BENGALI SURNAMES and TITLES with ORIGINS
The surnames or titles have originated from clan names, village or place names, group names, occupation etc. It is from folk to modernity. The examples are following.
Original- to- Sanskritized -to- English (anglicized)
Barujjye (original) -- to -- Banerjee (anglicized)
Bandoghati (original) to Bandopadhay (sanskritized) to Banerjee
Mukhoti (original) to Mukhopadhay (sanskritized) to Mukherjee (anglicized)
Gangal (original) to Gangopadhay (sanskritized) to Ganguly (anglicized)
Chatto/ Chattoraj/ Chattokhandi (original) to Chattopadhay (sanskritized) to Chatterjee (anglicized)
Bhatto/ Bhat (original) to Bhattacharya (sanskritized)
Explanation-1. Shandilya clan (gotra) had three varieties- Barujjye, Batabyal and Bandoghati. Banerjee (anglicized) has distinctly come from Barujjye (like Banaras came from the Baranasi). Bandoghati (original) became Bandopadhyay (sanskritized). Later they also started using Banerjee in English. However Batabyal remained and continued the same.
2. Gangal (original) became Gangopadhyay (sanskritized) then Ganguly (anglicized). Some say why Gangopadhyay is not Gangerjee like Benerjee or Mukherjee. It is because symmetry was drawn from Gangal (original).
Goshthipoti (sanskrit) Goshthipal/ Goshthopal (apabhramsa) Ghoshal (bengali)
Goshtho (sanskrit) Ghosh (bengali). They are milkmen. The cows graze in group. Goru ra goshthi badwa bhabe ghore. Tar theke goru ke bole goshtho ba go. Ta theke goshtho ba ghosh padobir utpotti.
There are 4 kinds of Goyala or milkmen caste, as Ghosh, Gop, Sadgop and Yadav. There may be several castes in the same occupation. Example is Tili and Teli. They are different caste but in same occupation.
The surname Mondol has come from Morol or village headman. Mondal is not alawys lower caste.
2. Dom caste is not Deadbody Carrier.
The Dom caste is wrongly identified as Deadbody Carrier in WB. Dom caste is originaly bamboo worker. They make dol/ dali/ dhama/ dhol/ etc from bamboo. The term, Dom has come from dol or dhol or dhama. But they are wrongly identified as Deadbody Carrier. It is due to ocupational mobility downwards. Still the people carrying deadbody in the Hospitals and Police Stations should not be called Dom. Let us call them Shob Bahok (in Bengali) or Deadbody Carrier and not the Dom. In the same way the word Prostitute is now substituted by Sex Worker.
3. The origin of Rarhi Brahman-
Some mistakenly think that the term Rarhi is derived from Rarh region of western Bengal. But that Rarh is derived from Ruksha (dry). It is a modern geographic term while Rarhi is a traditional term.
The term Rarhi (shreni) is derived from Gaudiya (shreni). Gaud (Malda) was a place of Sanskrit studies later shifting to Nabadwip. Hussain Shah was also a patron of Gaudiya pundits and invited Rup, Sanatan and Srijiv Goswami in his royal court.
The Gaudiya pundits established a distinct philosophy and rituals in Bengal. Many followed the path of Gaudiya pundits and came to be known as the Gaudiya shreni Brahmans and later Rarhi Brahmans (Gaudiya = Rarhi) by alternative accent. The sect established by Sri Chaitanya Dev is called the Gaudiya Vaishnavism and he is often called the Gaud. Some denied the newly originated path of the Gaudiya pundits and claimed to be follower of original Varanasi pundits later known as Vaidik shreni. Later the term Rarhi became popular to distinguish from the Barendra Brahmans. It is to note that Barendras are homogenous but Rarhis are heterogenous. The Rarhi Brahmans (not all) are presumed to have migrated and come from north India. It is from the Ananda Bazar matrimonial advertisement that the term Rarhi became popular forgetting its origin from Gaudiya. Rarhi—Gaurhiya Gaurh-- Rarh
4. The origin of Barendra Brahman-
Barendras are known as the Brahmans of the Five (later Seven) ancient villages (5 Gramer Bamun) of Bengal. First they developed and spread in Five (5) ancient villages (Adi Janapad) of Bengal along lower Ganges and later on extended to 7 villages. The term Barendra has come from the king (landlord) Birendra of Pabna. Some say that Birendra was one of the 12 great landlords of Bengal (Baro Bhuniya). Birendra hailed in the Pabna district of North Bengal. He was patron of his own community and encouraged their migration from the Five ancient villages (lower Ganges) to his territory (Pabna). The migrants continued their village names to distinguish among themselves. The village names later became their surnames. The Barendras use Five (5) different surnames associated with original villages. These are.
1. Bagchi from Bagcha village presently located near Barrackpur of 24 Parganas
2. Bhaduri from Bhadur village presently located near Bangaon of 24 Parganas
3. Lahiri from Lohori village presently located near Jessore district of Bangladesh
4. Moitra from Mohit village - mohitra –then- moitra – presently unknown
5. Sanyal from Sen Lal village – senlal – then-sanyal
The 5 ancient (later 7) villages can still be traced along lower Ganges in Hoogly and 24 Parganas districts. One is Adi Saptagram on Ganga in Hoogly district. Bhadur village is presently located near Bangaon of 24 Parganas. Bagcha village is presently located near Barrackpur of 24 Parganas. Barendras are indigenous Brahmans of Bengal while the Rarhis have come from outside, north India. Both are different in physical structure.
(Senlal was a landlord. The village was named or called after him. This tradition is found in many other cases. Bogura, a district of Bangladesh is from Bogra Saheb, commander of Hussain Shah and also Mymen Singh, a commander under Ruknuddin Shah)
5. KAYASTHO COMPLEX in WB- It is viewed that caste consciousness is growing. In the Ananda Bazar Patrika, (WB) matrimonial column on Sunday many claim to be Kulin Kayasta. Even like Brahmans some claim to be Barendra Kayasta and Rarhi Kayasta besides being Kulin Kayasta. This is ridiculous. Traditionally these identities are used only by the Brahmans. The Kulin or Rarhi or Barendra classifications are only for the Brahmans. The Kayasthas cannot use these terms, since they are not part of such traditional classification. The Kayasthas are also part of Shudra category.
Earlier the surnames like Basu/ Chanda/ Deb/ Chaki were textile weavers (Tanti). Mitra were Carpenter (Chhutor). Ghosh were Milkmen (Goyala). By origin Kayasthas are heterogeneous but trying to form homogeneity.
Recently the Kayasthas have shortened the period of untouchability after death (ashuch) from 30 days to 13 days. First one or two influential families started this shortened period then followed by others. This is also a way of getting into higher caste. Example- Jyoti Basu’s shraddha was observed on 11 day like Brahmans without reasonable explanation, published in the Dainik Stastesman newspaper.
But the greatest deficiency of the Kayasthas claiming as upper caste is that they have no recognition in the Varnashrama, or the traditional caste hierarchy. They are neither Brahman, nor Kshatriya nor Vaishya and therefore to be classified as Shudra.
Following are some other related information like origin of surnames etc.
7. Etimology of Varnashram- The term Varnashram has come from Sanskrit (Varna+Ashram). Varna means to accept (varon kora) and Ashram means monastic home or shelter. When one accepts monastic home or shelter is Varnashram.