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Subject: Re: Names from India
Author: তন্ময় ভট্টাচার্য্য   (guest)
Date: November 24, 2017 at 8:33:19 AM
Reply to: Names from India by Caprice
Manvi and Santoshi you asked about before, and I responded (see

The -ben suffix comes from the Sanskrit word bhaginI meaning sister. It is a common honorific in Gujarati. In the slightly norther region near Delhi, the corresponding term is bahinji (the -ji is an honorific of Punjabi origin of unclear etymology).

[This Sanskrit word bhagini comes from a root bhaj meaning to share out (e.g., the produce), whose proto-Indoeuropean root also gave us the English words beech (probably referring to its edible qualities) and book; bhaga, originally meaning the person in charge of dividing the wealth (e.g., produce) developed the senses lord, fortune and prosperity, a\and also a deity (compare a similar development in Phrygian Zeus Bagaios) that presided over prosperity, love, and marriage, and from the last, the meaning shifted to love, passion, and also the perinaeum. The feminine bhagA meant beauty etc., but also sexual passion and the female genitalia. bhagini etymologically is someone with "bhaga", and prudently described as someone with the good fortune to have a brother, but may originally have referred to a female relative because of the other senses of the word bhaga/bhagA.]

The Sanskrit haMsa referred to a variety of aquatic birds, typically the swan. The etymology is unclear, native grammarians link it to the phonetically closest root han, which usually means to kill (and is etymologically related to the second part of English de/fend). In any case, the point is that haMsa was a symbol of purity, so much so that it could mythically slurp up the soma (a drink with strong religious significance in the rigveda) leaving the mixed in water behind: in later times (when soma had lost its importance), this became drink up the milk leaving the water behind. haMsa also carried the ashwins (ancient (sun)gods of medicine), and in later mythology brahma (creator) and sarasvati (goddess of learning and music). It also referred to the soul (because of purity and migratory nature), or to the universal life principle. In any case, it has been used as a name for a very long time.

I haven't heard of Parsi as a name, but the word means one of Persian origin, the word Persia itself derived from the name of a particular tribe with unclear etymology.

The name Anju is a hypocoristic form often of names derived from Sanskrit aJj (the J is Harvard-Kyoto transcription of a soft (palatal) n sound), that means to smear or anoint. For example aJjali means a curved palm (as if to smear paint with the edge of the palm, or to hold liquids, or to beg, etc.) that, when raised to the hand, was the usual thanks given for receiving food, and was also how flowers were given to Gods etc. Similarly aJjanA referred among other things to painting the eyebrows with a black substance.

A one year old next to me is demanding attention. The rest of the response later.

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