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Kaithi (कैथी), also called "Kayathi" or "Kayasthi", is the name of a historical script used widely in parts of North India, primarily in the former North-Western Provinces, Oudh (present-day Uttar Pradesh) and Bihar. It was used for writing legal, administrative, and private records.King, Christopher R. 1995. One Language, Two Scripts: The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth Century North India. New York: Oxford University Press.


Kaithi script derives its name from the word Kayastha, a social group of North India that traditionally consists of scribes and clerks.Grierson, George A. 1899. A Handbook to the Kaithi Character. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co. The Kayastha community was closely associated with the princely courts and colonial governments of North India, and were employed by them to write and maintain records of revenue transactions, legal documents, and title deeds; general correspondence; and proceedings of the royal courts and related bodies. The script used by them acquired the name Kaithi.


Documents in Kaithi are traceable to at least the 16th century. The script was widely used during the Mughal period. In the 1880s, during the British Raj, the script was recognized as the official script of the law courts of Bihar. Although in general, Kaithi was much more widely used than Nagari in some areas, it lost to the latter in the power struggle over officially-recognized...
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