Gopalakrishnan, alias Thagadoor Gopi, passed away on Saturday after suffering a cardiac arrest in Hyderabad.

Founder of HiGopi whose code lets us type in Tamil online passes away
news Death Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 14:59

If you sat down to count Gopapalakrishnan’s achievements, you’d be at the task for quite some time. The 42-year-old had worked at notable software companies in India and abroad, and contributed to developing various technologies.

But what he will be remembered for most is that he gave the world the Unicode to convert English into Tamil fonts, and those of various other regional Indian languages.

Gopalakrishnan, alias Thagadoor Gopi, passed away on Saturday after suffering a cardiac arrest in Hyderabad.

Contribution to Tamil computing

Today, we can type in several languages – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi, among others – on our phones and computers, all thanks to Gopi.

A Dharmapuri native, he was also the first person to come up with a universal code which allowed for English to be transliterated into other Indian languages.

This Unicode facilitated the transliteration of English fonts into more than nine languages – Gopi designed and coded the characters of each word for the regional languages.

His website HiGopi.com also had multiple open-source software developed by him, which made it easier for people to transliterate English to Tamil online using the ‘Adhiyaman Converter’. At a time where paywalls are becoming a norm, Gopi was an advocate for open-sourcing too.

Public service

Gopi was involved in taking Tamil and computing to the poor. IAS officer Sangayam recalled Gopi’s contribution to a project ‘Thodu Vaanam’ when he was collector of Namakkal.

Through Thodu Vaanam, Gopi taught Tamil to underprivileged students in the district.

He even took the project to Madurai when Sangayam was transferred there.

Calling Gopi’s demise a “great loss to Tamil computing”, Sangayam added that Gopi placed a lot of faith in his district of Dharmapuri. He was also fascinated with ‘King Adhiyaman’ (a royal dynasty that ruled from Tagadur, present day Dharmapuri) and added ‘Adhiyaman’ to the names of his projects.

Personal life

There isn’t much written about Gopi in the public domain.

His father, Thanikachalam, is a retired teacher and his mother, Thokayarkarasi, used to work as a bank employee.

His interest in Tamil and coding went back over a decade – it was his friend Seenu who encouraged him to take it up in 2004.

With over 15 years of technical experience, Gopi was working in Hyderabad.

Gopi is survived by his wife and two children, aged six and two respectively.

His body was brought to Dharmapuri on Monday, and his remains were buried in Kumarasamipettai, his hometown.

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