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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Too Many Darn Kamats II Durable Link to this BLOG
Too Many Darn Kamats II
(and Origin and Meaning of Kamat)

First See: Too Many Darn Kamats

Kamat is also the name of a large chain of restaurants and hotels in India. I get email all the time requesting reservations. Recently on "Friends of Kamat" mailing list, a patron interested in etymology asked me to elaborate the origin and meaning of Kamat, to find the relationship between Kamats, Kamaths (notice the additional h), and Camotims.

It is believed that the word Kamat is derived from Kammatha (from Kannada, meaning agriculture). Goa was ruled by many Kannada kings, and there was a lot of Kannada influence there. Some people argue that Kamat is derived from kaam (= work) and mathi (= soil), having a similar meaning, one who is involved in agriculture. While it is no longer true, we can say that all Kamats were at one time agriculturists or landlords in Goa.

Why Different Spellings?

The way different Kamats spell their last name differently indicates the some parts of their heritage. After the Portuguese started harassing the Hindus in Goa, many Konkanis came to Karnataka. These were accomplished tradesmen and set up businesses in what is today's South Kanara area. They are referred to as "Sashtikars" or Konkanis who came from the "province of sixty-six villages". These Kamaths spell the last name with an additional h at the end. Example: M.V. Kamath, Suryanath Kamath etc.,

The Konkanis of the time (circa 16th century) who could not leave Goa, perhaps because they owned lands and hence could not relocate easily, eventually had to move due to continued oppression in Goa. A number of them came from what is known today as "Bardez" in Goa (or the province of twelve villages), and are commonly referred to as "Bardeskars". It is believed that the Bardezkar Kamats were much more poorer. They were farmers and were looked down upon by the sophisticated Sashtikars, to the extent that the families didn't inter-marry. My grandma has said that the Bardeskars were separately fed (aadpankti) during religious sacraments. These Kamats do not use the additional h at the end. Example: Krishnanand Kamat, Rangappa Kamat etc.,

The Kamats who stayed put in Goa came under the Portuguese influence. They spell the last name as Camotim.

See Also:
• Goa in Pictures

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, November 12, 2006
Last Modified: 11/13/2006 8:30:52 AM

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