADAPI NAHIN BHULAY. GUJARATI LEXICON NI WEB SITE KHARI REETE GUJARATI NO ENCYCLOPEADIA BANI GAYEL CHHE.

    RATILALBHAI, AAPNI GUJARATI BHASHA NI SEVA NE KOTI KOTI PRANAAM.

    QASIM ABBAS
    CANADA.

  8. sapana says:

    I have limited Shbdbhandol.I always use your site.Thank you so much.
    sapana

  9. Suresh Jani says:

    An email response from Respected Ratikaka –
    —————————–
    Dear Devangbhai

    Thanks for publishing this interview ‘on line’ in you web “Speakbindas.com”.

    All I have done is to answer, with the help of Ashokbhai, your questions so ably drawn up by you and your team. Thanks to Sureshbhai for being a part therein. I am sure, with Sureshbhai’s help via the hundreds of Gujarati Bloggers, it will be read by many Gujarati language lovers internationally, and my mission, will thus, get the needed boosted.

    I have only steered a MISSION that should be taken up by the Gujarati public at large and be a part therein and in the excellent work started by you.

    Thanks again,

    With kind regards
    RATIBHAI

  10. માનનિય રતિભાઈ
    આપની સેવા અને ભાષાપ્રેમ બિરદાવવા માટે શબ્દો નથી. આપની સેવાનો અમે બ્લોગ જગતમાં લાભ લઈ રહ્યા છે.
    ધન્યવાદ આપને અને આપની અમુલ્ય સેવાને..

  11. @Sureshbhai,

    Thank you for sharing the email with us. I will try my best to provide fuel to Ratibhai’s mission by spreading a word about GujaratiLexicon.

  12. Ketan Pathak says:

    Many Many Thanks to Respected Ratibhai Chandaria for making Gujarati Dictionary available online…I am using this dictionary since last few months and find it very useful and always spread a word about it…It is found very useful to students too who always lack word power and translation from English to Gujarati…No one would have done this to help Gujaratis this before in such a different way…Hats off to Ratibhai…

  13. Apurva Ashar says:

    ———————————————
    “Standardization is a must. There are many great individuals and organizations working passionately for language computing and font development activities. However there is not enough sharing, no coordinated and systematic approach, policy / strategy agreement etc. Unless this happens everyone will be reinventing the wheel and achieving piecemeal results.”
    ———————————————

    I can not agree more with Ratibhai. The need for standardization is a must and there has to be some consolidated effort rather than piecemeal developments. However, I do not entirely agree that “Unicode is the ultimate savior”. But it surly ‘enforces’ standardization as it is integrated within “Windows” and that itself is a big step.

    ———————————————
    “We also want to work on a Universal Font Converter for Gujarati language. People can convert different fonts and arrive at a standard Unicode font.”
    ———————————————

    I developed one such software years ago and distributed it freely to many people. However, due to my inability to devote more time to it, it was not fully developed and lies at the bottom of a box labeled “Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi, ki har…” If I can be of any help in any of your projects, I will be happy to chip in whatever I can.

  14. અભિનંદન શ્રી રતિલાલ ચંદરિયા, આજે નવું નીહાળ્યું, લોક કોશ. પ્રગતિ કરતા રહો.
    કાંતિલાલ પરમાર
    હીચીન

  15. Pravin Vaghani says:

    I have known Shree RAtibhai for many years now, since the beginning of his efforts to create a Gujarati font and dictionary for internet. He has overcome many obstacles, some of them heartbreaking to achieve the cfreation and publication of ‘gujratilexicon’. His devotion to Gujarati culture and language is unfathomable. By his lamentless efforts he has proven that age is no limit for achieving the goals in life. His will work will for ever remain inspirational to the lovers of Gujarati culture. Well done, Ratibhai, I salute you ! – Pravin Vaghani, Hon. editor/publisher of MATRUBHASHA.

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About

Devang Vibhakar
Devang Vibhakar
(Editor, www.SpeakBindas.com)
SpeakBindas is a Limca Book of Awards winning blog. It's a PR3 blog with 1000+ articles & Interviews. Devang Vibhakar - Founder - has interviewed more than 350+ people and has been to Scotland, London & Germany. He's a writer, speaker, traveler & movie-goer !! He has also written four books. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of people from various sectors of life to avid readers of SpeakBindas. You can reach him here .