Urdu: Bhai / brother

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Roi Marphille, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Roi Marphille

    Roi Marphille Senior Member

    Catalonia, Catalan.
    I realised that many people from Pakistan from the business world address to me or to themselves as "brother" "Bhair" in Urdu.
    What's the story about it?
    Is it rude if I address to them as name + Bhair? as they do sometimes between themselves?
    or brother + name ?

    Aap ki madad ka shukriya.
  2. Jhorer Brishti Senior Member

    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    Roi, I think the word you are looking for is Bhai. I'm not sure about Urdu but in bengali a younger brother is addressed as "Bhai/Bhaiyya" and older brothers are "Dada"s. Hindu bengalis address their male friends,etc. as Dada while Muslims use Bhai. I find that interesting since there seems to be no reason for the discrepancy.It's derived from sanskrit Bhrata but I believe its use as a reference to friends,acquaintances,etc. is rooted in Islam(where everyone treats each other as brothers/sisters much like when addressing the clergy in a christian context). That being said I'm sure they will be overjoyed if you address them as Bhai since that will mean that you consider them to be true friends.
  3. Roi Marphille

    Roi Marphille Senior Member

    Catalonia, Catalan.
    yes! ups, sorry I meant Bhai. Thanks for your replay!

    PS: to moderator. Pls kindly amend title of thread. Thanks!
  4. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    Is it to do with bhai being Urdu and dada Hindi?

    I live in an area with a big Asian community and often the older people call each other auntie and uncle (in English) when referring to each other.
  5. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    I don't know if picking a 2 year old thread and answering it breaks any forum rules. If it does, please inform me.

    Is it to do with bhai being Urdu and dada Hindi?

    Almost all regional languages of India have a word which they use to address a human male older than them but not so old to be of the previous generation.

    In Bengali and Marathi, it is Dada, in Tamil, it is Anna, in Hindi, it is Bhaiya, and so on.

    Bhai in Hindi simply means brother. The usage of Bhai being discussed is more common in Urdu speaking places where the word bhai is attached in front of the name to show brotherhood. eg. Shaqeel Bhai, Anwar Bhai...

    The word Dada, in Hindi, means your father's father (paternal grandfather)

    In Hindi, amongst grown up people, Bhai Sahab is generally used by both men and women to address un-related and/or unknown males.

    I live in an area with a big Asian community and often the older people call each other auntie and uncle (in English) when referring to each other.

    They would use these titles with their children or for other older people, I guess. In India, the general rule is that nobody older than you is addressed only by the name (may be relaxed in case of very close friends with a small difference in age).

    It goes like this:

    Male, older, but in the same generation : Bhaiya
    Female, older, but in the same generation : Deedi (both d soft)
    Some relative, male of female : The name for the relation. eg. Dada (for grandfather)

    Male, older, un-related, one generation senior : Uncle
    Female, older, un-related, one generation senior : Auntie

    The last two are highly generic names, which can be used with anyone. Originally, with unrelated people, the hindi words for uncles and aunts were used (We have different words for all combinations: Mother's brother/sister, Father's brother/sister), to denote, implicitly that the person was like a brother/sister to a parent.

    Due to the influence of English, Uncle and Auntie took over.

    What is most discomforting is that this usage is so common, it almost becomes gross.

    Everybody from the milk-man, the green-grocer, to your father's boss can be (and is, mostly) called Uncle. Ditto with females.

    If nothing else, the title Ji should be attached after the name (for sufficiently older people).
  6. BP. Senior Member

    Bha'i sahab is polite and bhayya is afectionate.

    I tend to use biradarmi from biradar (brother), sa7hab and janaab. And ofcourse 'aray bhayya...' which is a strange mix of annoyance and affection made famous by AligaRhis and early Amitabh Bachchan!
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  7. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Giraami biraadaram: that sounds extremely formal.

    I would say it is safer to use bhai just to be simple.
  8. BP. Senior Member

    It would've been formal if my friends didn't know me. Its mostly for comic relief.

    Otherwise, half the time people don't understand, and the blank stare is a fairly standard response.
    Recently I asked for someone's name: "aapka ism-e-shareef?" and the answer came after a long wait "what?". That's the state of today's people. Hardly any connaissaurs left.

    How cool's 'mukarrami'? Waisay janab, in our family we seldom say bha'i, always biraadar. Bha'i is too Indian. And a bit banal. But I don't think that is the reason they don't call biraadar bha'i. Its more of a tradition thiing.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  9. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I don't see how it is crude or at all any more Indian than Pakistani. Could you explain what you mean some more?

    What you say about <ism e shariif> is interesting. Funny how people ask "your good name" in English but are astounded by the Urdu version--I had that happen several times in Lucknow with Urdu-wale.
  10. BP. Senior Member

    I was referring to the word bha'i made notorious by Mumbai cinema. Those petty crimmies don't go by that word in my city anyway.
    Isn't it funny associating family-relation names to criminals: if a thief is a bhai then a hooker could be called behan!
  11. Masood

    Masood Senior Member

    Leicester, England
    British English
    Todo lo contrario. Por ejemplo, mi cuñada (menor que yo) me llama Masood Bhai como nombre respetuoso.

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