Wednesday 25 December 2013

CONCLUSION - Family Names

CONCLUSION - Family Names

Until mid-nineteenth century Hindus all over India did not use family names. It was their first name followed by the fathers name which was commonly used. As the British used family names extensively families who came in touch with them and migrated to British controlled regions also adopted the system of using family names.

Traditional Marwari names provide many examples of the relationship between lineage and geographical aspects of identity, as well as connections to trade and occupation.

1. Lineage: Names formed from the suffix '-ka' being added to a nickname for eg. Himmatsingka would relate to an ancestor named "Himmatsing" who became opoular in the society and his successors came to be known as  "Himmatsing Ka Beta" or "Himmatsing Ka Pota" literally meaning  "Himmatsing's Son" or "Himmatsing's Grandson". Family names like Murar-ka, Goen-ka, Harbajan-ka, Harlal-ka. Khem-ka are some examples of prominent Marwari names which originated from an ancestor.

2. Geographical Location: Named formed from the suffix '-wala', '-wal' or '-ia' being added to a nickname would relate to the family last village/town of migration while migrating within Sekhawati region. for eg. Tibre-wal comes from tiba, a village in Khetri. Jhunjhun-wala, Dumre-wala, Khandel-wal, Ganeri-wala, Kanod-ia, Didwan-ia, Patod-ia, Ber-ia, Manglun-ia, Makhar-ia, Murmur-ia, Garod-ia, Singod-ia, Bagar-ia, Sultan-ia, Parasrampur-ia, Singhan-ia, Sanganer-ia etc can all be traced to existing villages in the Sekhawati region.

Some Bania families form 'Bhiwani' region of Haryana role to prominence in the trade circles used 'Agarwalla' or 'Agarwal' as their official family name however they continue to be referred to as Bhwani-wala (pronounced as bihani-hala) by the older members of the community.

3. Occupation: There is no thumb rules to family names originating from occupations. Here are a few examples and their meaning

a. Modi: This family name is used across by Parsis, Gujarati Banias and Marwaris. Modi means 'Official Supplier'. Armies maintained by the princely states shifted from region to region to fight wars hence a Modi was appointed as the official supplier to the army who was responsible of arranging for provisioning and ratio for the army wherever it set its camp.

b. Todi: The name comes from the word 'toddy' which is country liquor. As the British established cantonments in different parts of India supply of good quality alcohol was needed to keep the troops entertained. Until then their limited required which was confined to establishment at sea ports was met through imports. Shortage or lack of alcohol availability in the country side often lead to soldiers falling for illicit liquor and poisoned themselves. Hence Todi was appointed to ensure supply of quality country made liquor to its troops.

c. Poddar: Those who financed the state against right to collect land-revenue.

d. Ruia: Supposed to be derieved from Cotton

e. Saraf: Again a name found commonly in Gujarati and Parsis in the form of 'Shroff'. With the plethora of currency in circulation during pre-british times the money changer was reffed to as a 'Shorff' and its occupation as Sarafi. 

4. Miscellaneous: Decendents of Nawab 'Kaim Khan' established estates of Fatehpur and Jhunjhunu in 15th Century. 'Khemani' a popular family name among Marwari families suggest these families had connections with these nawabs. Aggarwal Choudhris of Fatehpur were intimately connected with these Nawabs.

Use of 'gotra' like Mittal, Bansal, Singhal etc have also been in popular usage. In recent times traditional Marwari names have also been replaced simply by 'Agarwal'

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