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Bengali: Mazumdar

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The title or surname "Mazumdar" appears to be used by both Muslims and Hindus of Bengal and in this way it is probably not different from Chaudhary, Patel or several other such names used in the Subcontinent.. What are the origins of this name?
  2. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I had actually wondered this myself and looked it up on wikipedia:


  3. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Interesting how there was a j>z transition in this name. Both variations (Majumdar and Mazumdar) seem to be common.

    ancestry.com confirms the wikipedia etymology.
  4. greatbear Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    There is also another common surname found in India: Majmundar. I wonder if it's related in any way.
  5. kaushalsingh

    kaushalsingh New Member

    i found the same thing.it also says the surname has evolved from an official title!!
  6. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Dib Jii, can you shed some light on this topic?
  7. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    1. I don't think Majumar/Mazumdar is a common Bengali Muslim surname, though definitely common among Hindus.

    2. I don't know the etymology. The phonetic developments for majmu'a-daar > majum-daar (rather, "mojumdar" as it is pronounced) looks a bit strange, but I don't have a better alternative. In fact, it might well be true, assuming that the title "majmu'a-daar" indeed existed. There are many other surnames that evolved from titles from the Muslim era. So, I won't be surprised.

    3. As for the variation j~z. As far as I know, there exists no Bengali dialect, sociolect or register that distinguishes them. However, many Eastern variants realize it as a "z" (even in Indic words, and foreign words containing j) and Western variants (including Standard Bengali) realize it as a "j" (also in foreign words containing z). So, the j~z variation is nothing Majumdar-specific. Informal Roman transliteration of Bengali often shows this j~z confusion, because they are not distinguished in Bengali speech. Yes, a thick (Western) Bengali accented English would sound like "hoyar ij di/da oaTar?" for "where is the water?" :D
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  8. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Presumably there is some established Urdu-script spelling for this name?
  9. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I know of this one: مجمدار On the net there are four results for مجمعدار, of which three in Sindhi and one in Urdu. مجمدار is used in books for authors' name.
  10. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes, there is مجموعہ دار.

    majmūʼa-dār, s.m. 'A record-keeper'; a title given to the servants of a qānūn-go

    دھخدا gives..

    مجموع دار. [ م َ ](نف مرکب ) به اصطلاح مردم هند، حافظ دفتر و آن که ضبط می کند اسناد مالیات یک ولایتی را. (ناظم الاطباء).
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  11. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    Btw, qānūn-go > kanungo is also a common-enough Bengali Hindu surname, though not as common as Majumdar.
  12. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for your detailed reply Dib Jii.
  13. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I googled Maz(j)umdar with common Muslim given names (Muhammad Mazumdar, etc.) and got hits. It also turned up results for "Maz(j)umder" which I thought was interesting because -daar as the Persic suffix. I also see Majumder on the wiki.

    Majumdar banglalipite kaemon lekha hobe? Is it differently written if the name is Majumder?
  14. Sujon Junior Member

    Arabic influenced Persian was the language of governance in Muslim-ruled Bengal before the British colonization. During the Muslim rule, many people adopted the name of their profession / activity as their surname. Some of these names were Arabic / Persian added with Persian suffix Dar. Examples include মজুমদার (maj/zumdar), তালুকদার (talukdar), শিকদার (shikdar), তরফদার (tarafdar), চাকলাদার (chakladar), হাওলাদার (hawladar) and so on. Both Muslims and non-Muslims used such surnames. Bengali Muslims have a relaxed attitude towards surnames, and these days such names are not considered modern. So these names are dying out among Muslims. My grandfather was a Hawladar, but my father did not carry this surname.
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Thank you, sujon SaaHib for your informative input. Please visit us more often if you are able to. Your presence doubles the number of Bengali speakers in this Forum!
  16. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    First of all, as Qureshpor said, it is such a welcome sight to see another Bengali speaker on this forum. Apart from that, thanks for spelling this out. This does explain the skewed distribution of these very Arabo-Persian surnames (and surnames in general) among Bengali Hindus and Muslims to some extent - Bengali Hindus seem to be very rigorous about having a surname, and are thus overrepresented - so to say. I totally overlooked that. But, it is worth noting that some other surnames are still fairly common among both religious groups, like: নস্কর (Naskar), মণ্ডল (Mandal), খাঁ (Khan), ভুঁইয়া/ভূঞ্যা/... myriad other spellings (Bhuniya), etc.

    Sujon has given the spelling: মজুমদার| I'll just add that, I think Majumder is just another Romanization of the same name, without any implied difference in the Bengali spelling and pronunciation. Theoretically, it could represent a মজুমদের too, but as far as I know, that does not actually exist.
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  17. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Would people who have these kinds of surnames typically be Bengali kaysthas?
  18. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Are you sure "Khan" is used by both groups?
  19. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    I have to admit, I don't know. I know quite a few people (of Hindu background) with these surnames, except Hawladar, but I know the caste background of only one of them - a Brahmin Majumdar. I think, I understand the underlying reason for your guess, but I am sorry, I cannot confirm/deny it.

    Yes, very much sure, and not only in Bengal. We had a Hindi teacher in our school - a Maithili Brahmin, as I heard - who too was a Khan with a very distinctly Hindu name referring to two deities.
  20. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Is the Bhuniya name also Bhuiyan?

    I did the google name test for Bengali Hindu Khans with the random names Anirban Khan and Pritam Khan found some located in West Bengal. Interesting. :)
  21. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    It can be, I think. This surname is pronounced (in IPA): /bʱũĩjã/ in Standard Bengali and /bʱũja/ in my "heritage" dialect. So, that spelling would make sense. It is originally a land-owner's title, from /bʱũĩ/ ভুঁই < Sanskrit bhūmi ভূমি, land + I guess, the suffix -ia signifying possession. The most famous of them were the "twelve lords" / "baro bhu~iya" (বারো ভুঁইয়া) from the Mughal era, when they made a loose confederacy and resisted the Mughal hegemony. They are still quite a local hero, having been depicted, among others, in Tagore's novel, "bou Thakuranir haT" (ব‌উ ঠাকুরানির হাট).

    Pritam, btw, is not a common Bengali name (of course, nothing's impossible in the age of globalization). Most Bengalis wouldn't also understand what it means. Bengali uses the Sanskrit form priyatama > priotɔmo (প্রিয়তম), though not normally as a name. Also, I feel, Bengali Muslims now increasingly have Sanskrit/Bengali names. Sujon can probably comment more on it, if he is around. One of my friends (Muslim) has the official given name "Suman". So, it may be a bit tricky to do the "google name test". ;)
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  22. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Here is another example, which I am sure all of you will find interesting. Gerrald Majumdar. Reading the short piece below does not point to his being a Hindu or a Muslim.

  23. Sujon Junior Member

    Thank you Mr. Qureshpor and Mr. Dib for welcoming me.

    I found a blog post about the origin of Bengali surnames, including Chowdhury, Bhuiyan and various "Dar"s. It's too long to translate. But Mr. Dib and anyone who can read Bangla may find it interesting.

  24. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ bahut 3arse se baNgaalii zabaan siikhne kii Thaanii hu'ii hai. ab bismi_llaah karnaa hii paRe gii!:)
  25. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I find that a lot of Bangladeshi Muslims have Persio-Arabic origin proper names but have Sanskrit origin Daaknaams. I think the most common Sanskrit origin bhaalo naam I have seen is Sumon. Anirban is not the type I have encountered as a Bangladeshi Daak naam (though not saying it could never be) and I checked to make sure our Anirban Khans were on the India side, but I realize the Google test is not scientific.

    Re: That's interesting about Gerrald. I believe there were quite a lot of Anglo-Indians in Kolkata. Maybe somehow that is the Majumdar connection, even though Anglo-Indians typically have British (and sometimes Portueguese) surnames.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  26. Sujon Junior Member

    Bengali Muslims typically have two names - Bhalo Nam (Good name, Formal name) and Dak Nam (Calling name, nick name). The Bhalo Nam of a Bengali Muslim is typically in Arabic. This is the name you will find in Birth certificate, School certificate, Passport and so on. The Dak nam is typically in Bangla. It is used by family members and closed friends. My Bhalo nam is Tanweer ( تنوير), which means enlightenment / illumination. I had at least three Dak nams, the least used (and now extinct) one was Sujon (meaning Good guy :) ). I can't remember why I chose this name when I registered in this forum :D

    Anyway, in this era of satellite TV and internet, people often experiment with their (or their children's) name. Hence, any combination is possible. Some example: Pavel Rahman (Russian + Arabic), Sajeeb Wajed (Bangla + Arabic).

    Edit: Yes, Icfatima is right.
  27. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    The original Arabo-Persian form for "Majumdar" according to this blog is "majmu aandaar", the same as given in Sailendra Biswas's dictionary "Samsad Bangla Abhidhan", which is accessible online from UC Digital Dictionaries of South Asia pages. However, being written in Bengali script, and the details of the transliteration scheme being unclear, I am not sure what exact Persian form this corresponds to. Anybody else?

    lag jaaiye, janaab. is bande se koii madad ho sake, to zaruur farmaaiyegaa.

    I agree with what you say.

    Same with Bengali Hindus. But interestingly, it seems to me that Bangladeshis/Muslims (I am not sure which factor is more important here - the region or the religion) choose their Dak nam's from the same/similar pool that Hindus choose their bhalo nam's from. Most of the Dak nam's current among (mostly Hindu) Kolkatans (my experience in the countryside is somewhat different) are, however, meaningless (and often even considered inelegant, yet wildly common) but have become conventionalized.

    Yeah, the friend I was talking about has the official name, "Suman Ahmed". He is from West Bengal though, not Bangladesh.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  28. Sujon Junior Member

    As Icfatima has mentioned in page 1, actually it is Arabic Majmu' (collection), not Persian. Now you say the dictionary you consulted said "majmu aandaar". Why this extra Aan ? I have a theory. The Persian suffix Aan is used to make a singular word plural. Example: Taalib (one student), Taalibaan (The students). Similiarly, Majmuaan means "the records". So it is a Persianized Arabic word.
  29. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ No Sujon SaaHib, Dib jii wrote مجموعہ دار (majmuu3ah-daar)
  30. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    I thought in the same line too. But I am less sure. The -aan(i) is originally the Arabic nominative dual ending, and as you said it has been adopted in Persian as a plural marker (maybe, through words like chashm-aan (eyes), etc. which usually come in pair). But, as far as I know, the -aan is relatively uncommon in Persian for inanimate nouns (except examples like chashmaan, etc.), for which Persian has adopted one of the Arabic plural markers, -aat(u), for wider use. To my mind, it would thus be more natural to use "majmu3aat". I am not saying "majmu3aan" is totally impossible, but it strikes me as odd.

    Actually, I didn't. You did, I think. I said, I had no idea. ;)
  31. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Perhaps I misunderstood what you wrote below.
    I provided majmu'a-daar in Urdu script after fdb SaaHib's enquiry. Platts has the same word in his dictionary majmūʼa-dār.
  32. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    Oh, right, right. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I got the information from lcfatima's post #2, and the wikipedia page that she linked to. Interestingly, someone has edited out the line - "It is derived from the Arabic majmū’a ‘collection’ and the Persian suffix -dār ‘possessor,’ therefore meaning ‘record keeper’ or ‘archivist’" - from that wiki page yesterday. I wonder, why.
  33. Sujit New Member

    Khan surname also prevails among the Bhumihars of Bihar

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