Many Indian words trace roots to Persian

Name-change trend puts Persian loan words in focus.

Hyderabad: Names like Shah, Namdar, Nareeman or Nariman are Persian in origin and are used in India due to the cultural influences brought by travellers and traders over the centuries. The name-changing spree which is being seen in Uttar Pradesh and the chant picked up in other parts of India, including in Hyderabad, led historian Irfan Habib to ask the BJP to change the name its president Amit Shah first, as ‘Shah’ had its origins in the Persian and meant king.

He stated that the party should also change the name of Gujarat as that term too is of Persian origin. It was called Gujaratra earlier. Former head of the department of Persian language at Osmania University, Prof. Tanveer Khudanumai, explained, “The Persian language emerged from Pehlawi. Pehlawi and Sanskrit are sister languages hence there are many similarities between the two languages. In India, the Persian influence is seen in the Hindi and Deccan belts and is also seen in Bengali and Odia. The common man uses many Persian words which have become a part of the daily language. These linguistic influences are the international law of the language which change and are also absorbed by different cultures over centuries.”

The common Persian words used in Hindi and Urdu are chaddar, zameen, dil, chera, zaroori, dewana, khoob, rang, narangi, safed, hamesha, shayad, kharab, khali, gae, murghi, charbi among others.

Historical references show that when Chatra-pathi Shivaji wanted to communicate with Rajasthani Jai Singh, the general of the Mughal Army in the Deccan belt in the 17th century, he used the Persian language as a means of communication.

Raja Rammohan Roy edited and wrote in a Farsi newspaper which showed the historical connections that have drawn with the language. Mustafa Kamal, a Ph.D scholar who studied about the origin and development of Urdu language in the Deccan region, explained, “The influence of language was also due to business and trade. Most of the businesses which emerged with the trade with Iran started having these names.

“The Gujarat belt has a lot of people whose surnames are Batliwala, Rasiwala and others and these are not necessarily only Parsi or Muslim. Hence the language interact ion in trade also had its impact which made its adoption as a sign of the trade which would be for convenience and was later a part of the culture,” Dr Kamal explained. The name game which is presently being played may be for appeasement but history gives a different picture.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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