ABP Pvt Ltd has a history that goes back to 1922.
From the website
“In 1922, Anandabazar Patrika first came out as a four-page evening daily that sold at two paise and had a circulation of about 1,000 copies a day. Eighty-five years later, Anandabazar Patrika reaches out to over seven million readers, every day!
Today, the ABP Group has evolved into a media conglomerate that has eleven premier publications, three 24-hour national TV news channels, two leading book publishing businesses as well as mobile and internet properties. Touching the lives of millions of readers and viewers, daily.
We believe the legacy you leave, is the life you lead. We see ourselves as repositories of best practices and processes. And, at times, when we don’t have the very best within, we open windows to look out for expertise. Not surprisingly, ABP is associated with companies and personalities revered across the world.
In the world of journalism, we are not just a media house. We are really an alma mater.”
Given the reach of the group and, the important role it plays in giving shape, form and direction to the literary content that is produced from Bengal, it is not too much to expect them to be at the forefront of technology when it comes to news and content published electronically. The association with Ananda Publishers, which publishes books from a variety of authors for a consumer base that spans ages, it is not too hard to anticipate that they will be heralding change and, changing for the better.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Bengali/Bangla and digital standards, the group is one of the laggards since they stick to an antique non-standard technology. In short, it is surprising that they are yet to think over adopting Unicode as a part of their online version.
This lack of interest in adopting Unicode has created an unique situation. The digital content published by the ABP group requires extremely unorthodox parser development to be encoded into Unicode and, used in any form of language study. The inability to be able to easily use the corpus is all the more important from the perspective of being able to extensively use Bengali/Bangla in the digital domain. Additionally, while browsers have demonstrated improved support for Unicode, the online content, including the shopping cart of Ananda Publishers, are unfit to be rendered on such browsers. Stop here for a moment and imagine a plethora of mobile and portable devices which may have extensive support for Bengali/Bangla at the user-interface level, the ability to input, print and render Bengali/Bangla but, would be unable to work with the content provided by the most circulated Bengali newspaper in India.
A group of folks led by Golam M Hossain have devised a prototype of an Unicode Proxy for Anandabazar Patrika. The attempt is not aimed at facilitating the reading of the newspaper, that is a happy collateral. The experiment is focused on demonstrating that it may not be difficult for Anandabazar to adopt Unicode.
Please read this page and if you desire to support it, write in with your name and affiliation to support the petition. If you know someone at ABP/Anandabazar who would be interested in a discussion, it would be good to get a conversation going.