Urdu, Hindi: maayaa dharam/माया धर्म

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Gope, May 10, 2014.

  1. Gope Senior Member

    Dear friends,
    "maayaa dharam" occurs within quotes in the following sentence from shahaabnaamah (p.27):
    jis paabandii se nandah SaaHib "maayaa dharam" kaa paalan karte the, usii tarh vah hinduu jaatii kii siyaasii bartarii qaayam rakhne ke liye bhii xufiyah taur par mustaqil jad-o-jahad karte rahte the.
    Perhaps Hindi-speaking friends will be familiar with this concept.
    The author paints a very flattering picture of the very real and ever-flowing munificence of an excellent man called Nanda, the biggest cloth merchant in Jammu, and then goes on as above.
    Thanks for help.
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Please allow me to write the full sentence with corrections. Forum friends then can offer their explanations.

    jis paabandii se Nandah SaaHib "maayaa-dharm" kaa paalan karte the, usii tarH vuh hinduu jaatii kii siyaasii bartarii qaa'im rakhne ke liye xufyah taur par mustaqil jidd-o-jahd karte rahte the.
  3. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Gope SaaHib, I don't know the full background and context of this sentence but it is possible (emphasis on possible) that the author is referring to Nanda SaaHib's "maya-dharm" to imply "illusion-practice", i.e a policy of deception.
  4. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Gope and QP SaaHibaan, for the better understanding of this expression I have taken a look of the text, here it is (I will type only the transliteration for the benefit of those unfamiliar with Urdu):

    "3aam xariidaaroN se le kar waaliyaan-e-riyaasat kii xvushnuudii Haasil karnaa to un kaa baa'eN haath kaa khel thaa. lekin daa'eN haath se wuh apne bhagwaan ko raazii rakhne ke liye bhii baRe jatan karte the. un kii faiyaazii aur daad-o-dihish ke 3ajiib-o-Ghariib qisse mash.huur the. yih baat zabaan-zad-e-xaass-o-3aam thii kih shaam ko dukaan baRhaa kar wuh bahut sii hinduu bewaa'oN, yatiimoN aur muHtaajoN ke haaN ba-zaat-e-xvud jaate the, aur ek maxsuus qism kaa "gupt daan" un meN taqsiim karne ke ba3d apne ghar meN paa'oN rakhte the. garmii ho yaa jaaRaa, baarish ho yaa aaNdhii, kaar-o-baar meN naf3 ho yaa nuqsaan, xufyah aur xaamosh xairaat ke is tasalsul meN naaGhah nah paRtaa thaa. jis paabandii se Nandah SaaHib "maayaa-dharam" kaa paalan karte the, usii tarH wuh hinduu jaatii kii siyaasii bartarii qaa'im rakhne ke liye bhii xufyah taur par mustaqil jidd-o-jahd karte rahte the. shahr kii bahut sii hinduu tanziimeN un kii maalii i3aanat kii marhuun-e-minnat thiiN."

    In this context it appears that "maayaa-dharam" refers to his charitable activities of this Nanda SaaHib and distribution of "gupt daan".
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you, marrish SaaHib. Could you, if possible at all, then shed some light on "maayaa-dharm". How does this construction fit in with the background being presented.
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I wish I could! One possibility barring the context, is "Mayan religion" but what it means here in this paragraph, I will leave to those in the know.
  7. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Could the compound be "مایہ دھرم" (maayah-dharm/Capital-system/Capitalism)?
  8. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    No, it can't because it is written "مایا دھرم" and the quotation marks are also there. It would still make some sense :).
  9. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    For me (as a Bengali speaker), "maayaa" has "pity, compassion, fondness" as one of its meanings. In fact, that is the most common meaning of "maya" in everyday Bengali; the more "Sanskritic" meaning, i.e. "illusion" - either in the Hindu philosophical sense, or in a magical/mythological sense - are restricted to those particular domains. I don't know whether this "pity~fondness" meaning is available in Hindi/Urdu (Platts thinks, it is). If it is, that may be an explanation here, given his daan-xairaat (rather, "dan-khɔyrat" as we say in Bengali :p ). However, I should add, that from Bengali usage perspective, "maya" always indicates (in its non-philosophical/non-magical meaning) a strong positive emotional connection (that's why both pity and fondness), which may not be applicable here. But then, there may be subtle difference in connotation in Urdu/Hindi that I am unaware of.

    Another idea: Is it possible that "maayaa-dharam" here simply refers to Hindu practices, because "maayaa" (illusion of reality) is a central idea in Hindu (and Buddhist, etc.) thoughts?
    EDIT: More to this last idea: maybe it is even a mild critic of Hindu practices as "illusory"? In the sense that, all this philanthropy was praiseworthy, but unfortunately carried out in the name of an illusory religion? I have no idea about the tone of the text regarding Hinduism, so this is just a suggestion if it fits the tone. Otherwise, it is just a piece of bad out-of-context musing.
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  10. littlepond Senior Member

    ^ Dib jii, judging from Gope jii's sentence, it may be that the same sense of "pity, compassion, fondness" might exist in Hindi. I personally have only used and heard "maayaa" in the Hindu philosophical sense of, roughly,* "the world of illusion" (as in "maayaa jaal": the web of illusory world).

    * Not possible to translate "maayaa" into English, since illusion = bhram, not maayaa. The concept of "maayaa", as far as I know, doesn't exist in Western though. Hence, I am saying "roughly".
  11. Gope Senior Member

    Dib SaaHib, you are right about lack of the whole context here. I thought of deleting the thread for this very reason when marrish SaaHib took the trouble of supplying more context.
    The author, Qudratullah Shahab marHuum dors not in any place show any lack of regard to any religion so all one has to figure out is what is maayaa dharm and why is it within quotes. You may have noted that gupt daan also figures in quotes, so QS SaaHib may have used quotes to mark maayaa dharm as a sanskritic term, just as he did for gupt daan.:)
  12. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    You may have hit the nail on the head. But, we still don't know what "maayaa-dharm" is!
  13. Gope Senior Member

    I earnestly hope this is not the final word! After all QS marHuum wrote this less than thirty years ago, to be read and understood by cultivated Urdu speakers of the day...;)
    Generally it is seen that devout Hindu capitalists after having amassed wealth consider it as their duty/obligation (dharm) enjoined by religion to contribute to /establish various charities. This practice continues to this day. So maayaa dharm must have to do with the obligation of daulatmand log to do charities.
    But the intriguing question is: where from does the term come?
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  14. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ Well, this is what I suggested but marrish SaaHib did not agree. "maayah" from Persian means "capital" (as in sar-maayaah-daar log...those who have wealth). So, the author may have written "maayah-dharm" which has been printed as "maayaa-dharm". He might also be indulging in a bit of "word play", maayah (wealth)/maayaa (illusion).
  15. Dib Senior Member

    Bengali (India)
    Personally, I find this the most likely explanation, that the author was doing a bit of a word play, which the editor might have taken too literally and made a confusing editorial choice. Otherwise, even for us with a more or less "Sanskritized" linguistic and/or Hindu religious background, the compound "maayaa-dharm" makes little sense.
  16. Gope Senior Member

    But marrish SaaHib only said it was maayaa dharm and not maayah dharm.

    I find that Feroz-ul-lughat says this (among other meanings):
    maayaa: daulat (urdu Lughat also says this)
    maayah: puunjii, sarmaayah, jama3.

    so maayaa dharm which is so spelt in two different editions may still relate, not to sarmaayah but to daulat.

    having browsed through this book extensively, I do not think the author means to be oblique (wealth/illusion) but may have coined the expression in a straightforward manner (in some manner to "rhyme with "gupt daan") only to mean one thing. As Deputy Commissioner for several years in British India he was very familiar with wealthy Hindus and their worldview.

    i must still defer to native speakers of Urdu to settle this question.:)
  17. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    H مايا माया māyā, s.m.= مايه māya, q.v.

    Well, as far as I know, in Urdu "maayah" is always "maayah" and not "maayaa". I could be wrong.

    Until then, I shall keep out of the "akhaaRaa" then.:)
  18. Gope Senior Member

    I did not mean to exclude you, QP SaaHib, when I said "native speakers of Urdu". So you still have to be in the maidaan!;)
  19. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Indeed Gope SaaHib is right to the point that I didn't disagree, I only pointed out to the spelling and added that maayah-dharam would make some sense. Whether the author played with words in this way or not we could never know but if we are able to see this double meaning it is our best right. Now, I have a hunch that it means actually this:

    As Dib said, "For me (as a Bengali speaker), "maayaa" has "pity, compassion, fondness" as one of its meanings." and Platts gives one of its meanings as "compassion, pity, sympathy, mercy, kindness, affection, feeling", and secondly, it is also attested as a separate entry in the Hindi shabd-saagar:

    माया पु † संज्ञा स्त्री० [हि० ममता]१. किसी को अपना समझने का भाव । उ०— उसपर तुम्हें न हो, पर उसकी तुमपर ममता माया है ।—साकेत, पृ० ३७० । २. कृपा । दया । अनुग्रह.

    However the etymology appears to be dubious because in Sanskrit "maayaa" has also one meaning of "compassion" etc.; so I tend to believe that this compound - maayaa dharam - points out to this meaning and fits the context perfectly.

    Another plausible way out is to treat it as maayaa (the outwardly, illusionary, transitory word we are living in) - hence: dhan-daulat etc.
  20. Gope Senior Member

    Given that both these Sanskrit terms 'maayaa' and 'dharm' postulate two fundamental concepts of Indian philosophy, i thought this discussion could be complemented by consulting a Sanskrit scholar. After reading a translation of the fuller context given by marrish SaaHib above, she made two observations: one, the term 'maayaa dharm' may have been prevalent with its own connotation in the environment in which QS SaaHib grew up as a boy in Jammu of the 1920s. Second, since QS SaaHib mentions the very real acts of charity done in secret and in silence by Nanda SaaHib and goes on to say that he, in the exact same manner (i.e. In secrecy and silence), funded some Hindu militant organisations, 'maayaa dharm' means the same as 'gupt daan'. Which is exactly what marrish SaaHib said above.:)

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