Dhives Akuru or Divehi Akuru (island letters), is a script formerly used to write the Maldivian language. This script was called Dives Akuru by H. C. P. Bell who studied Maldive epigraphy when he retired from the British government service in Colombo and wrote an extensive monograph on the archaeology, history and epigraphy of the Maldive islands.
The Dhives Akuru developed from the Grantha script. The early form of this script was Dīvī Grantha, which Bell called Evēla Akuru (ancient letters) to distinguish it from the more recent variants of the same script. The ancient form (Evẽla) can be seen in the loamaafaanu (copper plates) of the 12th and 13th centuries and in inscriptions on coral stone (hirigaa) dating back to the Maldive Buddhist period. Like Sinhala script and most of the native scripts of India (but not Thaana), Dhives Akuru descended ultimately from the Brahmi script and thus was written from left to right.
Dhives Akuru was still used in some atolls in the South Maldives as the main script around 70 years ago. Since then its use has been limited to scholars and hobbyists. It can still be found on gravestones and some monuments, including the stone base of the pillars supporting the main structure of the ancient Friday mosque in Malé. Bell obtained an astrology book written in Dhives Akuru in Addu Atoll, in the south of the Maldives, during one of his trips. This book is now kept in the National Archives of Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Bodufenvalhuge Sidi, an eminent Maldivian scholar, wrote a book called Divehi Akuru in 1959, prompted by then Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir, in order to clarify Bell's errors. However, Maldivian cultural associations have not paid much attention to Sidi's work and keep perpetuating those errors.
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
|The Brahmic script and its descendants|