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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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Indian Names Durable Link to this BLOG
Understanding Indian Names

After reading my essay The Trouble with Indian Names, many have written asking about various details of Indian nomenclature and the meanings of names. I regret that I am unable to respond individually.

When in middle-school I had acquired a huge vocabulary of tatsamas and tadbhavas (the original words and their corrupted derivatives), and it is a field that fascinates me, especially how the history of towns and families can be traced by studying the proper names.

So I am continuing my effort this week to spread the understanding of Indian names by answering a very frequently asked question on why some Indians do not have last names.

Also, read this hilarious phone call transcript illustrating the complexity of explaining the Indian names to Westerners.
• How I became Dinesh Nettar (Link to Google Cache, suggested by Dinesh Nettar)

See Also: Pronounce This!

History the Names Tell

  • My last name, Kamat is derived from Kammatiga or a farmer. We know that my great-great-great-grandfather was a farmer in the village of Bhaskeri, and it makes sense.
  • The name of my community is Gowda Saraswats (GSB). It indicates that my ancestors once lived on the banks of the Saraswati river. (The river dried up centuries ago.) It tells that my ancestors were influenced by the teachings of Gowdapada (c. 8th century), who was also a teacher to Shankaracharya (picture - biography).
  • The name Bangalore is derived from Bendakalur, which means the town of the boiled pulses. The history of
  • Hoysala king Ballala getting lost in a hunting expedition, and finding an old woman who fed him the boiled beans is thus beatutifully kept alive in the name of the city.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, April 11, 2002
Last Modified: 7/14/2003
Tags: india

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