All in the name

What’s there in the name?

As per the traditions, some typical jobs, works, posts, and such would end up as the surnames along the generations. It’s a ubiquitously prevalent practice all over time and space. Now I have been mesmerized by two names, rather what has happened around them.

Kempu means red color in kannada. When used in names, to ease its contiguous pronunciation and conjunction with other parts, it would turn to kempe or kempa as in kempa-amma or kempe-rAya etc.

wruddi means development.

wrudda means developed or one with attainments and accomplishments.

grAma wrudda means some one who is well developed (rich) and prominent in the whole village.

During its etymological metamorphosis it turned out to be gAvuda and now gowda.

The most prominent with that name in the recent history, is Shree Kempe Gowda maharaja, the leader who is credited to have built the town, which eventually developed into today’s

70kms away, the name that was making rounds during those days in my school and our dinner-conversations was that of an exclusive shop, full of toys and dresses for kids. It never made any sense to me who spent quarter century waiting for those parcels of old discarded cloths from the affluent
Mysore relatives. But it’s name was interesting. It was named Kids Kemp.

Located in the road named after the king, the second part is derived from his name. It was a Kid’s shop on KempeGowda road, hence Kids Kemp.

More than a decade later, that shop opened a bigger branch on Airport road. But the name was Big kids Kemp. This was a very important step in proliferating the word Kemp out of Kempe Gowda road. It had started to signify, more of less, a niche shop. It had assumed a meaning of its own.

Recently I saw a make shift saari shop named Sri Lakshmi Saari Kemp, and another make shift niche shop selling 15 types of Dosas named Ganesh Dosa Kemp. The evolution was complete. Only entry into Webster’s is pending now!

All this happened in front of my own eyes, in a matter of two decades. Is this called Globalization?

The second case is more involved.

It is a tradition that has some living and many not so, examples.

In the earlier days, I mean before three thousand years or so, it was of great importance to maintain the fire, for its many utilities in the house. So, each day the men of the house, would take care of keeping a fire burning at some designated place non-stop. This ritual was called agni kArya, and those who did it religiously were called agnihOthri. This has even come down to present times in some families I know.

[Many of those families talk only in Sanskrit in their homes, making it difficult to discern the nuances of our reception. One day, when I visited one such family, their 3 year old kid was incessantly plucking my pen from my pocket, to play with it. I was in a fix; could not even reprimand the kid nor allow it to play with my pen, which could get damaged in its hands. Then intervening,  its mother shouted “nA Karomi vatsA” , interestingly that naughty kid understood and went off, to play with his own toys.This brought to my mind a story by Gorur. In that story, during a ShrAddA in a similar Sanskrit speaking family, a kid was playing with a ball, which went into the ritual area. The head of the family became angry and wanted to shout in kannada MumDe ganDa , but had he uttered any non Sanskrit word his vow would be broken and he had to take bath and do other purifying rituals to cleanse him back from the loss of vAkShuddi. Then he shouts vidhavA pathi!!]

But that is fine if the name indicates their acts. Else too, if they take a liking to those acts once done by their fore fathers, ok, “to each his own.”

Don’t raise eyebrows about Rathi Agnihothri’s Cabarets!!

But there was a YagnyA, performed during Vedic times, and the most recent record of it I heard of, was in late 1800s. In that a very healthy, fully adult cow would be sacrificed. Since those rituals are very rare, for any one who accomplished them, following all their intricately specified rules and regulations, usually a title would be given to him bearing the name of that YagnyA. Since such accomplishments are rare it is a norm to carry such a title for generations too. Now there is a great cry to stop the cow slaughter by many people and there are congregations and movements in that accord. Even a political party with that as one of its manifesto came to power at the centre and established their leader as the prime minister of

The name of that YagnyA is VAjapEyA and one who does it is given the title VAjapEyi.


shAnthi shAnthi shAnthi-hi!!!

Published in: on May 7, 2007 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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