Ismaili communities such as the Ithnashari Khoja (“Twelver Shia”) and Agakhani Khoja
use a convention for transliterating Arabic into the Gujarati script. The
convention allows for the representation of Arabic letters and signs for which
there are no corresponding characters in Gujarati. The diacritics used in
the convention are written with Gujarati letters that mostly closely
approximate the Arabic sound being represented.
The creation of the full set and the first documented printing of
these signs was undertaken by the Ithnashari Khoja publisher Gulāmalī Ismāʾil of
Bhavnagar, Gujarat in 1901. The characters are now standard elements of the
Gujarati orthography used by these communities.
Some of these diacritics are shown below, with
color coding added, in an excerpt of a printed version of the Qurʾān in the
I’ve written a proposal
to encode these characters as combining signs in the Gujarati block of the Unicode
standard. I am interested in communicating with users about these and other signs
used in Gujarati for similar purposes. Thank you to Iqbal Akhtar for informing me
about these signs.