(Development & Growth)
This article is a compilation of information available in the field of Tamil Shorthand tracing its origin, development & growth. The available references are provided for authenticity of this information.
Ji. Es An̲antanārāyaṇan̲ / Tamil̲c cur̲ukkel̲uttu akarāti / Cīn̲ivāca Rāv mur̲ai / Tamilc curukkeluttu nul
The Political Swadeshi oratory of India took a serious turn, after the separation of Bengal in 1905. All political leaders started to speak in their regional languages. Officials, who were largely English, did not understand what was being said. The Viceroy of India ordered all the state Governors to take steps to record all the political speeches made in regional languages in verbatim for review and analyse the seditious content and arrest the speakers. To achieve this task, the government felt the need for vernacular shorthand reporters and even offered special incentives for such reporters.
Early days of Tamil shorthand
V.Krishnamachari, a local scholar in Triplicane, Madras published a book “Indian Phonography” based on pitman’s and submitted to the Madras Govt. for approval in 1908. He claimed that his book would enable anyone to write Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Urdu speeches in Shorthand. Srinivasa Rao, while being an instructor at the Provincial Police Training school, published his “Tamil Shorthand Instructor” at his own cost in 1909, printed at Addison & co, Madras and submitted it to the Madras Govt. for approval. This book was an adoption of Pitman’s English shorthand. All the rules & explanations were in English and the examples alone were provided in Tamil.
In recognition of Srinivasa Rao ‘s services, the Govt. appointed him as a full time shorthand instructor of the Police Training School. In addition to that, the government also encouraged him to prepare shorthand books in all other south Indian languages. After the police training school was upgraded as Police Training College, Police Shorthand Bureau was formed separately in 1919 with Srinivasa Rao as instructor and 24 sub-inspectors. In 1920, on the King Emperor’s Birthday, Govt. conferred on him the title of “Rao Sahib”. He passed away on 27th December 1924.
Post Srinivasa Rao Era.
After the demise of Srinivasa Rao, the Madras Govt. published the “Tamil Shorthand Manual” in 1929. Perhaps, the Govt. could have used all the notes and materials prepared by the Vellore Police Shorthand Bureau officers who were trained by Srinivasa Rao. In this edition, all the rules and explanations were in English, but the chapters were not sequenced. The position writing, punctuation, Declension of Nouns and Verbs were provided at the end of the book as tables. The book ran up to 548 pages and a learner could not write a sentence till he finished reading the book. Student who did not know English could not learn this art and the Govt. permitted the students to appear for Tamil shorthand examination only if they had passed English shorthand.
It is worthy of mention here that the first edition of Pitman was published in 1837 and went through various editions over the years with the final and last edition being in 1926. No such effort was made by the Govt. to revise the “Tamil Shorthand Manual”. The revision was necessary not simply because of the passage of time but due to the need to bring up-to-date changes in line with the latest (final) edition of Pitman, besides the development of vernacular usage.
There had been great many systems of shorthand before and after the Pitman’s System. Likewise even in Tamil, there were scholars who had developed systems in “Tamil Shorthand” before and after Srinivasa Rao.
G.S.Ananthanarayanan and Tamil Shorthand.
In May 1953, G.S.Ananathanarayanan, a Tamil Reporter, in the Madras Legislature, compiled the “Tamil Shorthand Book”. This book was an improved version of the original Govt. Tamil Shorthand Manual published in 1929, containing 191 pages as against the 548 printed pages in the original.
The key improvements in his edition were:
The primary purpose of this book was to present pitman based Srinivasa Rao System in a simpler way for the learners.
Since the Madras Govt. had the copyright of Tamil Shorthand Manual (1929), G.S.Ananthanarayanan submitted his compilation as a book to the Govt. for approval and his willingness to abide by the terms and conditions for publication (11th May 1953).
While compiling the book, G.S.Ananthanarayanan started coaching a number of students freely with his manuscript. The classes were conducted at his house # 3, Nallappan Street, Mylopore, Chennai 600004 as well as at Rajeswari Padasala (South Mada Street in Mylapore) in Chennai. The students included government employees, journalists & commercial institute instructors. This greatly helped the author to incorporate exercises useful for learners. In this project, P.K.Lakshminarayanan and K.T.Sundaramoorthi, colleague and Tamil Reporters in the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly and S.Jayaraman from the All India Radio news department, Chennai helped the author.
In 1954, the Govt. constituted an expert committee with the following members to advise a suitable Tamil Shorthand book for adoption (GO: MS No.9961, Education dated 17th July 1954).
This expert committee critically examined G.S.Ananthanarayanan’s manuscript besides another manuscript prepared by N.Kothandaraman colleague and an English reporter in the Legislative Assembly. After the review, the committee recommended, G.S.Ananthanarayanan’s Tamil Shorthand book as the Govt. Text Book. The official language implementation committee accepted the recommendation of the expert committee.
After the approval, it was decided to print the book titled “Tamil Shorthand Book” as a Govt. publication (GO: MS No. 2222 Education dated 17th December 1958). The Govt. sent a letter of appreciation to G.S.Ananthanarayanan for his arduous efforts in compiling the Tamil Shorthand book. Letter Ref 3313-E5/59-11 Education.
“I am directed to convey the appreciation of the government, for the good work rendered by you in having compiled the Shorthand manual in Tamil, which has been adopted as the Government shorthand manual”
The publication of the book was being inordinately delayed. In the mean time, to increase awareness and popularise his Tamil Shorthand book among the larger population, G.S.Ananthanarayanan requested the Govt. to permit him to contribute Tamil Shorthand lessons through a vernacular magazine Kumudam, then the largest circulated Tamil weekly. The Govt. permitted him to do so (GO: MS No.2 Legislative Assembly Department, dated 12th Jan 1962).
Tamil Surukezuthu Nool (First Edition 1965)
Finally in the year 1965, the Tamil Shorthand book titled “Tamil Surukezuthu Nool” (Nool means book) was printed under the full responsibility of the author Ananthanarayanan. The Tamil portions were printed in the Govt. press and the outlines were printed in the Govt. Central survey office (photo-lithographic method). The book ran up to 191 pages and was priced at Rs.6.
The book received warm welcome from all the circles namely students, instructors, journalists, Tamil literary writers and the various organs of Madras Govt. The book review of Mail on 16th October 1965 was as below.
“Tamil Surukezuthu Nool” 1st Edition 1965: Improved, abridged mainly in Tamil – self-instructor. All the rules numbered. Summary of lessons are given. Porul Kuripu agarathi (index) prepared and printed in the end for reference. The book has adopted pitman’s last & final edition ‘New Era’. The author has given copious illustrations at the end of each lesson and a number of model outlines for difficult words and phrases conducive to the proper training of practitioners in this system”.
Second Edition 1977
The second edition was released in the year 1977 without any change as per GO: MS No.380- Education, dated 10th March 1975.
Third Edition 1988
The author revised his 2nd edition focusing on the following:
The author submitted the revised manuscript to the Govt on 17th December 1984 for bringing out the third edition. The Govt. forwarded it to the Director of Technical education for their expert opinion. A three-member expert committee accepted the revisions and forwarded it to the Director of Tamil Development for acceptance and finally the Govt. issued orders to print the book (GO: MS No.77 Tamil Development, dated 23rd March 1987).
The third edition was printed at Kumudam Printers Pvt. Ltd, Chennai and comprised 247 pages with a price of Rs.35.
De-recognition of other Govt. approved Shorthand Books
Initially, the students had a choice to appear in any one of the Govt. approved systems in Tamil Shorthand. Subsequent to the release of “Tamil Surukezuthu Nool” in 1965, students started following this book for preparing themselves for the examination. The Govt. did not find any student appearing for examination in other systems and hence de-recognized them. Thus “Tamil Surukezuthu Nool” (Srinivasa Rao System) authored by Ananthanarayanan has become the only official recognised book and continues to be in vogue.
Ananthanarayanan’s Tamil Shorthand related publications
۱) Tamil Shorthand Dictionary (1980)
Having authored the “Tamil Surukezuthu Nool”,the author Ananthanarayananfelt the need to provide more aids to achieve high degree of proficiency by the students in this art. This has resulted in the publication of “Tamil Shorthand Dictionary” published by the Tamilnadu Text Book society in 1980.
۲) A Guide to Tamil Shorthand (1987
۳) Tamil Braille Shorthand (1992)
All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) – New Delhi constituted a committee of four members to evolve Tamil Shorthand in Braille in 1991. Ananthanarayanan, author of “Tamil Surukezuthu Nool” was one of the members in that committee. The other members were P.V. Subramanian, Vice President, AICB, K.Thiagarajan, Secretary, AICB, M.Gopalakrishnan, Braille Shorthand teacher, National Blind Society. Ananthanarayanan, with his rich experience in that field guided the team to evolve “Tamil Braille Shorthand”.
About the author G.S.Ananthanarayanan.
He married Pattammal in 1950 and has two sons & two daughters, (all married and well settled). He had a younger brother (Late) G.S.Venkataraman, who worked as a Deputy Commercial Tax officer at Thiruvannamalai.
Initially he worked as a teacher in Gurukulam School at Amaravathipudur near Karaikudi and then at Madras Corporation Boy’s School, Lloyds Road, Chennai during the period 1948-1949.
During this time, he had an interest for story writing and wrote contributed stories for Tamil magazines such as Kumaran, Kalki, Kumudam, Kadal and Dinamani Kadir with his pen name “Ananthan”.
Along with his teaching profession & literary interest of writing stories, he also attended classes in English & Tamil typewriting and Tamil Shorthand in the School of Commerce in Kutchery Road at Mylapore (Chennai) and passed his higher grades. He is a life member of the Stenographers Guild.
In December 1949, he joined as temporary Tamil Reporter in the Madras Legislature. Subsequent to his passing of high-speed test examination in Tamil shorthand in the Tamilnadu Public Service commission (TNPSC), he was regularised as Tamil Reporter in 1951.
He was promoted as Chief Reporter and then as the Deputy Secretary (Editor of Debates) and retired in the year 1986, after 37 years of Govt. service.
With his own Tamil shorthand system, the author recorded the verbatim the religious lectures of Ki Va Ja, Kanchi Maha Swamigal and they were published as books.
Complete works of G.S.Ananthanarayanan