Genesis and Rationale
The idea of using the traditional script in Malayalam computing drew enough focus
when ‘Rachana Akshara Vedi’ was founded under the leadership of R. Chitrajakumar
in 1999. A version of Rachana font based on the definitive character set of Malayalam
The Unicode version of
Rachana font was designed in 2005 and its distribution and maintenance became the
flagship product of Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (
Since shaping engines (Harfbuzz and Uniscribe) matured around 2015, errors in
character combinations were more prominently noticed in Rachana and Meera. The
font featuring demanded further scrutiny and modifications. The ever increasing
demand of ornamental fonts from typesetters had also to be addressed. Additionally,
the maintainers of Rachana began to release and maintain fonts of reformed script
that clearly deviated from our commitment to the traditional script upheld by
Rachana Aksharavedi. As such, there appeared a vacuum of an organized forum
for traditional script to carry forward its cause and to act as a steaming
fulcrum of advocacy for traditional script and typography based on it. At this
point in time, Rachana Institute of Typography (
Institute of Typography released its first font Sundar in 2018.
RIT-Rachana fully respects its historical role played by the Rachana movement in resurrecting the original script of Malayalam. It completely adheres to the definitive character set devised by R. Chitrajakumar.
- The font featuring (
GSUB) of Rachana is completely revamped holding the right spirit of definitive character set which replaced all previous modifications
- All the glyphs in Rachana have been redesigned.
- Rachana Italic, bold and BoldItalic were also freshly designed and generated respective font variants.
The best part of new
shaping rules is that when the text contains a combination of characters for
which the conjunct glyph is not available in the font, correct substitution of
glyphs adhering to traditional orthography will be rendered. This kind of
substitutions are problematic in
release of the new font, namely, ‘Ezhuthu’ drawn by renowned calligrapher,
Narayana Bhattathiri, on November 1, 2020,
We hope future conservation of Malayalam
documents will be based on the conjunct formulations perfected by