Urdu: Can I be your hamshirah?

lcfatima

Senior Member
English USA
In high Urdu formal language, is a blood sister a hamshirah or can any female be a hamshirah the way any man can be a biradar?

Is hamshirah one who shares milk with you? If so, why can't milk brothers (in the Islamic sense) be hamshirahs also? Or have I mistaken the meaning?
 
  • Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    A hamsheer / hamsheerah (=ہمشیر / ہمشیرہ ) is always your sister (= بَہِن ). If you are looking for the female equivalent of ‘baraadar’(=بَرادَر ), then I would use ‘khwaahar – usually pronounced more like ‘khaahar’ (=خَواہَر ). All from Farsi and denote blood relations. A milk relation = rishta-e-rizaa’ee =رِشتَہ رِضاعِی , or دُودھ كا رِشتَہ ) is usually referred to as ‘munh bolaa bhai / bahin (= مُنہ بولا بھای / بَہِن ) etc. Why can't milk brothers be hamsheer also? Convention, I think.

    ---
    A small correction to my last post above. It should of course be ‘munh boli bahin’ (=مُنہ بولی بَہِن ), about a female 'milk-relation'. I’m sure you worked that one out.
     
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    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Is <munh boli bahin> the same thing as a <sagii bahin>?

    I'm also curious as to what would be the appropriate context to use ہمشیرہ. Would you introduce your sister as your ہمشیرہ in stead of your بَہِن or is it does have some specialized (or even ritualized) usage?
     
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    Faylasoof

    Senior Member
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Well, a 'munh boli bahin' = foster sister, while a sagee bahin = real sister. So you can't interchange them in any context... but ہمشیرہ = بَہِن ,so these two are completley synonymous. سليس اردو ميں ہمشیرہ ذياده استعمال ہوتا ہے However, بَہِن is more commonly used in a slightly lower register.
     

    Cilquiestsuens

    Senior Member
    French
    Hamsheerah; in my knowledge is used for sagii behn for politeness purposes.... If I mention your sister (and I should mention her with respect) hamsheerah shows more respect than baaji, behn....

    As far as the milk relations are concerned, in Islam, any baby who is less than two years and who is breast-fed by a woman, actually becomes in terms of relationship her son / daughter.... It means that he is not entitled to marry her sons / daughters, etc.. etc... This is not a matter of debate there is agreement on this point (there are a number of saheeh ahaadith on this matter)

    This is not valid for children above two years. This Islamic legal point may explain the use of Hamsheera....

    By the way, my favorite Urdu word for family relations is hamzulf........
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Hamsheerah; in my knowledge is used for sagii behn for politeness purposes.... If I mention your sister (and I should mention her with respect) hamsheerah shows more respect than baaji, behn....
    Greetings,

    Would this be an acceptable sentence: میں نے ذوالفقار کی ھمشیرہ سے بات کی ھے
    [/SIZE]
     
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    Cilquiestsuens

    Senior Member
    French
    Greetings,

    Would this be an acceptable sentence: میں نے ذوالفقار کی ھمشیرہ سے بات کی ھے

    Returning to this conversation because I discovered an article which discusses milk kinship a bit. I'll make another thread.
    Sure, it is a correct sentence, however, I think that you would more commonly use the word as a mark of respect of the people you are addressing, like:

    mai.n ne sunaa hai ki aapkii hamshirah biimaar hai.

    As for the fatwa article, I guess these matters are beyond the scope of this forum. An insider's tip : don't ever think those giving such fatwas are well intentioned or honest. End of my off-topic comment.
     

    Sheikh_14

    Senior Member
    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    Wouldn't any girl who you have shared milk with at some point become a ham-shiirah be the relation of blood or merely of milk affinity? I guess Cilque has corroborated this point to some point but there's no harm in reassurance. For instance a ham-shiir is not necessarily a blood relative. In similar terms can you use ham shiirah in place of behanaa to a women who you regard highly despite no actual biological relations?
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    In Iran همشيره is another word for sister, خواهر - xâhar being the correct one. همشيره is used as an apparent mark of respect, but it is more patronising than respectful. It is used in situations when a stranger refers to, mainly, a man's sister, a brother also uses it to refer to a sister. Its use is more common among more religious people, e.g. a cleric will most likely use it, whereas a civil lawyer is unlikely to.

    There is no obvious reason why همشيره or همشير is not used for a male sibling, but gender inequality must have had a hand in that, but that's not for this forum.

    I daren't call my sister همشيره, at least not in her presence :)
     

    Sheikh_14

    Senior Member
    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    That's quite interesting. However, in Pakistan hamshiir/hamshiirah are not in the least patronising but rather just happen to be a form of good language. Why would the word be considered patronising by the way in Iran, I found that to be quite a nuanced idiosyncrasy?
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    hamširé as a word is very endearing, like hamsar, hamsâyé, hamšahri, hamrâh, hamdam, hamsân, hamkâr or hamraveš, so there no inherent problem with the word itself.

    Its use is similar to using love, darling, or dear, by men, when referring to a woman, in the UK.

    ضعيفه is a much more patronising & insulting version of همشيره.
     

    Sheikh_14

    Senior Member
    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    I see so in other words it is no longer a word restricted to my sister? With regards to Urdu as far as I know you cannot refer to a woman you potentially want to be romantically affiliated with as a ham-shiirah. It is strictly for those you respect dearly and regard either as your sister or who is your sister. It's quite interesting Persian has darling-esque connotations for the word. We would consider that scandalous in itself! So forgive me if I am a bit dumbfounded by the semantic shift. As for the English darling, babe and love, they are so widely and casually used that at times they lose their meaning.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    ^ No no that's not what I meant, hamširé does not have darling-esque connotations, it still means sister but in a patronising way, it is used to project the 'sister' as weak, someone who can't think for herself so a brother or father will have decide for her and that's why I daren't call my sister, my hamširé.

    I mentioned love, dear, darling, as more or less equivalent, patronising words, in English, you need to look that up.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    At least in classical Persian hamšīra can be either a milk-brother or a milk-sister. The final –a is not the (Arabic) feminine ending, but the Persian suffix –a < -aka.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    At least in classical Persian hamšīra can be either a milk-brother or a milk-sister
    Yes, much the same as the English 'sibling'.

    The final –a is not the (Arabic) feminine ending, but the Persian suffix –a < -aka.
    Correct, the ending is no different to those in پایه (base, foundation), خرده (small, crumb, debris), دوده (soot)
     
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