Annual of Urdu Studies, v. 6, 1987 p. 119.


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DB: I think it can be developed. It is just difficult with the kind of technology that I have been using: a print head that moves from left to right on one line while we are dealing with a script that goes from upper right to lower left Then there is the additional problem of different heights of the letters and connectors and non-connectors . but with the new printers, with twenty-four pins and higher resolution, I believe it is possible. I worked on nasta'liq for about six months and got five or six letters from different series. Then I decided to try nasx and six weeks later I had a workable program. I called it "Zabardast," but later changed the name to "Khushnavis." In its present form, as you already know, it can print in four different margin settings with left and right justification; one can combine Urdu, English, German, French and Spanish within one line, etc. But I wish I had more room to imbibe other features, like centering, itallics, etc. I wrote it in "Basic" using an IBM compiler and that limits the space. I do not have training in computers. I have learned everything by trial and error and by a lot of perseverance. Maybe other people who are trained as software programmers can write better programs.

Ml: Do you see a lot of users for your Urdu program7

DB: I don't know. There seem to be more users for my Hindi and Telugu programs. What I have done for those scripts is a little bit more unique. The typewriter gives a fairly poor output for those languages and in my program, though you have to type in romanized version, the output is rather pleasing, and people are willing to make this effort. For Arabic script, you have letter quality typewriters and perhaps it is more difficult to learn transliteration. Maybe it is less of a payoff in terms of output because though you do have a nicely centered page . but with a selective typewriter, with an Arabic or Persian element, you also get pretty nice print, though without proportionate spacing.

Ml. Is it satisfying to sit for hours and hours in front of the screen7

DB: Yes, it is. As I said, I don't have any formal training in computers. So I do everything like a layman, and each new problem solved teaches me something. At times I work on a problem for days and days and then I realize it was so simple. Or at other times I let my unconscious work for me. So a problem stays with me for days or weeks and suddenly in the middle of the night I find the solution. So I think in a certain way it is satisfying.

Ml: I thank you for doing this. DB: Thank you.

Annual of Urdu Studies, #6 119


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