Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk on “Foreign words in Indian Languages” on Friday, 15 th January, 2010 at 6.00 PM by Prof. Shreesh Chandra Chaudhary, Professor, Dept. of Humanities & Social Sciences, IIT Madras.
Taking the audience along the significant events in Indian history from the ancient times, Prof. Chaudhary highlighted the fact that there was hardly any Indian language without any word of foreign origin. This was because India had always been a multi-racial, multi-eltinic, multinational and multilingual country. Prof. Chaudhary gave several examples to show how there were several common words in the old Sanskrit and old Persian languages and how, along with the commercial and trade routes, several languages got intermixed with our own. . It was not a one-way traffic. Just as several foreign words became sanskritised and became its integral part, Sanskrit also traveled to several places from Alexandria in the West to Philippines in the East. Subsequently, words from Hebrew, Greek, Armenan, Aramaic Persian, Turkish, Portuguese and English language entered the various Indian languages in various phases of Indian History. Some came through foreign invaders and some through the trade routes. The indigenization of such words has now become so total that nobody can spot their foreign origin easily. Who, for instance, can suspect that the word “baba” (father) has a Turkish origin? Or, for that matter, that “Bazaar” (Market) has come from Persian? Bemused members of the audience were told by Prof. Chaudhary that “achar” (Pickle), “balti” (bucket), “chavi” (key), “Ispat” (steel) are all Portuguese words which have entered several of our own languages. Of course, the influence of English in later days has been most pervasive.
It was an immensely informative and enjoyable evening with a lively interactive session.