Laṇḍā scripts

Landa script Chart.

The Laṇḍā scripts (also Lahnda, Landa), meaning "without a tail", is a Punjabi word used to refer to a writing system used in Panjab and nearby parts of North India.[1] It is distinct from the Lahnda language, which used to be called Western Punjabi.

There are at least ten ancient scripts that classify as Laṇḍā scripts. They tended to be used as the mercantile scripts of the Punjab region and were normally not used for literary purposes.

Laṇḍā is a script that evolved from the Śāradā script during the 10th century. It was widely used in the northern and north-western part of India in the area comprising Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir and some parts of Baluchistan and NWFP. It was used to write Punjabi, Hindi, Sindhi, Saraiki, Balochi, Kashmiri,Pashto and various Punjabi dialects like Pothohari.

In later centuries, the Gurmukhī alphabet evolved from Laṇḍā. Khojki, an ecclesiastical script of the Ismaili Khoja community, is within the Sindhi branch of the Landa family of scripts.[2] Mahajani, a script previously used for the Punjabi and Marwari languages, is related to Laṇḍā. The Khudabadi script, formerly used for Sindhi, is a Laṇḍā-based script. In the late 19th century, Sindhi started using the Devanagari and Persian scripts. Similarly, people in northern India began using Devanagari to write Hindi.

Modern usage

Nowadays, the script is mostly used by small family-owned businesses in Indian Punjab and some neighboring provinces. Such businesses use it to hide what is being written from customers. People knowing the script are generally reluctant to share it with others, imparting the information only to those close to them. However, the use of the script is becoming less and less common as the need for such secrecy in business matters has died.


  1. 中西, 亮 (1980-01-01). Writing systems of the world: alphabets, syllabaries, pictograms. Rutland, Vt.; Tokyo, Japan: C.E. Tuttle Co. pp. 50–51. ISBN 0804812934.
  2. Pandey, Anshuman. 2009. Proposal to Encode the Khojki Script in ISO/IEC 10646
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