Badaga and vedic character ‘Chandrabindu’ !

A language takes thousands of years to develop and to to be in ‘circulation’ it needs to be actively spoken. But to survive, it needs a script that can be easily and effectively used. Badaga language (படக பாஷை), spoken by a few lakhs of people called Badagas belonging to the Nilgiris in South India, is an unique language that can stand on its own merit and has stood the test of time.

Sadly, there is ‘deep corruption’ of this beautiful ‘bashe’ by the unmindful and unscientific mixing of Tamil and English by Badagas themselves who think that conversing in Tamil or English is more fashionable.

Attempts have been made by a few to develop a Badaga Script, notably by Anandhan Raju, Kadasolai Yogesh Raj and Karimora Saravana Raju [tough not related, the name Raju is coincidental]. Anandhan Raju, first published his ‘fully developed‘ script in this website and it can be easily accessed and downloded. See Badaga Script page

Though Tamil and English scripts has been used to ‘reflect’ full sentences/stories/ballads etc of Badaga, a couple of hundred years back, it comes as a surprise to learn that in the late 1800s, Kannada script was been used by German Missionaries, who were desperate to convert the natives to Christianity. They published a few chapters of Bible in Badaga

Vinodh Rajan, who is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, Scotland writes to say, “I am more interesting in writing systems of minority languages and I came across Badaga. I was researching the net and I found that Badaga used a modified Tamil with “:” sign to denote b,d,g etc  which are absent in Tamil as in ப:ட:க:. I then stumbled upon documents where Badaga was written in Kannada script”. I find the use of ‘CHANDRA BINDU’, a (Sanskrit) Vedic character.

 C BinduProposal to encode Kannada Sign Spacing Candrabindu

pic_1Vinodh Rajan []


The Badaga language is a minority language in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is spoken by approximately 400 000 people around the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu. It is closely related to the Kannada language. However, Badaga does not have any script of its own. At present, it is commonly written using the Tamil script. Recently, there have been attempts to create a separate Badaga script [1].

In the late 19th century, the Christian missionaries attempted to use the Kannada script to write Badaga (perhaps due the language’s similarity to Kannada). Several New Testament gospel books were translated into Badaga and published using the Kannada script [2] [3].

Badaga Orthography in Kannada Script

Badaga when written with Kannada orthography seems to use only un-aspirated consonants. It also uses subjoined Kannada LLLA, which probably represents the retroflex vowels unique to the Badaga language.

But the most interesting is the use of a spacing Candrabindu character, which probably represents nasalization.

L in BadagaL in Badaga2

(Sample Text from the Gospel of Luke in Badaga Language)


māḍu, yēkāṁdale yeṁgū yeṁga tappugāraruga buṭṭaneyō ; innu eṁgḻuva
sōdanega sētade kēḍoṁda tappisu, eṁdu hḻēgivi enna .

[Read his full article]

It is proposed that this new character be named as “KANNADA SIGN SPACING CANDRABINDU” and encoded in the Kannada range of the Universal Character Set…….

This character is to be annotated as “used in the Badaga language”

Encoding Kannada Letter Spacing Candrabindu

The Kannada block in the UCS already has a combining Candrabindu encoded at U+0C81. It might be argued that the proposed character be unified with the already encoded Candrabindu character. However, such unification is unwanted. Apart from the difference in the character property, U+0C81 is attested for Vedic orthography in the Kannada script, whereas the proposed character is attested for the Badaga orthography. Simultaneous plain text representation of both orthographies would become impossible with such unification.

Also, unlike the Vedic Candrabindu, the proposed character combines with Anusvara. It is for this reason the character is proposed as “Lo” rather than “Mc” (similar to U+A8F2 which is also a spacing Candrabindu but in Devanagari).

B to k

The encircled word reads: māḍidā ṁbaduna

It is to be noted that several scripts in Unicode have spaced and combining forms of the same character. In fact, in the main Indic block, Devanagari has a combining Candrabindu U+0901 and also spacing Candrabindu U+A8F2. The recently encoded Grantha script also has a combining Anusvara U+11300 (proposed) and spacing Anusvara U+11301.

On the same lines, it is proposed that a ne w character, KANNADA SIGN SPACING CANDRABINDU be encoded to support the minority Badaga orthography.
Additional Attestations

B to K3References

1. Badaga Script:
2. The Gospel of Mark in Badaga:
3. The Gospel of Luke in Badaga: -pdf/badaga-luke-nt.pdf


One response to “Badaga and vedic character ‘Chandrabindu’ !

  1. Sir,
    I like your approach of using English script for Badugu language. I think this is the only practical way to retain badugu. In recent times, one of the leading tamil writer proposing the idea of using english letter for tamil to increase readers.
    When the languages like tamil in that direction, trying to create own script doesn’t make sense to badugu.

    Thanks & Regards,


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