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 with
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 (
Rachana 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 main objective of
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 berendered. For e.g.
സ്ക്രൂ -> സ്ക്രൂ (with conjoined ‘uu’kar). This kind of substitutions are
With the 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