Modi alphabet

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Dnyaneshwari Verse In Modi Script.png
A verse from Dnyaneshwari in Moḍī script
Languages Marathi, Sanskrit, Gujarathi, Kannada, and Tamil
Time period
c. 1600–c. 2010
Parent systems
Sister systems
ISO 15924 Modi, 324
Direction Left-to-right
Unicode alias
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.

Moḍī (मोडी) is one of the scripts used to write the Marathi language, which is the primary language spoken in the state of Maharashtra in western India. It was developed by Hemadpant (or Hemadri Pandit) during the reign of Mahadev Yadav and Ramdev Yadav (1260–1309). Modi was used to write Marathi till 19th century before Devanagari was officially adopted. Although, Modi was primarily used to write Marathi, other languages such as Urdu, Kannada, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil[citation needed] are also known to have been written in Modi.


The name most likely derives from the verb "modane" (मोडणे), meaning "to break" in Marathi. Modi is believed to be derived from broken Devanagari characters, which lends support to that particular etymology. However, there are also other experts who believe that the word 'Modi' could have been derived from the word 'Mouryi', which indicates the origin or derivation of Modi from an earlier 'Mouryi' script used during the reign of the Maurya dynasty, who ruled India during 322–185 BCE. However, there is no resemblance in these two scripts, and this opinion is no longer considered valid. Modi was developed as a faster way of writing Marathi as compared to the more complicated Devanagari script. This was done by "breaking" some of the characters of the alphabet (to make them simpler) and also by making them more "circular" in shape, which aided in moving from one character to the next without lifting the pen from the paper. Thus, Modi was a sort of "cursive" style of writing Marathi, although reading it may not have been as easy.

Given here is a picture showing all Modi script glyphs, prepared by using kotem1 Clip font.

Modi had a major use as a shorthand script for faster writing in business and other administration. Modi does not take account of vowel length, and does not include conjunct consonants like Devanagari and some other Indic scripts.

A Modi clip font kotem1 developed by Ashok Kothare, is now available.

Even today, most of the material in Modi is handwritten. Using offset printing machines, previously Lithography printing was in vogue. However, Devanagari has been the main script for all Marathi literature and other writings from the beginning. Modi was used primarily by political and administrative people as well as businessmen in keeping their accounts and writing Hundis (credit notes). Modi was also used to encrypt the message since not all people were well versed in reading this script. All Marathi writing has been written and printed in the Devanagari script, which is the same script as is used to write Hindi and some other Indian languages.

Some linguists in Pune have recently begun trying to revive the script.[1] The Modi script has been included in the Unicode standard.[2][3][4]


The Modi alphabet (U+11600–U+1165F) was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1160x 𑘀 𑘁 𑘂 𑘃 𑘄 𑘅 𑘆 𑘇 𑘈 𑘉 𑘊 𑘋 𑘌 𑘍 𑘎 𑘏
U+1161x 𑘐 𑘑 𑘒 𑘓 𑘔 𑘕 𑘖 𑘗 𑘘 𑘙 𑘚 𑘛 𑘜 𑘝 𑘞 𑘟
U+1162x 𑘠 𑘡 𑘢 𑘣 𑘤 𑘥 𑘦 𑘧 𑘨 𑘩 𑘪 𑘫 𑘬 𑘭 𑘮 𑘯
U+1163x 𑘰 𑘱 𑘲 𑘳 𑘴 𑘵 𑘶 𑘷 𑘸 𑘹 𑘺 𑘻 𑘼 𑘽 𑘾 𑘿
U+1164x 𑙀 𑙁 𑙂 𑙃 𑙄
U+1165x 𑙐 𑙑 𑙒 𑙓 𑙔 𑙕 𑙖 𑙗 𑙘 𑙙
1.^ As of Unicode version 7.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Contemporary research on historical documents written in Modi script [1]
  2. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. 2009. Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Modi Script in ISO/IEC 10646[dead link]
  3. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. 2010. Revised Code Chart and Names List for the Modi Script
  4. ^ BabelStone: What's new in Unicode 7.0

External links[edit]