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Manipur friends start crowdfunding drive to build phone keyboard to type Tangkhul language

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: A group of seven friends in Manipur has started a crowdfunding drive to build a virtual keyboard that will allow typing in the Tangkhul language on smartphones. The keyboard will be available on both iOS and Android operating systems.

A Sino-Tibetan language, Tangkhul is mostly spoken by the Tangkhul Naga tribe in Manipur’s Ukhrul district and a few other places in the Northeast.

The initiative is the brainchild of Ngashanngam Zingyo, from the state’s Halang village, who realised that many young people belonging to the tribe today struggle to read and write in the language.

In a bid to promote and preserve Tangkhul, Zingyo, therefore, decided to launch an initiative called Āva̱ramtui, along with six of his friends. Building a smartphone keyboard is part of this initiative.

“We live in a digital age today where writing is mostly done through digital platforms, with less use of pen and paper. Our team decided to do a project. It is about typing on a keyboard. We don’t have a separate script for the Tangkhul language and instead use English alphabets with two additional letters Ā and A̱. But there are only 26 letters by default in a keyboard…so we decided it would be good to have a keyboard for smartphones with the two additional letters,” the team told ThePrint.

To build this keyboard, they have now launched a crowdfunding campaign with a target set of Rs 50,000 to pay the software developers.

Micro snail species discovered deep inside limestone cave in Meghalaya

A snail species measuring less than two millimetres in length has been discovered deep inside a limestone cave in Meghalaya’s Mawsmai village.

Named Georissa mawsmaiensis, the new species was discovered by Nipu Kumar Das and N.A. Aravind, scientists at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in Bengaluru.

A member of the same genus called Georissa saritta was discovered in the same area some 170 years ago by W.H. Benson, a civil servant in British India and an amateur malacologist (one who studies shell-less invertebrates).

As many as five snail species have previously been discovered from the caves of Meghalaya.

“The cave has a very unique environment that can harbour unique faunal diversity. There are several studies on cave biodiversity in Southeast Asian countries and other parts of the world, which reported various animals including snails, but very few studies are there from Indian caves,” the two scientists have been quoted as saying.

Also read: Myanmar crisis forces kids in Mizoram village to climb a mountain for ‘Indian’ internet 

Nagaland man plants seeds of ‘alien’ fruits

L. Hangthing, a resident of Noklak village in Nagaland, has been successfully farming many non-indigenous crops in his little hamlet for the past several years. Hangthing has so far introduced villagers of Noklak to kiwi, litchi, cardamom and other fruits as well as vegetables.

Hangthing’s journey began in 1987 when he first set up a small nursery in his village. After growing some locally available fruits and vegetables, he soon began collecting seeds of food that people ate and threw away. He accumulated these ‘alien’ seeds from various parts of the state and its neighbouring areas.

Over time, he taught the villagers of Noklak to grow oranges and potatoes too. Until then, potatoes were transported to Noklak from Assam.

“I want people to not buy something that they can grow. My effort has been to show them the way and continue doing so,” Hangthing told The New Indian Express.

Assam girl breaks national record in 100m swimming event

Astha Choudhury from Assam recently broke a national record in the 100m butterfly swimming event at the 47th Glenmark Junior National Aquatic Championship held in Bengaluru this week.

Choudhury had Wednesday clocked 1:02.71s in the event, beating Damini Gowda’s national record of 1:04.66s, created in 2016.

Choudhury told EastMojo that she could train for only three months. “We went home due to the Covid-19 situation. We trained in Delhi the last three months,” she has been quoted as saying.

“After two years I’m competing in the Junior Nationals and I want to thank my coach Partha Pratim Majumder. It would not have been possible without him. He is my biggest supporter,” she added.

Also read: ‘God’s gift’ Hathei chillis and Tamenglong oranges of Manipur get GI tag


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