Mr. Nandalal of India reading Braille (1949)

Bharati Braille [भारती ब्रेल] is a semi-unified system for Indian languages that enables blind & visually impaired people to read & write through touch. It is a linearized alpha-syllabary where each Braille character roughly represents an Indian grapheme.

Bharati Braille is based on the 6 dot standard Braille system which was adopted for Indian languages in 1951. Bharati Braille for each individual language (e.g. Hindi, Odia) differs in a few Braille characters to accommodate some language specific phonological peculiarities.

Bharati Braille for Hindi

In fact, before Indian independence there were 11 different Braille scripts in vogue in India. In 1950 at Paris, @UNESCO organized “World Braille Conference” which helped standardize “Bharati Braille” for Indian languages.

In India it is used for writing Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Punjabi, Assamese, Malayalam, Nepali, Odia, Telugu, & Urdu. Bharati Braille is also adopted with some changes to write Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, Nepali in Nepal and Bengali in Bangladesh.

You can convert any Devanagari text into Bharati Braille using this handy converter for free – E.g. निकास nikās (exit) —> ⠝⠊⠅⠜⠎

This converter has its limitations but it is a open source application. More work can be done on this excellent tool by concerned organizations using the source code available here

Here’s is Mr. Manoj Yadav of Delhi, the winner of “Drishti Essay Competition” reading out from his essay written in Bharati Braille.