Kashmiri Humour and Surnames
Humour Kashmiris never lose their sense of humour. Even adversity has not killed their instinct of humour. It has on the other hand, sharpened it to boost their morale and love of boisterous life. Hamidullah, a resident of remote meadow village of Nobog Nai, has not only exposed the ruthless Sikh bureaucracy of Kashmir in his Bebujnamah, but has proved himself a caricaturist par excellence as well as a non-conformist as for as Sikh administrative system was concerned. This work contains allegorical names and characters. "It is steeped in symbolism depicting the glaring traits of bureaucracy under Sikh rulers from the Patwari upto the Nazim or Governor. According to the author, the whole lot of them was responsible for all sorts of the sufferings of the peasantry, especially their aim being simply to grease their own palms and to sustain Sikh power by force. The significance of the names he has coined for prominent members of the bureaucracy in the Revenue Department, such as, 'Kazibrathar' for Qanungo; 'Adawat Koul' for Patwari; 'Fasad Bhat' for Harkara, 'Rishwat Baba', for Qazi, can better be guessed than described. Similarly to describe the state of general administration, he introduces characters like 'Gurez Singh' for Mir Shamshere; 'Adbar Singh', for Mir. Bakshi; 'Shahmat Singh' for Chief Police Officer, 'Mafajat Qulli' for Chief Cavalry Officer, 'Rahzan Bandey', for Chamberlian, 'KhalaJat Razdan', for Munsif; 'Tawan Koul', for Amil,' 'Nuqsan Thaplu', for mutasaddi, 'Dewali Dass', for chief storekeeper of grains; and 'Chughl Beg', for news reporter. They are glaring illustrations. The selection of these names as their meanings show, represents the basic characteristics of the holders of the public office. While talking about allegories, we must not forget to mention that Master Caricaturist of ancient Kashmir, Kshemendra, who has in a lyrical language exposed a Kayastha, a prostitute, a Brahmana and many others. His 'Narmala and ' desopdesa ' are available in a printed form.
2. Kral - There are many localities in Kashmir known by the word Kral viz., Kralpur, Kralgund in Kupwara district. In the city of Srinagar we have two Mohallas known as Kral Khud and Kralyar. The Pandits employed for collecting taxes from 'Krals' (potters) were nick named as Kral.
3. Gooru - A milk man and a cowherd is called Goor in Kashmiri. Pandits did neither of these jobs However, certain Pandits were employed as Patwaris to keep the accounts of their cattle heads and collect the Government taxes from them. In the course of time their original family names became obscure and were known as Gooru.
4. Bakaya - An officer of the rank of a Tehsildar was appointed in the time of Sikhs and Pathans to realise the outstanding taxes from the people. His descendants were nicknamed as Bakaya.
5. Manwati - Manwati used to be a standard weight in Kashmir. It was equal to two and a half seers. Government used to levy a tax of one Manwati of rice on the tenants and an official employed to collect this tax was known to people by the name of Manwat. His descendants also lost their original family name and the nickname Manwati became an irremovable attachment to their names.
6. Guzarwan - A Guzarwan was an Official-incharge of an excise check-post on the outskirts of a town. Every article coming to the town from outside was to be checked and tax at a previously fixed rate to be realised. A Guzarwan was also to check the smuggling and unauthorised entry of articles to the town. An official employed, thus to perform this duty became famous by the name of Guzarwan. His children, whatever their profession might have been, were also known by this name.
7. Bakshi - It is a common Punjabi surname. A Pandit employed as an Assistant to a Punjabi officer, having Bakshi his surname, was also known as Bakshi. Mr. Fauq says a Pandit employed as a clerk of the Army was known as Bakshi or Mir Bakshi.
8. Jawansher - Jawansher was a famous Afghan Governor of Kashmir. He had a Pandit as his Peshkar (Assistant) who became famous by the name of his master. Jawansher is the nickname of many families bearing different surnames.
9. Munshi - It is a common surname among many linguistic groups of India. K. M. Munshi was a Gujrati and a famous Indologist. Munshis exist in almost all the Hindi-speaking areas of India. Munshi means a clerk. Mr. Fauq says that a certain Pandit of Tikoo family was employed as a Munshi during the rule of Sikhs or Pathans. He was the most intelligent and efficient Munshi Kashmir had ever seen. Therefore, he became famous by his professional name and his children were also known by this name.
10. Misri - A Pandit employed in service of a trader who had come from the Egypt (Misr) was known by the nickname Misri. One more probability is that some Pandit had gone to Egypt and when he came back he was known by the name of the country he had visited. Some describe it to be the nickname of those Pandits whose ancestor was employed by a trader dealing in Michari Kandi.
11. Turki - A Pandit was employed as a clerk by a Turk trader and was nicknamed as Turki. Fauq mentions Pandit Tab Ram Turki to have been a famous poet who wrote 'Jangnama of Sikhs.' A 'Turki' friend has been re-nicknamed as 'Istambol'. Perhaps, because, Istambole is the capital of Turkey.
12. Gandnoo - 'Gandan dasta' is kind of toy and a decoration piece and 'Posha Gandun' is the flower vase. A pandit manufacturing or selling these articles was nicknamed as Gandnoo.
13. Kuli - 'Tarkuli Khan' and 'Noor Kulikhan' were two Afghan chiefs during the rule of 'Durani' kings. Pandits employed by them as Government servants were known as Kuli.
14. Wazir - The Pandits employed in the service of Wazirs of Kashmir during Pathan and Mughal rule became gradually famous by the name of Wazir.
15. Ambardar - Ambar means a huge store. Land revenue was being realised in kind, instead of in cash, in the past. Naturally certain people were employed to look after these stores of levy rice. They were called Ambardar and their later generations also were identified by this name.
16. Chakbast - 'Chak' in Kashmiri is the name given to a large piece of land. Chakdari was a common £eature of Kashmir's agrarian system. It was abolished after the end of Dogra regime in 1948. Before the passing of Agrarian laws large pieces of land would be given to influential zamindars as the 'Chaks' on a nominal rent. Therefore, the officers entrusted with the job of keeping a regular- account of these land holdings were known as 'Chakbast.' They were also known as Kanoongo.
17. Bhan - It is an ancient Kashmiri nickname given, perhaps, to those who sold the utensils. Bhan is the name of the Sun also but this name does not justify itself to be a source of a nickname or a family name. There is a locality, known as, 'Bana Mohalla', in Srinagar.
18. Langar or Langroo - Some of their ancestor must have been the manager of a Government kitchen. His descendants were, therefore, nicknamed Langar or Langroo.
19. Fotedar - It is an Arabic and Persian word and was used as a nickname for those Pandits who were entrusted with the duty of looking after the royal treasury, during the rule of Mughal kings.
20. Wattal - It is a very derogatory term and is used for a low caste tribe. It is also used for a person who indulges into very mean and lowly acts. It is presumed that some Pandit must have been appointed as an officer of Wattals, who himself was later on known by this very name. Fauq says that during Hindu rule many people swept the premises of temples, without any compensation, out of devotion to the presiding deity of the temple. They and their descendants were later nicknamed as Wattal. One more theory being forwarded is that the Pandits whose family name is Wattal are the descendants of some famous saint by the name of Wattal Nath.
21. Hakim - It is the family name of such families whose ancestors have been hereditary Hakims.
22. Waza - It literally means a cook. Mr. Fauq is of the view that it was a nickname given to the professional cooks. It may be true of the Muslim Wazas, of whom there is a separate Mohalla by the name of Wazapora in Srinagar. Among Hindus of Kashmir the profession of a Waza is by no means an honourable one. It is adopted only under compelling circumstances, and Waza or a Kandroo (baker) is never addressed by the name of his occupation. But the families known by the name of Waza never feel ashamed of this suffix to their name. It is argued that some of their ancestor was highly fond of good dishes and had gained sufficient knowledge of preparing palatable dishes for himself. He is said to have won the nickname of Waza which continued its company with his descendants, whether or not they had any knowledge of cookery.
23. Katwa - Mr. Fauq describes it to be a branch of professional cooks, who earned this nick name for being in habit of using small Patilis (utensils) for cooking.
24. Sultan - Their actual family name is 'Koul'. Some of their ancestor was employed as a clerk with the Sultans of Kashmir and became famous by the name of his employers.
25. Nala - Mr. Fauq says that there is no family of this name in Srinagar. An ancestor of this family must have been a guard of some Nala (Rivulet). Their gotra is Dattatriya.
26. Nehru - It is a nickname which originated from a canal. Probably any ancestor of this family was Mir Munshi of canals (i.e., a supervisor or an overseer of canals). They originally belong to Koul family and are commonly nicknamed as Naroo. A Naroo in Kashmiri means a pipe. It is possible that any of their ancestor was as thin as a pipe and was, therefore, called Naroo, which in due course of time became Nehru. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in his autobiography sees the genesis of the word Nehru under a different situation. He says, 'we were Kashmiris. Over two hundred years ago, early in the eighteenth century, our ancestor came down from that mountain valley to seek fame and fortune in the rich plains below. Raj Koul was the name of that ancestor of ours and he had gained eminence as a Sanskrit and Persian scholar in Kashmir. He attracted the notice of Emperor Farrukhsair during the latter's visit to Kashmir, and, probably at the Emperor's insistance, the family migrated to Delhi about the year 1716. A Jagir with a house situated on the banks of a canal had been granted to Raj Koul and from the fact of this residence 'Nehru' (from Nahar, a canal) came to be attached to his name; this changed to Kaul Nehru; and in later years, Kaul dropped out, and we became simply Nehrus.' The above statement of Pandit Nehru has been disputed by many on the grounds of historical facts as well as usage of language. Firstly, Farukhsair is never reported to have visited Kashmir. Aurangzeb was the last Mughal King to visit Kashmir. Secondly, Delhi was the home of Urdu language and literature. Naturally the adjectival form of Nahar (canal) would be Nahree and not Nehru. We see many people by the name of Lucknowee, Jullandaree, Ahmadabadi etc., but none with the name of Lucknowoo, Jullandaroo or Ahmadabadoo etc. Kashmir, however, has a tradition of using 'oo' instead of 'ee' viz., Kathjoo, Waloo, Chagtoo, Saproo, Wangoo, Ganjoo, etc. Therefore, it is almost certain that the ancestor of Nehrus who had gone from Kashmir had taken the nickname 'Nehru', from the valley itself, with him. Taking up of residence at a canal bank is only a coincidence.
27. Bazaz - Some ancestor of the family must have been a cloth merchant.
28. Taimani - It is presumed some Pandit must have been under the service of Taimini Pathans of Kabul and earned this nickname. Fauq believes it to be a word of Hindu or Buddhist origin and considers this family to be the followers of some Rishi or Muni. At the same time, it is suspected that some ancestor of this family might have been of black colour, and was called Tamini as the Tamun in Kashmiri means the carbon formed on the bottom of the utensils.
29. Mattu - It is derived from the Sanskrit word Math. Some of the ancestor of this family must have either been a founder or a manager of some Math.
30. Darbari - It means a courtier. Some ancestor of the family was a courtier of some Pathan or Sikh Governor's court.
31. Bhandari - Some ancestor might have been the in-charge of some Governmental store (Bhandar).
32. Akhoon - During the Muslim rule a teacher was called Akhoon. Some elder member of this family was teaching Persian and Arabic to the pupils and was known by the name of his profession rather than by his family name.
33. Mirza - Some ancestor was in the service of a Mirza family.
34. Hashia - They were professionals engaged in putting margin on papers.
35. Nasti - It is nickname of a family whose ancestors sold the snuff. (Naswar).
36. Vani - A petty shopkeeper.
37. Hak - Growers of Hakh.
38. Kotha - It means a granary in Kashmiri. An official-in-charge of the Government granaries was given this nickname.
39. Kandhari - Some ancestor of this family was an employee of the traders from Kandhar.
40. Diwan - An officer in the Sikh Court.
41. Chagtu - An employee of Chagutais.
42. Hastwaloo - An employee of the Royal Court in-charge of elephants.
43. Durrani - Ahmad Shah on becoming an independent ruler of Afghanistan styled himself as Durri-Durran (pearl of the age). His successors were known as Durrani. In Kashmir this nickname was given to those Pandits who were the employees of Durrani Pathans.
44. Bamzai - Employees of Bamzai Pathans.
45. Jallali - Clerks employed by Jallali Shias were known as Jallali.
46. Chak - Employees of Chak Kings.
47. Zradchob - Traders of turmeric (Haldi) or their employees.
48. Khaibari - Khaibaris were influential chiefs of Kashmir. Their Pandit employees received this nickname.
49. Zalpuri - Employees of traders from Zablistan. It is often mispronounced out of Kashmir as Zalpari.
50. Khazanchi - Some ancestor must have been a Cashier.
51. Khar - It means an ass in Kashmiri. A Pandit employed to realise taxes from donkey drivers (Markaban).
52. Araz Begi - A person employed to read out petitions in the Sikh and Pathan Courts.
53. Hazari - A servant of Hazari Pathan's got this nickname.
54. Lal - Some ancestor of this family was serving with a Punjabi Lala.
55. Karwani - Some elder member must have been selling Kara (i.e., Peanuts).
56. Nagari - A Pandit employed as an officer of the royal heralds during Mugal rule got this appellation.
57. Aoonth - This nickname was used for a family whose some elder member was employed in Government service, and entrusted with the duty of collecting taxes from camel drivers.
58. Kalapoosh - It was a kind of lady's cap used by Pandit as well as Muslim woman to cover their skull over which traditional Tarang or Kasab (traditional headwear of women) would be used. A Pandit selling these Kalpushas or having at anytime used a Kalpush for himself, was nicknamed Kalpush.
59. Dral - A name given to those families whose ancestor was working as a broker. It's Hindi equivalent is Dalal and is used as a surname by many families in Hindi-speaking areas of the country.
60. Nazir - Fauq states it having been a nickname of a person and his descendants, who was manager of a Government Kitchen. Nazir is also used for a clerk in the court. Pandit Jia Lal Nazir was an efficient teacher and historian.
61. Zaraboo - Those Pandits are called Zaraboo whose some ancestor was in-charge of a Government mint.
62. Ogra - It means watery rice, just like a Kheer. Fauq states that a Pandit was entrusted with the duty of distributing cooked rice to the hungry during a famine. Once he found the quantity of rice was less and the number of hungry people more. He ordered to get prepared a Wugra, and distributed among the needy. Thus Wugra became a part of his name. It is now written as Ogra.
63. Badam - An almond merchant must have been nicknamed as such.
64. Tufchi - An ancestor of this family was employed either as an officer of gunners or was himself a gunman during Muslim rule. Tufchi is a corrupted form of Top (a cannon).
65. Cheru - A few families of this name reside in Anantnag city. A common ancestor of these families is reported to have been trading into Charkha rods made of apricot wood. An apricot is a succulent orange pink fruit known as Cher in Kashmiri.
66. Khachoo - A Khoch in Kashmiri means a special kind of boat used for transporting the goods from one place to another. An ancestor of this family was employed to collect taxes from these special boatmen and was thus nicknamed as Khachoo.
67. Mirakhur - Some ancestor of this family was officer of the department entrusted with the duty of maintaining the Royal horses.
68. Shora - An ancestor of this family was either a Government officer in-charge of gunpowder makers, or was himself a trader of the explosive material. Shora in Kashmiri means gunpowder.
Religious/Official/Academic Epithet 1. Sahib - It is an honorific. Some elderly Pandit who had attained highest stage of spiritual perfection or was well-versed in the religious Scripture was out of reverence called as Sahib. There is a spring of sweet water known as Sahibi Spring near Chashma Shahi Sahib Koul was a great saint from this family.
2. Pir - Pir Pandit Padshah, during the reign of Shah Jahan, has been a famous saint of Kashmir. His miracles and spiritual attainments brought many people from different walks of life, under his banner. His desciples were known as Pir.
3. Sadhu - Some of the elder member of this family were as faultless and self-realising person as a real Sadhu. So they were known by the name of Sadhu. Another explanation is that some ancestor of this family had proved himself as an honest person under very conspiring and hostile circumstances. He won the public applause and was known as Saidh (the antonym of a thief).
4. Sedhu - Some ancestor of this family is reported to have been a Sidha Pursha (attained soul). Another version, of the events leading to this nomenclature, given is that head of this family was a simpleton and was, therefore, nicknamed as Sedhu. A few families of this name live in village Mattan of district Anantnag.
5. Sher - Fauq reports an elder of this family musthave killed a lion and was named Sher for his extra-ordinary valour. This guess does not seem to be correct, as is natural, such a brave person would have been called Sah (Kashmiri word for lion) and not a sher. Most probably this name must have originated from the continued association of the head of this family with some Sher Khan or Sher Singh, etc.
6. Shair - There must have been a distinguished poet among Kashmiri Pandits, who was better known by the word Shair than his real family name. Naturally the epithet became a part of the names of his progeny.
7. Zutshi - It is a corrupt form of the word Jyotshi. Zutshis are reported to have been distinguished astrologers and Sanskrit scholars.
8. Razdan - The census report of 1819 states that Razdan is a corrupted form of ancient Sanskrit epithet Rajanak. Stein is of the view that 'the title Rajanak, meaning literaly "a king", used to be given for services rendered to the King. The title has survived in the form of Razdan as a family name of very free occurrence among the Brahmans of Kashmir. It was borne by Rajanaka Ratanakara, the author of the Haravijaya (9th Century), and by many Kashmirian authors of note enumerated in the Vamsaprasasti which Anama Rajanaka (17th Century) has appended to his commentary on the Nisadhacarita. As the designation of certain high officials (Muhammadans), the term Rajanaka is often used by Srivara and in the fourth chron (also in the shortened form Rajana).' R. S. Pandit states that the title Rajanaka was continued under Muhammadan rule and was conferred on Muslim officers.
9. Tikoo - It is said to have originated from the 'Trika'. The members of this family were special devotees of the goddess 'Tripura'. Fauq has given one more explanation stating that an ancestor of this family adopted a non-Brahman boy who was deemed to have become a Brahman by a Tika (a sacred mark on the forehead of a Brahman). He and his descendants were later nicknamed as Tiku.
10. Dhar - It is stated to be a pure gotra name. Dhar Bharadvaja is the name of their gotra. However, many scholars are of the view that Dhars are the descendants of Damras, the war lords and a troublesome non-Brahmanic tribe of ancient Kashmir.
Locality 1. Khan-Mushu - A village towards north-east of Srinagar is known as Khanmoh. Emigrants from this place, became known as Khanmush, in Srinagar.
2. Vichari - There is a sacred spring, at the outskirts of Srinagar, near Soura. It is said Lord Shiva had meditated for sometime here. This place is known as Vicharnag. The Pandits coming from this place to Srinagar were nicknamed Vichari.
3. Ishbari - Nickname of those Pandits who came to settle down from Ishabari, a village near Nishat garden.
4. Kathjoo - Pandit family residing at Kathleshwar in Tanki Pora (a mohalla of Srinagar) was nicknamed Kathjoo.
5. Sopori - Pandits of Srinagar, whose ancestors migrated from Sopore, or the descendants of Soya Pandit (founder of Sopore) were known as Sopori. Kashmiri Pandits of this nickname in plains have hanged the word Sopori into Shivpori.
6. Thussoo - Emigrants from a village Thus, in Kulgam Tehsil, to the Srinagar city became known by the name of their native village.
7. Zadoo - It is said that a certain family residing near a marshy land was called Zadoo (as Zadoo in Kashmiri means a wet and marshy land). They are mispronounced outside Kashmir a as Jadoo (a groom).
8. Zaboo - This name is also derived from a marshy and wet land.
9. Kakroo - The name to a family who came from a small village Kokargund, near Achhabal. There are a few families of Kakroos in Achhabal also.
10. Kar - This name is used for the Pandits who came from a village known as Karhama in Handwara Tehsil. Swami Krishan Joo Kar was an illustrious saint, produced by this family.
11. Pampori - Pandits of Pampore, irrespective of their family names, are known by the name of their locality.
12. Saproo - Dr. Iqbal, who was the worthy descendant of a Pandit family whose surname was Saproo, wrote to Mr. Fauq about the word Saproo as follows. He wrote that Mr. Dewan Tek Chand M.A., who was a Commissioner in Punjab, had a taste for linguistic research. He told Mr. Iqbal that the word Saproo had its genesis from the Ancient Iranian Kings 'Shapur'. Saproos are those Iranians who had settled down in Kashmir much before the advent of Islam and because of their sharp intellect were absorbed soon with Brahmans of Kashmir. Dr. Iqbal has further written that his father used to say that 'Saproos' are the descendants of those Kashmiri Brahman families who were first to learn Persian and other Islamic studies, during the Muslim rule. Saproo means a person who is first to learn a new thing. This name was given to them out of contempt by other Brahmans. The latter analysis is nearer in the approach of a common Kashmiri and the former assertion needs full investigation.
13. Kanzroo - They are the descendants of the Pandits of Kanzar, a village near Tangmarg.
14. Momboi - There is no family with this nickname at present. However Mr. Fauq was informed by one Mr. Tarachand Trisal that some contributors to a certain magazine used to write 'Mombai' with their name. It is presumed that some Kashmiri family had temporarily settled at Bombay for sometime and, its members used the epithet Mombay with their names, when they came back. According to another story, a Muslim named Mohammad (Momma) was so gentle that he would not react even to a harsh and abusive language. He became known as Moma Bayoo. It is thought that some Pandit must have been as gentle as Mombayoo and he was along with his descendants nicknamed as such. Yet one more thesis forwarded is that it was a nickname given to those Pandits who came down to Srinagar from Bumai village of Kulgam Tehsil.
15. Purbi - Genesis of this term has been discussed in the chapter of "Kashmiri Surnames" in full. Mr. Fauq has quoted an interesting statement of Rai Bahadur Pandit Amar Nath Purbi (ex-Inspector General Customs, Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir), saying that his grandmother after adopting his father, (Pt. Dila Ram) who was serving on a good post with the Nawabs of Lucknow, migrated to Delhi. Delhi people began to call them Purbi as they had come from the eastern part of the country. Mr. Fauq further writes that there were a few families of Bhai Purbi in Srinagar, who according to census report of 1891 were the offspring of a widowed Panditani by a Purbi (coming from the eastern part of the country), whom she secretly re-married. Any person coming from U.P. is still called by the name of 'Bhaia', just as every Kashmiri in plains of Punjab is called as a 'Hato'.
16. Madan - Residents of a Mohalla of Srinagar. viz., Madanyar. Madan is a word used for a romantic man. Some of the ancestor might have been of this nature and earned the appellation Madan. Another story forwarded in this connection is that an ancestor of this family was an employee of 'Madan Talkies' owned by a Parsee of Bombay. He and his descendants were, therefore, nicknamed as Madan.
17. Haksar - Emigrants from a village named Hakchar in district Baramullah.
18. Trisal - A boy of Dhar family was adopted by Pt. Neko Pandit of Trisal. When he came back to settle down in Srinagar he and his descendants were called Trisal (name of a village in Pulwama district).
19. Chhachabali - Pandits who took up their residence, during Afghan rule, in the then suburban area of Srinagar viz., Chhatabal, were known as Chhachabali.
20. Chakru - Name given to the families having come from Chokur village.
21. Krid - Krid in Kashmiri means a thorny creeper. A few families in Shangas Nawgam bear this name. Their ancestors took up residence near a Krid and became known by its name.
22. Nad - A family residing near a ravine in the same village is known by the name of Nad. It means a ravine in Kashmiri.
23. Baghati - A family having a number of orchards or having taken up their residence in or near an orchard were nicknamed Baghati. Bhag is also a nickname of the same category.
23. (a) Hangloo - Pandits of Hangalgund near Kokar Nag.
24. Mujoo - It means a raddish in Kashmiri. Ancestors of this family are said to have come from Mujja Gund, a village in district Baramullah.
25. Haloo - Emigrants from the village Hal in Pulwama district. Haloo in Kashmiri means a Tidi (grasshopper) also.
26. Parmoo - The ancestors of this family must have come from the other side of Pirpanchal range, to settle down in Kashmir valley. Parmoo is a corrupt form of Aparium (i.e., one who lives or has come from the other side). It is, even now, used for any non-Kashmiri person, particularly for a Punjabi. As a matter of fact, Punjabi and Parium have become synonymous terms.
27. Nagri - It is different from Nagari. It is an epithet used for the Pandits who had some connection with Nagri Malapora a village in Handwara.
28. Ganz - lt is a nickname given to a family which was residing at a place where some bad smell used to come from a stagnant pool of water.
29. Danji - One or two families in the village Mattan are having this family name. Danji in Kashmiri means a small ravine and in fact, these families are still residing in a small ravine on the bank of Chaka stream.
30. Kilam - Emigrants from the village Kilam of Kulgam Tehsil.
31. Booni - A family residing near a big Chinar tree were known by its name.
32. Sum - It means a small bridge connecting the two banks of a small rivulet, a pond or a lake. A family residing near such a mini bridge got the appellation 'sum'.
33. Rafiz - Shia Muslims, in Kashmir, are called by the name of Rafiz. Some Pandit family for its nearest association with Rafizs or having lived in a locality of Rafizs, got this nickname.
34. Bali - A family having lived near a mountain or having some connection with the Bal's (i.e., mountains) was called Bali. It is in no way connected with the Sikh surname Bali.
35. Kadal Buju - A nickname of those Buju families which lived near a bridge. Buju nomenclature has been discussed elsewhere.
36. Raina - It is stated that the Pandits who originally belonged to Rainawari and later settled down in the main city were known as Raina. Mr. Fauq states that Rainawari was the capital of the famous King Rana Datta 436 A.D.-497 A.D. There was also a large garden of this king situated at the site of present Rainawari and Vari in Kashmiri means a garden. Thus Rainawari meant a garden belonging to the king Ranadatta. Another view expressed is that it, like Razdan, is a corrupted form of the title Rajanaka.
Peculiar Circumstance/incident 1. Waloo or Wali - A fire chimney in Kashmiri is called Wol. One who got constructed a fire chimney in his house at first was immediately nicknamed as Wol, which in due course of time became, Waloo and Wali.
2. Sas - It means a thick Dal in Kashmiri. It is often cooked along with wopal hakh (a vegetable) and is, thus, known as Saswopalhakh. It is said that some one was irritated to have been served with this (for him unpalatable) dish at a dinner or lunch party. He was asked by some one what dishes were served at the party and instantly came the reply 'Sas' (using half the name to make his anguish more expressive). He and his descendants were later on called 'Sas' by every one.
3. Kotru - Some of the elder member of this family had kept a number of pigeons as his pets. He was forever nicknamed as Kotur (Pigeon).
4. Wantu/Wanchu - Wantu in Kashmiri is used for a hard walnut. It is impossible to get a full Kernel (GIRI) out of a hard walnut, even if it is broken into pieces. Some of the ancestor of this family must have been a top class miser and was compared to a 'Wont doon' (hard walnut). Thus was this nickname started to continue for generations.
5. Mantoo - It means one and a half seer in Kashmiri. It is said that some ancestor of this family underwent a bet to eat a manut (one and a half seer) of rice at a time, which he won. This victory brought its reward in the form of a nickname.
6. Wakhul - It is a flat bottomed stone mortar used for shrinking and washing the woollen clothes. In the past the professional washermen were not as abundant as they are now. Therefore, every mohalla had kept at least one Wokhul for the washing purposes. The family in whose premises this Wokhul was kept was in the long-run known by its name. Another explanation forwarded is that the head of this family was in the Government service with a duty to realise taxes from Wakhul makers.
6. (a) Kenoo - It is used for a wet and watery thing. It is reported that a certain Pandit of Rainawari who had taken a distasteful dish at some party, was asked by a saint (Mian Shah) about the taste of the dish he had taken. He is reported to have replied that it was as tasteless as a Kinoo. Immediately the Pandit lost his real identity and became known as Kinoo.
7. Kallawat - It is said a Pandit by the name of Kailash was working as personal assistant of Colonel Watt, who constructed the Pahalgam Road during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh. Kalla is the short form of Kailash, and colleagues of the Pandit connected with it the surname of the Colonel and, thus, originated a new name e.g., Kalawat. The descendants of the unfortunate assistant also lost their real family name and were known by the name of Kallawat since then.
8. Wangnoo - It stands for a brinjal in Kashmiri. An ancestor of this family is reported to have been highly fond of brinjals and was, therefore, nicknamed after his favourite vegetable. Another explanation given is that Wangnoo is, perhaps, the only vegetable which is cooked with almost all the vegetables. Therefore, a man who could mix with anybody and won over even his foes was nicknamed as Wangnoo; Kashmiri Pandits as a whole were also called as Wangnoo for having successfully mixed up with all the races and religions, without losing their identity. This is perhaps a misnomer for a race who could save its identity only after having submerged its ninety per cent population with other races and religions. A friend sarcastically, but very correctly, remarked that gone are the days when they (Pandits) were called Wangans. Now they are only Wangan Hachi (dried brinjals).
9. Labroo - The head of a certain family was for tunate enough to win prefix in any venture he under took. He was nicknamed Labh (profit), which in due course of time became Labroo.
10. Taku - An ancestor of this family was fond of taking his meals in a fresh taku (an earthen plate) everytime. He and his descendents were, therefore, known as Taku.
11. Safaya - A certain Pandit is reported to have been a lover of cleanliness and was known as Safai, which later on became Safaya.
12. Chengaloo - An ancestor of this family is reported to have been of a light heart and would not conceal his happiness and excitement even over small gains. Chengun in Kashmiri means to be jubilient. There are a few families of this nick name in the village Mattan of Anantnag district.
13. Jogi - An elder member of their family had become a Jogi.
14. Buju - There was an old woman in a Mohalla. She had two or three sons who were called Bujihandi (i.e., Sons of the old woman). This became their permanent nickname and their descendants came to be known as Buju.
15. Sukhia - The head of this family is reported to have played the role of a Sakhi (girl friend) in the Krishan Leela drama and was nicknamed as Sakhi, which later on became Sukhia. Another version of facts is given that a parent had named his son Sukh which became later his nickname.
16. Peshin - It means the time of afternoon in Kashmiri. A Pandit who was a Government servant had to attend to his job at the afternoon. He was nicknamed Peshin.
17. Gamkhwar - A Pandit was a born sympathiser. He would share the sorrow of one and all. Somebody out of envey nicknamed him Gamkhar. Mr. Fauq reports that one Sadanand Koul was given the title of Gamkhar by the Mughal King Shah Jahan. His progeny was also known by this title.
18. Bula - One of the ancestors of this family is reported to have been a foolishman. That is why he was called Bula (fool).
19. Choor - An ancestor of this family had been caught red-handed while committing a theft, or was a shareholder of the professional thieves. He was labelled as Chsor (thief) for all the time to come.
20. Zaroo - A Pandit was a habitual gambler or had allowed gambling den to operate in his house, he was therefore, rightly nicknamed as Zaroo (a gambler). Another explanation given is that a certain Pandit was in habit of taking rash decisions without giving a proper thought to the facts. He was nick named as a Zaroo.
21. Chrangoo - It means a handful in Kashmiri. A certain Pandit was known for being a parsimony. He would not give to any begger more than a handful of grain. This led people to call him and his descendants as Chrangoo.
22. Musa - After a long and tedious journey or after doing some hard work a man, naturally, relaxes for sometime to refresh himself. This process of refreshing is called 'Muskadun' in Kashmiri. There are two or three families of this name in village Mattan of Anantnag district. They are professional Pandas having their Jajmans (clients) spread all over the Jammu region and the Punjab State. Every year these Pandas go to their clients during winter seasan to collect their annual Dan and Dakshina. It is said that some ancestor of these families would continue to relax and refresh himself for months together, after coming back from a long, tedious and risky journey, over the peaks of Pir Panchal. He was in the long-run nicknamed as Musa and his progeny is known now by this name.
23. Brayth - It is a Kashmiri form of the Sanskrit word 'Brasht', which means a deliberate deviation from the religious path. Some of the ancestor of this family must have been found guilty of some non-religious act and was declared Brashta, which became Brayth in the long-run.
24. Band - With the curious exception of Akingam (a village in District Anantnag) the Bands are all Muslims. 'The story of Akingam Baghats,' says Mr. Lawrence, is peculiar. Brahmans considered acting to be degrading, and even now the Brahmans of Kashmir the Akingam play as with contempt. But the Brahman plays say that they took to the stage by the express order of goddess Devi. The legend relates that many years ago Devi appeared to the Akingam Pandits, and, placing a fiddle in his hands, said, 'play upon this fiddle'. He protested his inability, but on the goddess persisting, he took up the blow and played unearthly music. He was bidden by Devi to sit under the deodars of the Akingam and play in her honour. For some years he and his sons obeyed the goddess behest but unable to withstand the prejudices of his caste, he finally declined to play any more. On this he was striken with blindness and wondered away to the Lidder Valley. In a dream Devi appeared to the Magistrate of the Lidder, and told him to take old Pandit to Akingam. On reaching Akingam the Pandit recovered his sight and since that day he and his descendants fiddled away without further protest. These Pandits never send their children to school, as they believe that Devi would resent it and would kill their children. This state of things has now completely changed. Bands of Akingam (Mohripora) have left this vocation since long but the name has persisted.
25. Gadva - A Pandit was seen always with a Ghadva (a metal tumbler) in his hand going to purchase milk or curd, or even throwing the 'Nirmal' in the river was nicknamed Gadva. Another explanation offered is that a certain Pandit had collected, as a hobby, a large number of different varieties of 'Gadvas' and got this appellation.
26. Yachh - It is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Yaksha. However, in Kashmir a certain rarely visible animal possessing supernatural powers is now called Yachh. Pandits offer Khichri and other sweetmeats to this animal extra-ordinary on Yaksha Amavasi in December-January, every year. It so happened that a certain Pandit either used to make sounds like a Yachh (i.e., Bas, Bas) or was some how specially linked with the characteristic Yaksha Pooja. He along with his descendants was nicknamed Yachh. The latter assumption seems more true in the light of the fact that this nickname is used mostlv by Gor families.
27. Bohgun - It means a cooking vessel made of brass. Some Pandit is stated to have had a hobby of collecting different varieties of Bahgun, or was fond of the food prepared in a certain type of Bohgun, and was nicknamed as such, because in appearance he was as fat and round as a 'Bohgun'. Another explanation given is that it is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Bahuguna (possessor of many qualities).
28. Nakab - It means a veil. Kashmiri Pandit ladies did not wear a veil in the past. But a family having introduced this practice at first, during Muslim rule, got this nickname.
29. Thalchoor - It means a plate thief. A Pandit was either caught red handed while stealing thals (plates) or was accused of such a theft. He and his descendants got the appellation of Thalchoor.
30. Kakh - An elder brother, uncle or a cousin was out of reverence called as Kakh. Some Pandit for his good and generous nature seems to have won the public respect and was called Kakh by the people, other than his family members. He lost his real appellation and was along with his progeny known as Kak. However, there are repeated references of the family name Kak in Rajtarangini. Shaloka 1311 of Taranga VII reads, 'As his passage was blocked by warriors of the Kaka and other educated families, he retreated from. . .' R. S. Pandit in a footnote to above Shaloka says that the Kaka family is repeatedly referred to by Kalhana. Shaloka 180 and 599 of Taranga VIII says, 'holders of high military rank and others, brave men such as Tilka of the family of Kaka. . .'. 'From the very midst of ..., Sufi captured alive in battle the brave knight Sobhka sprung from the family of Kaka...' Kaks in the ancient Kashmir, therefore, belonged to a military class.
31. Chilam - Some ancestor of this family was a chilam smoker and got this name.
32. Thapal - A few families of this name live in Anantnag city. Some of the common ancestor of these families must have been a habitual snatcher and got this nickname.
33. Kuchur - It means penis in Kashmiri. An ancestor of the family is reported to have been moving without trousers or a Kacha and thus unmindful of his exposed penis. He was along with his progeny nicknamed as Kuchur.
34. Jad - It means the eldest ancestor in Kashmiri. An elder member of this family is reported to have been behaving like an old and experienced man even during his childhood. He was therefore, nicknamed as Jad.
35. Jalla - A family of Rainawari Pandits was residing on the bank of Dal Lake (now turned into a quagmire). This part of the lake abounded in delicious fish. The fishermen catching the fish, would generally spread their nets on the compound wall of this family, to dry them up. A fish net in Kashmiri is called a Zal. This family was, therefore, nicknamed as Zalu, which in the long run became Jala.
36. Puran - A few families of this nickname live in village Zainapora. One of their common ancestor is reported to have been in habit of quoting from the Puranas on every occasion. He was, therefore, known as Puran.
37. Zaharbad - An ancestor of this family is reported to have been suffering from a serious type of Carbuncle on an exposed part of his body. He was, therefore, nicknamed as Zaharbad. Another reason related is that some ancestor of this family was a terrible mischief monger and was intolerably unpleasant man. The people expressed their displeasure for his mischievous character by an equally unpleasant nickname (i.e., Zaharbad).
Abnormal/Extra-ordinary Physique or Temperament 1. Mushran - An awkward and ugly man with a huge and powerful body is called Mushran. Some ancestor of this family must have been nicknamed as mushran because of his unusual physique and, later his descendants continued to be called by this name.
2. Kuraz - It is a name given to a very dangerous water animal. Some elder member of this family must have been of a fierce nature and was nicknamed Kuraz.
3. Shagali - Shagalis had come along with Pathans, under the leadership of Gulshagali. He was a long and healthy young man. A pandit was having an extraordinary physique like Gulshagali and was accordingly nicknamed.
4. Sharga - It is corrupt form of Shogo (a parrot). Some member of the family was having small eyes and a long nose like a parrot.
5. Handoo - This nickname was given to a Pandit who was fat and fresh like a sheep or to those Pandits who somehow were connected with flocks of sheep.
6. Atal - It is a corrupt form of Thalal (i.e., a Samashar). A Pandit with a broad forehead as if a forceful smasher, received this nickname.
7. Gurtu - It is a nickname given, perhaps, to those Razdans whose some ancestor was of Gurtu (yellow) colour. Gurtu is now used for those Pandits who do not cook meat and fish on the Shivratri festival.
8. Shangloo - Some elder member of this family is reported to have had six fingers in his hand and became known as six-fingered (She Angul).
9. Mota - A fat man's nickname.
10. Langoo - Some elder of the family was a lame man.
11. Kaboo - Any ancestor of this family is reported to have been a hunch backed (Kaboo) man.
12. Marchawangan - A thin and a red faced man may have been nicknamed as a red pepper. It is also possible that some ancestor of the family was in possession of a hot and pungent temperament, ormay be some one of the family elders was a pepper trader.
13. Raghu - A thin and a frail man must have won the appellation.
14. Kachroo - Some ancestor must have been as red haired as an Englishman.
15. Kichloo - It means a long-beared in Kashmiri Some elder of the family must have developed a long beard and received this nickname.
16. Chakoo - Chouk means 'bottom' as well as 'sour' in Kashmiri. It is reported that some elder of the family was a sour-tempered man. Mr. Fauq connects it with an amusing and interesting story. A man named his twelfth son as Chauk (i.e., bottom) of the chain of sons and he (the son) became famous by the name of Chauk. It is amusingly and often awkwardly mispronounced as Chakoo (a Knife) outside Kashmir.
17. Khashoo - A left hander.
18. Ganjoo - A bald man's nickname or an appellation for a man who was put in-charge of Ganj (treasury).
19. Gagroo - It was the nickname of a person who was very small and swift.
20. Kharoo - A bald man.
21. Zoroo - A deaf man.
22. Kariholu - A nickname given to an elder of the family, whose neck was a little curved.
23. Kaw - An ancestor af this family was as black as a crow.
24. Daraz - A long-heighted ancestor of the family was given this name.
25. Mam - It means maternal uncle in Kashmiri. A man was in habit of poking his nose in everybody's affairs. He and his children were, therefore, nicknamed as Mam.
26. Chacha - The word Chacha is used by Kashmiri Muslims for a paternal uncle. A Pandit who unnecessarily involved himself in other peoples' affairs must have received this nickname.
27. Tut - A man with a long chin was nicknamed Tut.
28. Bambroo - An ancestor of this family was as dark complexioned as a black bee. It is also said that some elder member of this family was in habit of making sounds like a beetle when alone. That is why he and his descendants came to be known as Bambroo.
29. Kalla - It means head in Kashmiri. An ancestor of this family had a conspicuous head and was named as Kalla.
30. Sikh - It is said that an ancestor of this family had grown a long beard to conceal the white patches on his face. He and his family members were nicknamed as Sikh.
31. Hakhoo - It was used as a nickname for a thin and frail person. His descendants were also labelled as Hakhoo, even if some one among them may be as fat as an elephant.
32. Trakroo - This nickname was given to a man who was of very hot temperament and, of course, a hard task master. The nickname became part and parcel of his descendants also. Trakur in Kashmiri is used for anything hard.
33. Miskeen - A man was very kind to poor and needy. He was nicknamed as Miskeen (poor). Another explanation is that a well-to-do man used to feign as a poor man. He was along with his progeny called as Miskeen.
34. Chhot - It means a short statured person. Some elder of the family was unusually of a short stature and won this nickname for himself and his descendants.
35. Braroo - An ancestor of this family must have been a blue eyed man and was nicknamed as Braroo (the cat).
36. Kaloo - It means a person unable to speak. The name is Kaloo (just like a dumb-man).
37. Nikka - It is an 'affectionate name' given to small boys in Kashmiri families. Such a name generally gets discarded as soon as the boy grows up to be a youth. However, some Pandit seems to have been called Nikka, even after he attained his adulthood, and thus got the nickname. Another reason could be that an ancestor of this family was a short and small statured that even in his youth and old age, he looked like a boy and was called a Nikka.
38. Kissu - It means a small finger. Some ancestor of the family is reported to have been in possession of an extra-ordinary Kis, or was in habit of displaying his small finger in a peculiar way and got the appellation.
39. Mandal - In Kashmiri mandal means buttocks. An ancestor of the family is reported to have been a large rumped person and, thus, got this nickname.
40. Dev - Some Pandit seems to have been nicknamed as such, either for his extra-ordinary valour or having the habit of taking too much food or sleep - the peculiarities of a Dev. A Dev is an imaginary being like a Jinnie of Arabian nights.
41. Dasi - A few families of this name live in Anantnag town. An ancestor of this family is reported to have been a spend thrift and would become bankrupt in every trade and occupation he owned. He was thus nicknamed as Dasi, meaning a person who would finish and destroy everything.
42. Vokhu - An ancestor of this family is reported to have been of abnormal physiqueas well as temperament.
43. Pedar - An ancestor of this family is reported to have a deformed foot which looked like a cloven hoof and was thus nicknamed as Padar.
SOURCE: KASHMIR NEWS NETWORK