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Avagraha symbol used to indicate prodelision of an अ a in many Indian languages as shown below. It is usually transliterated with a symbol which looks like the letter 's' in roman script, as in the Sanskrit philosophical expression शिवोऽहम् Śivo ’ham (Śivaḥ aham) , which is a sandhi of (शिव: + अहम्) ‘I am Shiva’. The avagraha is also used for prolonging vowel sounds in modern languages, for example Hindi माँऽऽऽ! for ‘Mãããã!’ when calling to one’s mother, or when transliterating foreign words in instant messaging, for example, coOol can be transliterated as कूऽल .

The character is also sometimes used as a symbol to denote long or heavy syllables, in metrical poetry. For example, the syllables in the word छंदः chandaḥ ‘metre’ (in nominative) can be denoted as "ऽ ऽ", meaning two long syllables. (Cf. other notations in entry "Systems of scansion".)

Avagraha in Unicode[edit]

The avagraha symbol is encoded at several Unicode points, for various Indic scripts that use it:

Avagraha characters in Unicode
Character Unicode Character Number Full Unicode Name
U+093D Devanagari sign avagraha
◌꣱ U+A8F1 Combining Devanagari sign avagraha
U+A8F7 Devanagari sign candrabindu avagraha
U+09BD Bengali sign avagraha
U+0ABD Gujarati sign avagraha
U+0B3D Oriya sign avagraha
U+0C3D Telugu sign avagraha
U+0CBD Kannada sign avagraha
U+0D3D Malayalam sign avagraha
U+1BBA Sundanese sign avagraha
𑓄 U+0114C4 Tirhuta sign avagraha