Bharati braille/ˈbɑrətiː/BAR-ə-tee, or Bhartiya Braille (Hindi: भारती ब्रेलbhāratī brēl IPA: [bʱaːɾət̪iː bɾɛːl] "Indian braille"), is a largely unified braille script for writing the languages of India. When India gained independence, eleven braille scripts were in use, in different parts of the country and for different languages. By 1951 a single national standard had been settled on, Bharati braille, which has since been adopted by Sri Lanka,Nepal, and Bangladesh. There are slight differences in the orthographies for Nepali in India and Nepal, and for Tamil in India and Sri Lanka. There are significant differences in Bengali Braille between India and Bangladesh, with several letters differing. Pakistan has not adopted Bharati braille, so the Urdu Braille of Pakistan is an entirely different alphabet than the Urdu Braille of India, with their commonalities largely due to their common inheritance from English or International Braille. Sinhalese Braille largely conforms to other Bharati, but differs significantly toward the end of the alphabet, and is covered in its own article.
Bharati braille alphabets use a 6-dot cell with values based largely on English Braille. Letters are assigned as consistently as possible across the various regional scripts of India as they are transliterated in the Latin script, so that, for example, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and English are rendered largely the same in braille.
Although basically alphabetic, Bharati braille retains one aspect of Indian abugidas, in that the default vowel a is not written unless it occurs at the beginning of a word. This has been called a "linearized alphasyllabary [abugida]". For example, ⠅K = क ka, and ⠹TH = थ tha. To indicate that a consonant occurs alone (as when followed by another consonant, or at the end of a syllable), a virama prefix is used: ⠈⠅virama-K = क k, and ⠈⠹virama-TH = थ th. However, there are no vowel diacritics; vowels are written as full letters following the consonant in the order they are pronounced. For example, in Devanagari the vowel i is prefixed to a consonant in a reduced diacritic form, but in Bharati braille it follows in its full form: ⠅⠊K-I = कि ki, equivalent to writing 〈कइ〉 for ki in Devanagari. Thus क्लिक klika is written ⠈⠅⠇⠊⠅virama-K-L-I-K. The one exception to not writing short a after a consonant is when it is followed by another vowel. The a must then be written to indicate that the next vowel does not follow the consonant immediately. Thus an actual 〈कइ〉kai is rendered ⠅⠁⠊K-A-I.
Apart from kṣ and jñ, which have special forms in Hindi and Gujarati, Bharati braille does not handle conjuncts. Conjuncts in print are rendered with the virama in braille. Bharati braille is thus equivalent to Grade-1 English braille, though there are plans to extend it to conjuncts in all languages which use it.
The pointing symbol, ⠐, is used for consonant letters that in print are derived by adding a dot to another consonant. For Urdu, the base letter in Devanagari is used: the pointing of the Arabic/Persian script is not reflected. For example, Gurmukhi ਗ਼ / Urdu غ / Devanagari ग़ ġa[ɣ], formed by adding a dot to g in Gurmukhi and Devanagari, is written ⠐⠛point-G in all three. With Urdu, this is only done in India.
^Unesco (2013) also has ⠐⠻ for Gurmukhi ੜ੍ਹ ṛh, but this is an apparent error; ੜ੍ਹ is a sequence ''ṛ-h, not a letter of the Gurmukhi script.
^ abcIn Urdu, ⠟ (kṣ) is used for ق q, the value it has in Unified Braille; ⠱ (jñ) is used for ح ḥ, and ⠷ (ḻ) for ع ʿ. For Devanagari क़ q, the pointing diacritic can be used.
^According to Unesco (2013), this is the value in Indian Nepali, but in Nepalese Nepali it transcribes tr, and several of the other Sanskrit letters are not used. There is no indication of how r is written after other consonants.