The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

दीपावली मेला

I missed it last year, but today I went to the दीपावली (dīpāvalī, in transliterated Hindi generally given as diwali) festivities held in town. Lots of food stalls, music both good and not so good (I’m generally not much into fusion, though I have heard snippets of excellent bhangra fusion music, as in the movie Bend it like Beckham), and of course gorgeous clothes. There were people selling their skills at mehndi, the art of decorating the body with henna, which was also delightful to watch, and which had beautiful results. The word mehndi comes from the Sanskrit मेन्धिका (mendhikā, the henna plant); lots of information on the practice can be found at the Henna Page and the Art of Mehndi.

I didn’t stay long enough to see the Bollywood dance competition and fashion parade, which I’m sure would have been great fun. However, last night at the mediæval feast organised as an end of term celebration for various English classes (those related to the period, of course), there was a costume competition and mediæval dancing (how do they know, I wonder?), so I had probably used up my quota of such things.

Posted by jamie on October 18, 2003 21:35+13:00


I suppose I shouldn't be impressed that you managed to get the Hindi script displaying perfectly (after all, these things should just work) but I am.

Posted by: Alan on October 20, 2003 21:46+13:00

Hey Alan, nice to see you here!

The devanāgarī in the title should look correct on modern browsers (assuming access to a font with the proper glyphs), but I am impressed if you get the correct rendering of मेन्धिका. The issue is the compounding and the placement of the short i character (which is displayed before the consonant it is sounded after), which in the words in this post only occur in mendhikā. If Safari is giving you the correct rendering, it’s clearly a good browser (and probably also a testament to Mac OSX’s display engine).

But you’re right — these things should just work, and I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can see what I write here displayed correctly on my browser.

Posted by: Jamie on October 21, 2003 07:51+13:00

“I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can see what I write here displayed correctly on my browser.” Konqueror in KDE 3.2 should do that for you. Actually (since you seem to be a Debian user): I am using Debian testing here with Konqueror 3.1.3 but QT 3.2.1, and that combination makes it work already. Safari, as you may know, is based on Konqueror, and the Apple people are contributing their changes back.

Posted by: Stefan Baums on December 16, 2003 18:07+13:00

Well, using Konqueror 3.1.3 and QT 3.2.1 (but only the dependencies for Konqueror) I have yet to find a font which will display the devanāgarī characters in this entry at all (including fonts which include the appropriate glyphs). This is annoying, but doesn’t surprise me — I have several strange font problems on my system, including them not display in some menus and titlebars and using devanāgarī characters for entire applications (xfontsel, for example).

Next year, once Debian releases its next version, I shall do a complete reinstallation of the system and with luck the quirks will go away.

Posted by: Jamie on December 17, 2003 16:47+13:00

The GPLed Gargi font works for me:

I dropped the font in ~/.fonts and ran fc-cache for good measure (though it shouldn’t be necessary), that was all.

Posted by: Stefan Baums on December 18, 2003 08:25+13:00

Thanks for the link to that font; I’ve now installed it. Sadly, looking at this page in Konqueror with that font selected as my standard UTF-8 font results in it crashing with the following output to console:

kdecore (KAction): WARNING: KAction::initPrivate(): trying to assign a shortcut (Alt+Plus) to an unnamed action.
kdecore (KAction): WARNING: KAction::initPrivate(): trying to assign a shortcut (Alt+Minus) to an unnamed action.

The thing is that with the vagaries of fonts on my system, I never know whether it’s worth spending time investigating the issue.

Posted by: Jamie on December 18, 2003 14:39+13:00

The cited URL displays fine in many double-byte UTF-8 languages, But Hindi pull down menus don't seem to work in IE 6, although they work fine in Netscape 7.1 Why?

Posted by: Price Collins on May 21, 2004 01:07+12:00