Neural Computing and Applications

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1143–1151 | Cite as

Handwritten Urdu character recognition using one-dimensional BLSTM classifier

  • Saad Bin Ahmed
  • Saeeda Naz
  • Salahuddin Swati
  • Muhammad Imran RazzakEmail author
Original Article


The recognition of cursive script is regarded as a subtle task in optical character recognition due to its varied representation. Every cursive script has different nature and associated challenges. As Urdu is one of cursive language that is derived from Arabic script, that is why it nearly shares the similar challenges and complexities but with more intensity. We can categorize Urdu and Arabic language on basis of its script they use. Urdu is mostly written in Nasta’liq style, whereas Arabic follows Naskh style of writing. This paper presents new and comprehensive Urdu handwritten offline database name Urdu-Nasta’liq handwritten dataset (UNHD). Currently, there is no standard and comprehensive Urdu handwritten dataset available publicly for researchers. The acquired dataset covers commonly used ligatures that were written by 500 writers with their natural handwriting on A4 size paper. UNHD is publically available and can be download form We performed experiments using recurrent neural networks and reported a significant accuracy for handwritten Urdu character recognition.


Recurrent neural networks Optical character recognition Cursive offline handwriting 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© The Natural Computing Applications Forum 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saad Bin Ahmed
    • 1
  • Saeeda Naz
    • 2
    • 3
  • Salahuddin Swati
    • 4
  • Muhammad Imran Razzak
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health SciencesRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Information TechnologyHazara UniversityMansehraPakistan
  3. 3.Higher Education DepartmentGovt. Girls Postgraduate College No. 1MansehraPakistan
  4. 4.COMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyAbbottabadPakistan

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