Kayathi, Kayasthi, 𑂍𑂶𑂟𑂲
Kaithī script (vowels top three rows, consonants below)
Script type
Time period
c. 16th–mid 20th century
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesAwadhi, Bhojpuri, Hindustani, Magahi, Nagpuri, Maithili
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Sylheti Nagari
Sister systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Kthi (317), ​Kaithi
Unicode alias
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is debated.
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

Kaithi (𑂍𑂶𑂟𑂲), also called Kayathi (𑂍𑂨𑂟𑂲) or Kayasthi (𑂍𑂰𑂨𑂮𑂹𑂟𑂲), is a historical Brahmic script that was used widely in parts of Northern and Eastern India, primarily in the present-day states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. In particular, it was used for writing legal, administrative and private records.[1] It was used for a variety of Indo-Aryan languages, including Angika, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Hindustani, Magahi, and Nagpuri.

Kayasthi (kaithi) signboard at Purbi Gumti Arrah along with Urdu alphabet (on right side) and Roman Script (above). "Lock no. 11" is written on the board in various languages or scripts.
This table sets out the handwritten form of the vowels and consonants of the Kaithi script, as of the middle of the 19th century.
Bhojpuri story written in Kaithi script by Babu Rama Smaran Lal in 1898


Kaithi script derives its name from the word Kayastha, a social group of India that is historically related to writing and traditionally consists of administrators and accountants.[2] The Kayastha community was closely associated with the princely courts and British colonial governments of North India and were employed by them to write and maintain records of revenue transactions, legal documents and title deeds; general correspondence and proceedings of the royal courts and related bodies.[3] The script used by them acquired the name Kaithi.[citation needed]


A printed form of the Kaithi script, as of the mid-19th century
Kaithi Script (left side bottom-most line) on the Coins of Sher Shah Suri

Documents in Kaithi are traceable to at least the 16th century. The script was widely used during the Mughal period. In the 1880s, during the British Raj, the script was recognised as the official script of the law courts of Bihar. Kaithi was the most widely used script of North India west of Bengal. In 1854, 77,368 school primers were in Kaithi script, as compared to 25,151 in Devanagari and 24,302 in Mahajani.[4] Among the three scripts widely used in the 'Hindi Belt', Kaithi was widely perceived to be neutral, as it was used by both Hindus and Muslims alike [citation needed] for day-to-day correspondence, financial and administrative activities, while Devanagari was used by Hindus and Persian script by Muslims for religious literature and education. This made Kaithi increasingly unfavorable to the more conservative and religiously inclined members of society who insisted on Devanagari-based and Persian-based transcription of Hindi dialects. As a result of their influence and due to the wide availability of Devanagari type as opposed to the incredibly large variability of Kaithi, Devanagari was promoted, particularly in the Northwest Provinces, which covers present-day Uttar Pradesh.[5]

In the late 19th century, John Nesfield in Oudh, George Campbell of Inverneill in Bihar and a committee in Bengal all advocated for the use of Kaithi script in education.[6] Many legal documents were written in Kaithi, and from 1950 to 1954 it was the official legal script of Bihar district courts. However, it was opposed by Brahmin elites[according to whom?] and phased out. Present day Bihar courts struggle to read old Kaithi documents.[7]


On the basis of local variants Kaithi can be divided into three classes viz. Bhojpuri, Magahi and Trihuti.[8][9]


Signboard in Bhojpuri Kaithi at Purbi Gumti Arrah along with Persian Script (on right side) and Roman Script (above). "Lock no. 11" is written on the board in various languages or scripts.

This was used in Bhojpuri speaking regions and was considered as the most legible style of Kaithi.[8]


Native to Magah or Magadh it lies between Bhojpuri and Trihuti.[8]


It was used in Maithili speaking regions and was considered as the most elegant style.[8]


All Kaithi consonants have an inherent a vowel:

Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Letter Trans. IPA Letter Trans. Letter Trans. IPA Letter Trans. Letter Trans. IPA
Velar 𑂍 k /k/ 𑂎 kh 𑂏 g /ɡ/ 𑂐 gh 𑂑 /ŋ/
Palatal 𑂒 c /c/ 𑂓 ch 𑂔 j /ɟ/ 𑂕 jh 𑂖 ñ /ɲ/
Retroflex 𑂗 /ʈ/ 𑂘 ṭh 𑂙 /ɖ/ 𑂛 ḍh 𑂝 /ɳ/
𑂚 /ɽ/ 𑂜 ṛh
Dental 𑂞 t /t/ 𑂟 th 𑂠 d /d/ 𑂡 dh 𑂢 n /n/
Labial 𑂣 p /p/ 𑂤 ph 𑂥 b /b/ 𑂦 bh 𑂧 m /m/
Sonorants and fricatives
Palatal Retroflex Dental Labial
Letter Trans. IPA Letter Trans. IPA Letter Trans. IPA Letter Trans. IPA
Sonorants 𑂨 y /j/ 𑂩 r /r/ 𑂪 l /l/ 𑂫 v /ʋ/
Sibilants 𑂬 ś /ɕ/ 𑂭 /ʂ/ 𑂮 s /s/
𑂯 h /h/


Kaithi vowels have independent (initial) and dependent (diacritic) forms:

Trans. Letter Diacritic Shown with k Trans. Letter Diacritic Shown with k
Guttural a 𑂃 𑂍 ā 𑂄 𑂰 𑂍𑂰
Palatal i 𑂅 𑂱 𑂍𑂱 ī 𑂆 𑂲 𑂍𑂲
Rounded u 𑂇 𑂳 𑂍𑂳 ū 𑂈 𑂴 𑂍𑂴
Palatoguttural e 𑂉 𑂵 𑂍𑂵 ai 𑂊 𑂶 𑂍𑂶
Labioguttural o 𑂋 𑂷 𑂍𑂷 au 𑂌 𑂸 𑂍𑂸


Kaithi diacritics with kha (𑂎)

Several diacritics are employed to change the meaning of letters:

Diacritic Name Function
𑂀 chandrabindu A chandrabindu denotes nasalisation although it is not normally used with Kaithi.[3]
𑂁 anusvara An anusvara in Kaithi represents true vowel nasalisation.[3] For example, 𑂍𑂁, kaṃ.
𑂂 visarga Visarga is a Sanskrit holdover originally representing /h/. For example, 𑂍𑂂 kaḥ.[3]
𑂹 halanta A virama removes a consonant's inherent a and in some cases forms consonant clusters. Compare 𑂧𑂥 maba with 𑂧𑂹𑂥 mba.[10]
𑂺 nuqta A nuqta is used to extend letters to represent non-native sounds. For example, 𑂔 ja + nuqta = 𑂔𑂺, which represents Arabic zayin.[3]

Vowel diacritics

The following table shows the list of vowel diacritics on consonants. The vowel diacritics on consonants are call kakahārā (𑂍𑂍𑂯𑂰𑂩𑂰).

𑂃 𑂄 𑂅 𑂆 𑂇 𑂈 𑂉 𑂊 𑂋 𑂌 𑂃𑂁 𑂃𑂂
𑂹𑂍 𑂍 𑂍𑂰 𑂍𑂱 𑂍𑂲 𑂍𑂳 𑂍𑂴 𑂍𑂵 𑂍𑂶 𑂍𑂷 𑂍𑂸 𑂍𑂁 𑂍𑂂
𑂹𑂎 𑂎 𑂎𑂰 𑂎𑂱 𑂎𑂲 𑂎𑂳 𑂎𑂴 𑂎𑂵 𑂎𑂶 𑂎𑂷 𑂎𑂸 𑂎𑂁 𑂎𑂂
𑂹𑂏 𑂏 𑂏𑂰 𑂏𑂱 𑂏𑂲 𑂏𑂳 𑂏𑂴 𑂏𑂵 𑂏𑂶 𑂏𑂷 𑂏𑂸 𑂏𑂁 𑂏𑂂
𑂹𑂐 𑂐 𑂐𑂰 𑂐𑂱 𑂐𑂲 𑂐𑂳 𑂐𑂴 𑂐𑂵 𑂐𑂶 𑂐𑂷 𑂐𑂸 𑂐𑂁 𑂐𑂂
𑂑𑂹 𑂑 𑂑𑂰 𑂑𑂱 𑂑𑂲 𑂑𑂳 𑂑𑂴 𑂑𑂵 𑂑𑂶 𑂑𑂷 𑂑𑂸 𑂑𑂁 𑂑𑂂
𑂹𑂒 𑂒 𑂒𑂰 𑂒𑂱 𑂒𑂲 𑂒𑂳 𑂒𑂴 𑂒𑂵 𑂒𑂶 𑂒𑂷 𑂒𑂸 𑂒𑂁 𑂒𑂂
𑂓𑂹 𑂓 𑂓𑂰 𑂓𑂱 𑂓𑂲 𑂓𑂳 𑂓𑂴 𑂓𑂵 𑂓𑂶 𑂓𑂷 𑂓𑂸 𑂓𑂁 𑂓𑂂
𑂹𑂔 𑂔 𑂔𑂰 𑂔𑂱 𑂔𑂲 𑂔𑂳 𑂔𑂴 𑂔𑂵 𑂔𑂶 𑂔𑂷 𑂔𑂸 𑂔𑂁 𑂔𑂂
𑂕𑂹 𑂕 𑂕𑂰 𑂕𑂱 𑂕𑂲 𑂕𑂳 𑂕𑂴 𑂕𑂵 𑂕𑂶 𑂕𑂷 𑂕𑂸 𑂕𑂁 𑂕𑂂
𑂹𑂖 𑂖 𑂖𑂰 𑂖𑂱 𑂖𑂲 𑂖𑂳 𑂖𑂴 𑂖𑂵 𑂖𑂶 𑂖𑂷 𑂖𑂸 𑂖𑂁 𑂖𑂂
𑂗𑂹 𑂗 𑂗𑂰 𑂗𑂱 𑂗𑂲 𑂗𑂳 𑂗𑂴 𑂗𑂵 𑂗𑂶 𑂗𑂷 𑂗𑂸 𑂗𑂁 𑂗𑂂
𑂘𑂹 𑂘 𑂘𑂰 𑂘𑂱 𑂘𑂲 𑂘𑂳 𑂘𑂴 𑂘𑂵 𑂘𑂶 𑂘𑂷 𑂘𑂸 𑂘𑂁 𑂘𑂂
𑂙𑂹 𑂙 𑂙𑂰 𑂙𑂱 𑂙𑂲 𑂙𑂳 𑂙𑂴 𑂙𑂵 𑂙𑂶 𑂙𑂷 𑂙𑂸 𑂙𑂁 𑂙𑂂
𑂛𑂹 𑂛 𑂛𑂰 𑂛𑂱 𑂛𑂲 𑂛𑂳 𑂛𑂴 𑂛𑂵 𑂛𑂶 𑂛𑂷 𑂛𑂸 𑂛𑂁 𑂛𑂂
𑂹𑂝 𑂝 𑂝𑂰 𑂝𑂱 𑂝𑂲 𑂝𑂳 𑂝𑂴 𑂝𑂵 𑂝𑂶 𑂝𑂷 𑂝𑂸 𑂝𑂁 𑂝𑂂
𑂹𑂞 𑂞 𑂞𑂰 𑂞𑂱 𑂞𑂲 𑂞𑂳 𑂞𑂴 𑂞𑂵 𑂞𑂶 𑂞𑂷 𑂞𑂸 𑂞𑂁 𑂞𑂂
𑂹𑂟 𑂟 𑂟𑂰 𑂟𑂱 𑂟𑂲 𑂟𑂳 𑂟𑂴 𑂟𑂵 𑂟𑂶 𑂟𑂷 𑂟𑂸 𑂟𑂁 𑂟𑂂
𑂹𑂠 𑂠 𑂠𑂰 𑂠𑂲 𑂠𑂲 𑂠𑂳 𑂠𑂴 𑂠𑂵 𑂠𑂶 𑂠𑂷 𑂠𑂸 𑂠𑂁 𑂠𑂂
𑂹𑂡 𑂡 𑂡𑂰 𑂡𑂱 𑂡𑂲 𑂡𑂳 𑂡𑂴 𑂡𑂵 𑂡𑂶 𑂡𑂷 𑂡𑂸 𑂡𑂁 𑂡𑂂
𑂹𑂢 𑂢 𑂢𑂰 𑂢𑂱 𑂢𑂲 𑂢𑂳 𑂢𑂴 𑂢𑂵 𑂢𑂶 𑂢𑂷 𑂢𑂸 𑂢𑂁 𑂢𑂂
𑂹𑂣 𑂣 𑂣𑂰 𑂣𑂱 𑂣𑂲 𑂣𑂳 𑂣𑂴 𑂣𑂵 𑂣𑂶 𑂣𑂷 𑂣𑂸 𑂣𑂁 𑂣𑂂
𑂹𑂤 𑂤 𑂤𑂰 𑂤𑂱 𑂤𑂲 𑂤𑂳 𑂤𑂴 𑂤𑂵 𑂤𑂶 𑂤𑂷 𑂤𑂸 𑂤𑂁 𑂤𑂂
𑂹𑂥 𑂥 𑂥𑂰 𑂥𑂱 𑂥𑂲 𑂥𑂳 𑂥𑂴 𑂥𑂵 𑂥𑂶 𑂥𑂷 𑂥𑂸 𑂥𑂁 𑂥𑂂
𑂹𑂦 𑂦 𑂦𑂰 𑂦𑂱 𑂦𑂲 𑂦𑂳 𑂦𑂴 𑂦𑂵 𑂦𑂶 𑂦𑂷 𑂦𑂸 𑂦𑂁 𑂦𑂂
𑂹𑂧 𑂧 𑂧𑂰 𑂧𑂱 𑂧𑂲 𑂧𑂳 𑂧𑂴 𑂧𑂵 𑂧𑂶 𑂧𑂷 𑂧𑂸 𑂧𑂁 𑂧𑂂
𑂹𑂨 𑂨 𑂨𑂰 𑂨𑂱 𑂨𑂲 𑂨𑂳 𑂨𑂴 𑂨𑂵 𑂨𑂶 𑂨𑂷 𑂨𑂸 𑂨𑂁 𑂨𑂂
𑂹𑂩 𑂩 𑂩𑂰 𑂩𑂱 𑂩𑂲 𑂩𑂳 𑂩𑂴 𑂩𑂵 𑂩𑂶 𑂩𑂷 𑂩𑂸 𑂩𑂁 𑂩𑂂
𑂹𑂪 𑂪 𑂪𑂰 𑂪𑂱 𑂪𑂲 𑂪𑂳 𑂪𑂴 𑂪𑂵 𑂪𑂶 𑂪𑂷 𑂪𑂸 𑂪𑂁 𑂪𑂂
𑂹𑂫 𑂫 𑂫𑂰 𑂫𑂱 𑂫𑂲 𑂫𑂳 𑂫𑂴 𑂫𑂵 𑂫𑂶 𑂫𑂷 𑂫𑂸 𑂫𑂁 𑂫𑂂
𑂹𑂬 𑂬 𑂬𑂰 𑂬𑂱 𑂬𑂲 𑂬𑂳 𑂬𑂴 𑂬𑂵 𑂬𑂶 𑂬𑂷 𑂬𑂸 𑂬𑂁 𑂬𑂂
𑂹𑂭 𑂭 𑂭𑂰 𑂭𑂱 𑂭𑂲 𑂭𑂳 𑂭𑂴 𑂭𑂵 𑂭𑂶 𑂭𑂷 𑂭𑂸 𑂭𑂁 𑂭𑂂
𑂹𑂮 𑂮 𑂮𑂰 𑂮𑂱 𑂮𑂲 𑂮𑂳 𑂮𑂴 𑂮𑂵 𑂮𑂶 𑂮𑂷 𑂮𑂸 𑂮𑂁 𑂮𑂂
𑂹𑂯 𑂯 𑂯𑂰 𑂯𑂱 𑂯𑂲 𑂯𑂳 𑂯𑂴 𑂯𑂵 𑂯𑂶 𑂯𑂷 𑂯𑂸 𑂯𑂁 𑂯𑂂

Signs and Punctuation

Kaithi has several script-specific punctuation marks:

Sign Description
𑂻 The abbreviation sign is one method of representing abbreviations in Kaithi.[3] For example, 𑂪𑂱𑂎𑂱𑂞𑂧 can be abbreviated as 𑂪𑂲𑂻.[3]
𑂽 The number sign is used with digits for enumerated lists and numerical sequences.[3] It can appear above, below, or before a digit or sequence of digits.[3] For example, 𑂽१२३.
𑂼 The enumeration sign is a spacing version of the number sign.[10] It always appears before a digit or sequence of digits (never above or below).
𑂾 The section sign indicates the end of a sentence.[10]
𑂿 The double section sign indicates the end of a larger section of text, such as a paragraph.[10]
𑃀 Danda is a Kaithi-specific danda, which can mark the end of a sentence or line.
𑃁 Double danda is a Kaithi-specific double danda.

General punctuation is also used with Kaithi:


Kaithi uses stylistic variants of Devanagari digits. It also uses common Indic number signs for fractions and unit marks.[10]


Main article: Kaithi (Unicode block)

Kaithi script was added to the Unicode Standard in October 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

The Unicode block for Kaithi is U+11080–U+110CF:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1108x 𑂀 𑂁 𑂂 𑂃 𑂄 𑂅 𑂆 𑂇 𑂈 𑂉 𑂊 𑂋 𑂌 𑂍 𑂎 𑂏
U+1109x 𑂐 𑂑 𑂒 𑂓 𑂔 𑂕 𑂖 𑂗 𑂘 𑂙 𑂚 𑂛 𑂜 𑂝 𑂞 𑂟
U+110Ax 𑂠 𑂡 𑂢 𑂣 𑂤 𑂥 𑂦 𑂧 𑂨 𑂩 𑂪 𑂫 𑂬 𑂭 𑂮 𑂯
U+110Bx 𑂰 𑂱 𑂲 𑂳 𑂴 𑂵 𑂶 𑂷 𑂸 𑂹 𑂺 𑂻 𑂼  𑂽  𑂾 𑂿
U+110Cx 𑃀 𑃁 𑃂  𑃍 
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.1
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


The first Bhojpuri quarterly Bagsar Samāchar was published in this script in 1915.[11]

See also


  1. ^ King, Christopher R. 1995. One Language, Two Scripts: The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth Century North India.New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Grierson, George A. 1899. A Handbook to the Kaithi Character. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pandey, Anshuman (6 May 2008). "L2/08-194: Proposal to Encode the Kaithi Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 June 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ Rai, Alok. "Hindi Nationalism", p. 13
  5. ^ General Report on Public Instruction in the Bengal Presidency, p. 103.
  6. ^ Rai, Alok (2007). Hindi Nationalism (Reprint ed.). London: Sangam Books. p. 51. ISBN 978-81-250-1979-4.
  7. ^ "कहीं पन्नों में दफन न हो जाए कैथी". inextlive (in Hindi). 19 March 2012. Archived from the original on 7 April 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d Grierson, G.A. (1881). A Handbook to the Kayathi Character. Calcutta: Thacar Spink and Co. p. 4.
  9. ^ Grierson, G.A. (1902). Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. V, Part II.
  10. ^ a b c d e "The Unicode Standard, Chapter 15.2: Kaithi" (PDF). Unicode Consortium. March 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  11. ^ Journal of Historical Research. Department of History, Ranchi University. 2004.