Posted tagged ‘Hindi’

Translation 59. The use of English Loanwords in Narendra Modi’s 70th Independence Anniversary Address

21 August 2017


In February 2016, as part of my ongoing research on Hindi lexicography, I published an e-book and separate blogs about the history of the relationship between English and Hindi in India.

Since then I have continued my study of Hindi media and my already large collection of English loanwords in contemporary Hindi has increased by a further 1,500. At the time I made the point that the list is so long and the constant additions so frequent that important English loanwords should be considered by Hindi lexicographers as relevant additions to be included in future Hindi to English Dictionaries (or Hindi to German / French / Chinese, etc.).

Last week’s official preliminary transcript of the Indian Prime Minister’s 56-minute Hindi Address on the 70th Anniversary of Indian Independence offers fascinating evidence for further consideration of the phenomenon of English loans and also of the current relationship between Hindi and English in India (as well as other major Indian languages and English).

Since his successful years as Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made excellent use of Information Technology and social media to communicate with his supporters and the general public. His predilection for pithy Hindi slogans and maxims is supplemented by a penchant for examples in English, like his annual international “vaaibraNT gujaraat” Global Summits. During the three years of his current Prime Ministership of India, P.M. Modi has increased his IT contributions and his involvement with social media.

Although P.M. Modi’s choice of Hindi as his main channel of public communication in India is justified by Hindi’s status as official language, it should also be remembered that there are hundreds of millions of Indians who do not speak or understand that language. For these citizens (and also for many Hindi speakers), English, as the de facto lingua franca of India, continues, after 70 years to play an increasingly important role. This is specifically noticeable in central language fields or registers like technology, sciences, administration and education, as well as in the media and the world of advertising. (As I have pointed out in my 2016 studies, and earlier, the basis of most Hindi abbreviations and acronyms is English phonetics: pee em, en Dee Tee vee, aar bee aaee, bee je pee, etc.)

In the Devanagari version of the 6,500 word, 56-minute Address, P.M. Modi includes the following standard English loans in Hindi, adapted, as is usual, to Devanagari script (which is here transliterated into my basic system of roman script for easy keyboard use and reading). Newcomers to the topic cannot fail to notice the extraordinary versatile nature of Hindi phonetics in adapting quite closely to the English sounds.

aspataal, baiNkoN, eyarporT (or earporT), garaNTee, gais griD, iNTarvyoo, kaMpaniyoN, keroseen, kilomeeTar, naurth eesT, ek nayaa iNDiyaa, noTbaNdee, noTis kiyaa, peTrol, phaiktarariyoN, phaurm, rajisTreshan  (rej-?), rel, relve sTeshan, rikaurD, skool, Taiknaulojee, Tan (ton or tonne), TauyleT, Tren, ‘van raiNk – van peNshan’, yoonivarsiTiyoN.

Such borrowings are typical of daily media (and general) usage in India. However, what  really drew my attention to the official published Devanagari version of P.M Modi’s Address was that:

He chooses a larger number of less familiar English words and phrases to refer to concepts which he wishes to emphasise in his political agenda. These consist mainly of technical management terms, new proposals and coinages. As stylistic choices by the author (presumably for highlighting the concepts), these English words replace common Hindi equivalents.


Curiously, on P.M. Modi’s website (and possibly on the tele-prompter?), these words are written not in Devanagari but in English letters, often with initial capital letters. This is a departure from the normal procedure for dealing with English loans in Hindi (as part of the language) by printing Devanagari approximations of their pronunciation in Indian English (as shown in the samples given above).

What some observers may conclude is that the inclusion of English terms (rather than Hindi words) in their English script could indicate the author’s special gesture to connect with those many Indians for whom the Devanagari is unintelligible. In other words, to get parts of his political message across in spite of the Hindi “barrier”. And also to benefit from the special status that English enjoys in contemporary Indian life.


The terms presented in this way in the Address are as follows, in English alphabetical order. A number of traditional transliterations from Devanagari in my roman system are listed in square brackets. This is how the borrowings would usually be presented in the print media.

99   (pronounced “naaiNTee naain”)


Bank Accounts khulate haiN  [baiNk akaauNTs]

banking system [baiNkiNg sisTam]

Cancel kar diyaa [kaiNsal]

cash vaalee arthyavyavasthaa  sp? [kaish]

check-post [chek-posT – recently superseded by the Government’s jee es Tee]

Co-operative Federalism aur ab Competitive Co-operative Federalism [koauparaTiv feDaralizam aur ab kaMpeTiTiv koauparaTiv feDaralizam]

Cyber ho yaa Space ho  [saaibar / spes]

Debates [DibeTs]

Demand aur Technology

Dialysis [Daaiailisis]

Digital [DijiTal]   Also: Digital Currency and Digital Transaction

Double (se bhee zyaadaa!) [Dabal]


expert [eksparT]

Foreign Direct Investment

form [faurm]

formal economy

Gallantry Award

GEM naam kaa Ek porTal banaayaa hai

Good Governance (an old favourite with CM and PM Modi)  [But the transliteration guD gavarnaNs is more usual.]

Governance kee process ko simplify karnaa [proses or prosais  / siMplifaaee] Here, and elsewhere in this list, one notices examples of the very frequent hybrid loanword + karnaa Conjunct Verb structure, endlessly productive, as Professor Rupert Snell has pointed out.

GPS System [jee pee es sisTam]  (Note the English phonetics which dominate the majority of Hindi acronyms and abbreviations. I have a collection of 600.]

GST [jee es Tee]

hamaare desh ke In Uniform meN rahane vaale logoN ne balidaan kee paraakaaShThaa kee hai

income tax return [iNkam Taiks riTarn]



Is prakaara se roll-out honaa [rol-aauT]

IT [aaee Tee]

labour field [lebar feelD]

Labour laws

LED Bulb [leD balb or el ee Dee balb]

Left-Wing Extremism [lefT viNg eksTreemizam]

loan  [lon]

Maternity Leave

nature of job

New India [nyoo iNDiyaa] (used several times to announce the author’s project)


Prepaid bhugtaan [preepeD] (a hybrid phrase)

uske dvaaraa government procure kar rahee hai

Quit India Movement  [Bhaarat chhoro aaNdolan]

research [risarch]

RuPay Card [kaarD]

shell kaNpaniyaaN

Smart City

Soil Health Card [for farmers]


supply: apnaa maal supply kar saktaa hai, apne product supply kar sakataa hai

supply chain [saplaaee]

Surgical Strike [sarjikal sTraaik. Much used this year in the Indian media.]

surrender kiye

Team India [Teem iNDiyaa]

Technology kee madad se

Technology ko intervene karte huE

Technology meN Ek miracle hai,

to sirph vo projekTee vilaNb naheeN hotaa [elsewhere: projekTaa]

training [TreniNg]

Transparency [TraaNspareNsee]   and transparency laane meN saphalataa milee hai

Transport  and Transportation

har Uniformed Forces, koEE bhee ho, sirph Army, Air Force, Navy naheeN, saare Uniformed Forces


website launch kar rahee hai

Women Empowerment

maanav working hours

World Class Universities


Other references:

The Doordarshan video of the Narendra Modi 70th Anniversary Address on 15 August 2017 is available on You Tube.

On Hindi transliteration.




Translation 51. Arvind Kumar’s Word Power: English-Hindi

27 March 2015

Two and a half years ago, I celebrated my belated discovery of Dr Arvind Kumar’s highly acclaimed 3-volume Penguin English-Hindi / Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary.

Now Arvind Kumar (and his supporting family team) have published the first of a new series of reference works.
Arvind Kumar, Arvind Word Power. ENGLISH-HINDI. (A Dictionary with a Difference),
New Delhi, Arvind Linguistics Private, 2015. ISBN 978-81-924966-2-7 [1350 pages]

Based on the eminent lexicographer’s Thesaurus, this lengthy new work is the first of an innovative series of reference works for those interested in English, or Hindi, or both (in relation to one another). Forthcoming volumes of Arvind Word Power will deal with Hindi-English, English-English, and Hindi-Hindi versions.

In the online introduction to this new work, Kumar states:
” Meanings in English & Hindi
Synonyms in English & Hindi
Linkages to similar & opposite concepts
670,000 words
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is a tailor-made tool for all who use English and Hindi. It combines the usefulness of a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. It helps users to express their ideas, emotions and thoughts – correctly, completely and comfortably.
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is useful for those who are well-versed in English but are stuck, at times, for the correct Hindi equivalent of an English word.
It is equally useful for those who are not so well-versed in English and are often unable to understand the meaning or implication of a given English word.”

The following excerpt from the Introduction to this new volume (recently purchased) adds a further clarification for prospective readers:
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi seamlessly juxtaposes English and Hindi vocabularies and helps the user find the correct Hindi equivalent for English words [… providing] synonyms as well as links to similar and opposite concepts in both English and Hindi side by side[…].”

” The scope of Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi goes beyond any existing bilingual dictionary […] [It] is totally India-centric. Our customs, ceremonies, rites and rituals as well as philosophies, doctrines, legends and folklore are all included to provide a complete understanding of Indian culture […] [It] also includes people, incidents and happenings important to India and Indians. For example: Indian freedom movement agitation […] ”
That heading is followed by 3 lines of 20 associated terms (boycott, hunger strike, khadi, nonviolent movement, etc.) and immediately below that the same heading in Hindi accompanied by 3 lines of equivalent terms in Hindi.

There are no less than 1350 pages of such encyclopedic material to consult. The topics are in English alphabetical order. The next volume, Arvind Word Power: Hindi- English will obviously be in the usual Devanagari order. (I can’t wait!)

Having only had time to skim through this huge book, I am both impressed and excited at its wide coverage and the benefit it will bring to my research on Hindi lexicography and Hindi to English translation. I simply wished to announce its arrival and availability to fellow students and lovers of the Hindi and English languages. I may add further comments in a few months.

A pertinent financial observation.
Indian commodity prices are quite low for people from many other economies (West, East, as well as North and South – in Australasia).
Indian book prices are especially low for us. On the other hand, because of the distance involved, Airmail postage (or, more likely, Courier service) from India is fairly high. However, IMHO, the combined low Indian book price plus the Courier price – for a 2-kilogram blockbuster – still makes it an attractive proposition. 1350 pages of knowledge for about $35.

Translation 41. Hindi Learning Hints 4. English Loanwords in Contemporary Hindi

29 January 2013

Introduction to a Glossary of 2,000 Hindi Words and Expressions of English origin

As I have recently pointed out here,
the growing phenomenon of Hinglish as a hybrid language has aroused public interest and is the subject of academic research. Since Hinglish is widely used by urban Indians (especially young ones and especially in the northern ‘Hindi belt’), by advertisers, and by Bollywood, Hinglish does not lack media publicity. With its impressive linguistic gymnastics, code-switching and code-mixing of Hindi and English at a very fast colloquial rate, Hinglish well deserves continued professional study and tracking because it may have a strong long-term impact on the shape of Hindi. However, from the viewpoint of teaching practical Hindi as a Second Language (HSL), especially to non-Indians, it is not of vital concern at the moment. What does need incorporating into HSL now, via Hindi to foreign language dictionaries and other teaching materials, is a selection of the extraordinary large number of loanwords and loan translations (calques) from English which have already entered into contemporary daily life, and on which Hinglish is partly based.

This sizeable windfall of English Hindi words for lucky English speakers is entirely due to the very special historical links between Hindi and English. In contemporary Hindi, English loan words and phrases have become an essential part of contemporary Hindi. They are taken for granted by Hindi speakers.

Most of the items in this selection will not help students much with conversations in the street or booking a train ticket (although tren and tikat are two very commonly used borrowings, as is a whole family of words based on relrail). The borrowings are, however, useful for English speakers to begin to understand bits and pieces of the spoken and written Hindi currently used by the media and in bureaucratic life as well as by the Indian middle classes in their daily conversation. (Many are also understood by Indians from other social backgrounds.) There are many more of these anglicisms to be picked up as you listen to or read the media or watch Bollywood films.

My credentials are a lifetime interest in language, lexicography, and teaching, and four years as a keen student of HSL (for the purposes of comprehension of written and spoken current affairs in India, rather than as a means of personal communication, which can be more efficiently achieved in English). In the process of this arduous learning experience, I have sought shorcuts. In addition to my personal Romanised Glossary of Hindi words, I have compiled two separate lexical collections, the major one being this list of 2,000 English loanwords encountered in contemporary urban Hindi, and a minor but substantial collection of acronyms used in Hindi, which are also based on the English phonetic system and are therefore instantly recognisable to “us” – like (BJP), see.bee.aaee (CBI), bee.bee,see, BBC, etc. The smaller acronym collection consists of two types: entities restricted to India and other more universal references, which are also of importance to foreign learners, as well as to native Hindi speakers. The short acronym glossary will be published soon in this series, as ‘Hindi Learning Hints, 5’. (Parts 2 and 3, on Affixes (a VERY essential shortcut for serious students of any language), are still in preparation.) A few very common acronyms, familiar to urban Hindi speakers (and others), are included in the present list.

Notes on the Devanagari and Roman scripts and on my transliteration system

English speakers have an advantage over other HSL learners because of the extraordinary capacity of Hindi phonetics to present near equivalents of almost all English sounds. (This is just not possible with French, Spanish, etc.) The English loans sound like Hindi to Hindi speakers but they also (usually) sound like English and so are instantly recognisable for us in the flow of speech. Although this helps a little in the comprehension process, for most foreign learners, Hindi is a very distant cousin, twice removed, in lexicon (virtually NO cognate words) and in its arcane syntax.

Because of my inbred ‘Roman’ bias, I have found reading Hindi to be a major issue, so my simple transliteration system has been tailored to allow speedy transfer of the Devanagari script to Roman script, for writing and typing. In my opinion, this system also allows more efficient transfer to Internet bilingual translating and transliteration aids, such as those offered by Google and Microsoft. For these purposes, the short ŏ sound of English (as in ‘box’, and ‘Bollywood’) is often best represented by the digraph ‘au’.

Using a capital N or M for nasals seemed a good idea and my laborious attempts to distinguish with italics between various alternative sounds and spellings (Hindi’s multiple t’s, th’s, d’s, dh, r, rh, sh, n, h, and ri, etc.) do seem to work. In short, I find this system more practical and easier to read than some of the official transliteration schemes.

To allow the English words to ‘emerge’ from the transliterations below, simply pronounce what you see. Some may amuse you; smile while you learn!

Here Hindi ‘ee’ is equivalent to ‘ee’ in English, but single ‘e’ rhymes with ‘rate’, or sometimes with ‘ten’. So ‘pee.em.’ in Hindi is pronounced more or less as P.M. Similarly, ‘tren‘ = train, and ‘em.e.‘ is M.A. (‘aim-eh’). The very frequent double vowel ‘aa+ee’ rhymes with ‘my’ or ‘high’: hence Hindi ‘haaee kort‘ (High Court), or ‘aaee.e.ess.‘ (IAS: I = aaee; A = e; S = ess, the Indian Administrative Service).

Also the letter ‘v’ is often pronounced as a soft version of ‘w’, as in ‘vikeeleeks’. Do not be distracted by the lack of capital letters in the transliterations. That is the Devanagari alphabet in action. Also, for your and my convenience, I have not used Devanagari alphabetical order. I am sorry if that offends language purists but this makes it easier for me to cope with a daunting task.

Although most of the items below are single lexical items, special notice should be given to those marked (EH). These are hybrid English-Hindi phrases, which give a very fleeting glimpse of the sorts of ways in which Hindi speakers can assimilate some English words into the Hindi morphological system (the commonest case being combinations of English loan + karnaa, to form compound verbs, which, as Rupert Snell (1990, p.55) has pointed out, are constantly being coined. denaa and honaa also appear in such hybrid compounds.

To obtain a Devanagari version of any (or most) of the words and phrases listed below, type them into the Google or Microsoft ‘Hindi to English’ box and press Enter (for each word).

The extent to which English permeates Hindi is perhaps most easily visible in the use of English initial letters not only for acronyms but for Hindi names. Note that each (English) letter is followed by a full stop (period). This is particularly important if entering a search term on Wikipedia in Hindi, e.g, Pee. Jee. Chidambaran प.ग. चिदंबरम

And, for even more instant evidence of English penetration of the Hindi system, here is the frequently used English alphabet as it appears in Hindi, for example in Hindi acronyms.

e. , A
bee. , B
see. , C
dee. , D
ee. , E
ef, , F
gee. , G
ech. , H
aaee. , I
je. , J
ke. , K
el. , L
em. , M
en. , N
o. , O
pee. , P
kyoo. , Q
aar. , R
es. , S
tee. , T
yoo. , U
vee. , V
dablyoo, , W
eks. , X
vaaee. , Y
zed. , Z
(zee. , Z – USA)

English loanwords, a sample:

My 2,000 item collection covers most aspects of contemporary Indian life. Many have been carried over from Imperial times but the majority are post-Independence coinages.

karnaa, honaa, denaa compounds:

aapreshan karnaa, to operate
kvaalifaaee karnaa, to qualify
dismis karnaa, to dismiss
distarb karnaa, to disturb
iNvaait karnaa, to invite
iNfaurm karnaa, to inform
saspaiNd karnaa, to suspend

paas honaa, to pass (exam)
naurmalaaeez honaa, to normalise

riport denaa, to report
vot denaa, to vote

From English -tion, -sion

standiNg oveshan, standing ovation
steshan, station
aupreshan, operation
peNshan, pension
blad doneshan, blood donation

Countries and nationality

aarjenteenaa, Argentina
briten, Britain
dubaaee, Dubai
eerak, Iraq
iNglaiNd, England
landan, London
polaiNd, Poland
saaipras, Cyprus
svis, Swiss
svitserlaiNd, Switzerland
thaaeelaiNd, Thailand
vetikan (sitee), The Vatican, V. City
yoo.pee., UP (Uttar Pradesh)
yookren, Ukraine
yoorap, Europe


baig, bag,
fan, fan; seeliNg fan, ceiling fan
kaimra, camera
peNsil, f, pencil
plag, plug
saiNtimeetar, centimetre, centimeter
shatar, m, shutter
sileNdar, (gas) cylinder
suparmarkat, supermarket

Food and drink

saiNdvich, sandwich
tost, toast
sodaavaatar, soda water
tee baig, teebag
aaisd tee, iced tea
aaisd vaalee chaaee, iced tea (EH)
aaiskreem, icecream
aamlet, omelette
chuiNgam, chewing gum
vetar, waiter

Travel and transport

kaar, f, car
start karnaa, to start (car, etc.)
deezal, diesel
eyarport, airport
steshan, station
bas, bus; bas adda, bus station
rel, rail; relve, railway
rel bhavan, railway office(s) (EH)
ekpatraa rel, monorail (EH)
tez gati rel, hidhspeed rail (EH)
relgaree, f, train
tren, train
rel maarg, (railway) track
riNg rod, Ring Road

tikat, ticket
tikat baaboo, ticket clerk

taiksee, taxi
taikseevaalaa, taxi-driver
meetar se chalo!, drive by the meter (taxi/rickshaw)
veezaa, visa
traival ejensee, travel agency

Media, Films & Internet

rediyo, radio
teevee, TV
satalaait dish, satellite dish

seeriyal, serial, and cereal
veediyo, video
film , f, film
futej, footage
kaimraa, camera
bauleevud, Bollywood,
suparstar, suparstar

iNtarnet, Internet
kampyootar, computer
hardveyar, hardware
aakaash taiblet, Sky Tablet (Indian)
sauftveyar, software
sim kard, Sim card
priNt kareN, Print!
storee ko ret kareN, Rate this story

mobaail, mobile phone
sailfon, mobile phone, cellphone


vee.see., V.C. (Vice Chancellor)


krikat, cricket
vikat, wicket
aaut!, Out! (cricket)
ampayar, umpire
refaree, referee,
maichfiksiNg, matchfixing
saspaiNd karnaa, to suspend
rikaard tornaa, to break a record(EH)
vestiNdees, West Indies
olampik (kheloN), Olympic (Games) (EH)
besbaul, baseball

Careers and Offices

kareeyar, career
aarkitekt, architect
kamishnar, Commissioner
depyootee kamishnar, Deputy Commissioner
pee.em., P.M.
see.em., C.M (Chief Minister (of a State)
iNjaneeyar, engineer
baaristar,, barrister
mejar jenral, major general
freelaiNs, freelance
kaimraman, camera man
klarkee, f, clerical job (EH)


baiNk, bankl; b. akaauNt, b. account
vishva baiNk, World Bank
chaik, cheque
daalar, dollar
hed ofis, head office
siNdiket, syndicate
sentar, Centre

tredmark, trademark
shedyool, schedule
sheyar markat, share market
sheyar bazaar, share market (EH)

taiks, tax
teNdar, tender
pepar klip, paper clip


iNjekshan, injection
blad, blood; b. preshar, b. pressure
chaikap, check-up
terapee, therapy
hart atak, heart attack
kainsar, cancer; kainsar vigyaan, oncology
teebee, TB
eds, AIDS
veNtiletar, breathing apparatus; life support,


taiknolojee, technology
seedee., CD
teevee, TV
ilaktranik, electronic
voltej, voltage
shart sarkat, short circuit
jenretar, generator
sailseeas, Celsius
laiNs, lens
staurm vautar drenej, storm water drainage


maiNgneez, m, manganese
global varmiNg, global warming
gobar gais, methane from cow dung (EH)
phaaspharas, phosphorus
plaastik, plastic

Administration, Politics and Law

sartificat, m, certificate
iNdaiks, index
sabsidee, subsidy

vipaksh leedar, Leader of the Opposition
lokpaal bil, ombusdsman Bill/. Law (EH)
bil paas, the passing of a Bill
pulis, police
chaarj sheet, f, charge sheet
laain auf kantrol, Line of Control (Kashmir)


bilyan, billion
pop, the Pope
aarkestraa, orchestra
janvaaree, January
sitaMbar, september
aktoobar, October
disaMbar, December
pistaul, pistol
bam, bomb

A further alphabetical sample is available here:
‘Basic Hindi Vocabulary for Lucky English Speakers’

The above selection represents just one tenth of my (Romanised) alphabetical list of 2,000 selected English loanwords (not exhaustive by any means) which will shortly be available by email as a .pdf document to those who are particularly interested in the phenomenon. (ompukalani AT

For those of you who will not see the full document, I would like to share my Acknowledgments for this whole project since there are references which may be of special use to you, as they were to me.


Over the two and a half years of my search for English loanwords, etc. I have gleaned vital information from many written sources (dictionaries, grammars, and articles on the Hindi language), which substantially supplemented my own intensive observations of media and Internet usage.

I am grateful to my Hindi tutor, Mr Indramohan Singh, for his constant help and encouragement.

I was also extremely fortunate to come across three immensely useful sources of English borrowings in Hindi. From these three sources, my collection was boosted by several hundred examples, even though I made a judicious selection of their offerings.

My very special sources were:

Hardev Bahri’s Advanced Learner’s Hindi-English Dictionary (2 vols.). This is an excellent (and Romanised) reference book, the only Hindi dictionary of those I consulted which has methodically tried to cover this important aspect of the contemporary Hindi language. (An updated version would be most welcome.)

Volker Schuermann’s Bollywood Dictionary – available online.
and the
DK Visual Bilingual Dictionary of Hindi, which deals realistically and in great depth with the nomenclature of everyday life. []

Translation 40. Hindi-English-Hinglish, an Indian ménage à trois

23 January 2013

One of the aspects which makes travel to ‘Incredible’ India different is the ease with which foreign tourists and businessmen can make themselves understood (in English) in airports, shops, hotels and (usually) taxis. There is no language angst as in many other countries. This is because most urban Indians speak English as a first language and many others as a second one – as well as a regional language (or two). Indians are very used to learning more than one language. In the case of English, it can be useful in getting them a better job, thus improving the wages or salary that they receive.

The long relationship between Indian languages and English has been a major factor in the modern history of the India and its States. Now, with English as the major world lingua franca, it is proving to be beneficial to Indias’s increasing development and prosperity. It is also a comforting advantage over India’s fellow colossus, China, which in so many other ways is ahead of India. The Chinese are making massive investments in education but it will take them a long time to reach the fluency at present enjoyed by so many (numerically) in India.


The dominant position of English in India over the past two centuries is fairly well known and is easy to document. By the 1830s, Britain was ruling over vast areas of the Indian subcontinent with relatively few British soldiers and administrators. A deliberate act by Lord (Thomas Babington) Macaulay brought about the extraordinary dominance of English over the lives of Indians and was to change the destinies of all those Indians who studied the language to work for or under the British Administration. It is also responsible for the ongoing prominence of the English language in the independent Republic of India.

In the admirably succinct Wikipedia account:
“[Lord Macauley] introduced English education in India through his famous minute of February 1835. He called an educational system that would create a class of anglicised Indians who would serve as cultural intermediaries between the British and the Indians. Macaulay succeeded in implementing ideas previously put forward by Lord William Bentinck, the governor general since 1829. Bentinck favored the replacement of Persian by English as the official language, the use of English as the medium of instruction, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers. He was inspired by utilitarian ideas and called for “useful learning.” Macaulay convinced the Governor-General to adopt English as the medium of instruction in higher education, from the sixth year of schooling onwards, rather than Sanskrit or Persian then used in the institutions supported by the East India Company. By doing so, Macaulay wanted to “educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother tongue” and thus, by incorporating English, he sought to “enrich” the Indian languages so “that they could become vehicles for European scientific, historical, and literary expression”. Macaulay’s preference for the English language was based on his view of the local languages as “poor and rude” and on his belief that the body of writing available in Sanskrit and Arabic was no match for the scholarship available in English. He stated in his “Minute on Indian Education” (1835): “all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England.”
(Wikipedia, 23 January 2013)
(Note. Interested readers should see the absorbingly detailed account given by Pavan K. Varma in Becoming Indian, Chapters 2 – ‘The Imperishable Empire’ – and 3 – ‘Macaulay’s Legacy’, pp. 26-87.)

If we now fast forward to the end of the British Raj, as a result of Macaulay’s educational Minute, the position of English in the administration of India and in the running of daily urban life was so well entrenched that it was the national lingua franca, in partnership with regional languages (especially in the south), while in the north it was the partner (or perhaps big brother?) to Hindi.

1947 on-

In the Republic of India, the Hindi-English question has been present since the Independence ceremony.
1. In the Constituent Assembly on 14 August 1947,
“Few of the people in the hall could talk to each other in their native tongue; their only common tongue was the English of the colonizers, whose rule was about to end” (Collins and Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight, p. 287).
2. Jawaharlal (Pandit) Nehru’s famous eloquent Independence “Tryst’ speech was delivered in English.
3. Hindi and English were decreed to be the two main languages, with a limit of 15 years set for English.
4. Sixty five years later, Hindi and English are still the dominant official languages of India, with the advantage still favouring English (and English-speaking Indians.)

1950 The new Constitution was written in English.

“The 1950 Constitution had eventually fudged the issue: Hindi was to be the sole official language, but not for fifteen years (during which English might still be used. […] The hope was that in the fifteen-year interim tempers would cool and Hindi would win more friends …” (John Keay, India. A History, p. 528). As a result northern supporters of Hindi redoubled their efforts to coin more Sanskritised neologisms to cover modern and technical terms with the result that “the Hindi news on All India Radio became […] barely comprehensible” (p. 529). Meanwhile in the north there were protests against English and in the south, mainly in Tamil Nadu, the demonstrations were far more violently against Hindi, with many deaths and several self-immolations (Keay, 529).

From one of his interviews, Patrick French offers this extra detail, gleaned from a Tamilian professor:
“those protests were so intense, with people immolating themselves against the perceived northern domination, that the plan was abandoned and English continued as a parallel language. The powerful Dravidian political parties of the South came out of this movement.” (India, pp. 371-2).

Maria Misra offers another perennially important factor in the debate:
“Critics argued that the reform would grant an unfair advantage in the intense competition for government jobs to the 35% of the nation for whom Hindi was their first language. In 1959, Nehru began to retreat, promising that Hindi would not be imposed and that English would stay as an ‘associate’ language”.
(Maria Misra, Vishnu’s Crowded Temple, p. 289).

Finally, in 1967, a bill was passed which, “while confirming the status of Hindi as India’s official language, gave the non-Hindi states a veto over the phasing out of English, thus effectively guaranteeing its place as “an associate official language” indefinitely (Keay, 529). States were allowed to conduct official business in their preferred regional language (Tamil, Telugu, etc.)

As a result of such language complications, India’s national parliament has some organisational similarities with the European Union; provision for interpreting services is quite generous. In the mid-1990s, the Indian Prime Minister Deve Gowda, who apparently did not speak Hindi or English well, must have been especially grateful for this service.

Among the provisions are the following, taken from

Constitutional Provision and use of different languages in Lok Sabha

“Under article 120 of the Constitution, the business of both the Houses of Parliament is transacted in Hindi or English. In order to enable the Members to communicate directly across the language barrier, a two-channel system of simultaneous interpretation from Hindi to English and vice-versa was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 7 September, 1964. Subsequently, to facilitate Members who could not express themselves adequately in Hindi or English, it was decided to extend the facility of simultaneous interpretation in some of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. In November 1969, this facility was extended to some more languages of the Eighth Schedule. At present, the facility of simultaneous interpretation is available in the following languages namely: Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Manipuri, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Efforts are being made to provide simultaneous interpretation facility in the remaining languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Direction by Speaker regarding use of languages other than Hindi/English
A member who wishes to speak in a language other than Hindi or English is required [under Direction 115 B(1)* by the Speaker] to give at least half-an-hour notice to the officer at the Table to enable the Interpreter concerned to take his seat in the Interpreters’ booth before the member speaks.

Interpretation of the Proceedings of Parliamentary Committees etc.
Arrangement for simultaneous interpretation exists in all the Committee rooms in Parliament House, Parliament House Annexe and Parliament Library Building where meetings of Parliamentary Committees, Departmentally Related Standing Committees, Consultative Committees attached with various ministries etc. are held.”

Many generations of Indian children from the upper and middle classes have had an ‘English Medium’ education, where the tuition takes place in English. For many of these children, Hindi (or another regional language like Tamil or Kannada) is a second language. Also, Higher education and much political, professional and technical training and activity are mainly conducted in English.

Mark Tully, the much-admired India-watcher and “interpreter”, with a lifetime’s collection of valuable observations on Indian life and history, offers this comment on the mixed benefits of English in one of his earlier books on India (No Full Stops in India, 1991):
“The upper echelons of Indian society regard English as one of the greatest gifts of the British. They have made it the language of the exclusive club they belong to, and parents who see half a chance of getting their children admitted to the club will make any sacrifice to provide an English-medium education for them. The élite are not concerned that English has impoverished Indian languages and stood in the way of the growth of an indigenous national language. They insist that English must be preserved as the common language of multilingual India, even though less than 3 per cent of the population have even a basic understanding of it” (pp. 7-8).

In more recent times, some members of the Other Backward Classes have begun to take advantage of an English education. Indeed, Patrick French presents this vignette about a Dalit writer and activist, Chandra Bhan Prasad, who set up a primary school in 2010 and also built a temple dedicated to a new deity, ‘Dalit Goddess English’. His supposition was that Dalits, being socially and educationally excluded, should learn English so as to advance” (India, A Portrait, p. 278).

Since the spread of English throughout India, words from English have been adopted by speakers of Hindi, Tamil and other Indian languages. These borrowed words and phrases are called loanwords or loan translations (calques), In the case of Hindi, there have been many such loanwords and calques, adapted more or less to the phonetics of Hindi, and referring to daily life and to technical terms. This borrowing process goes on all the time between all languages in contact. Think of the massive influx of French or Norman words into English after 1066, or the number of Arabic words in modern Spanish which date back to the centuries-long Muslim rule.

Whereas everyday Hindi contains a very very large number of English loan words, adapted to the phonetics of Hindi, and referring to daily life and to technical terms, their rapid, inexorable, increase, almost on a daily basis, is the cause for the recent cries of alarm from some observers (for example, Professor Rupert Snell, quoted below). Many of these loanwords, and a large number of English acronyms, also based on English phonetics (bee.jay.pee, see.bee.aaee, for example), are understood by Indians in many cities.

Examples of simple loans:

bas, bus; tren, train; kort, court; steshan, station; saspains, suspense; iNjekshan, injection; graauNd, ground; saaikal, cycle; gaiNgrep, gang rape; haaidrojan, hydrogen; saintimetar, centimetre; kaarburetar, carburettor; aaiskreem, ice cream;
ekyoopankchar, acupuncture; spaainal kord, spinal cord. (For many more examples, see the Reference list, under Steel.)


aaee.aaee.tee., IIT (Indian Institute of Technology)
aaee.e.ess, IAS (Indian Administrative Service)
aar.bee.aaee., RBI (Reserve Bank of India)
aar.tee.aaee., RTI (Right to Information), BJP (Bharaateeya Janata Party – or, in Hindi phonetics)
dee.aaee.jee., DIG (Deputy Inspector General)
ef.dee.aaee., FDI (Foreign Direct Investment)
em.e., MA.(Master of Arts)
en.dee.tee.vee. (Indeeyaa), NDTV (India) – New Delhi TV
en.aar.aaee., NRI (Non-Resident Indian), NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme)
o.bee.see., OBC (Other Backward Classes)
pee.el.e., PLA (People’s Liberation Army – China)
pee o ke , PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)
see.aaee.aaee., CII (Confederation of Indian Industry)
see.bee.aaee., CBI (Criminal Bureau of Investigation_
tee.dee.pee., TDP (Telugu Desham Party – Andra Pradesh)
tee.o.aaee., TOI (Times of India)
tee.tee., TT (train ticket inspector)
too.jee., 2G (The ongoing 2G ‘Spectrum’ scandal)

As well as Hindi, we now have ‘Hinglish’, one of a global variety of hybrid combinations of English with a dominant local language., used by bilingual, or partially bilingual speakers. But as we shall see, Hinglish in the form it has evolved over the last 15-20 years is a very complex linguistic phenomenon, on which many scholars are working. The major source of recent discussions on the Hinglish-Hindi-English trio is the 2008 Conference Proceeding, Chutnefying English, edited by Rita Kothari and Rupsert Snell. (Also worth searching for on the Web are Hinglish, Code-switching and Code-mixing.)

When first heard (on a Bollywood film, for example), Hinglish appears to contain far more complex elements of code-switching than, say, the more parochial ‘Spanglish’ of California, Florida, or Australia . (See under Steel in the Reference list.)
It is also probably more complex than ‘Chinglish’, but the special brand of Chinglish of Hong Kong, which is based on a very long and close association between Chinese and English may be closer. (See Wikipedia under Chinglish or ‘Code-switching in Hong Kong’.)

Hinglish can be freely observed in many Bollywood movies and on the streets of Indian cities. It is especially favoured by younger generations of Indians and goes far beyond loan translations. Here are some simple examples (taken from the Gurcharan Das article quoted later):

“Main aaj busy hoon. Kal bill doonga definitely. [I’m busy today. I’ll do the bill tomorrow, defintely.]
“ Voh mujhe avoid kartee hai!” [You’re avoiding me!]
“Careful, yaar. Voh dangerous hai!” [Careful, mate. You’re dangerous.]

Anand Giridharadas, a young American visitor, born of NRI parents, describes his first encounters with (upper class) Indian Hinglish:
It consists of
“stirring Hindi words into English sentences, conjugating Hindi verbs with English suffixes, and appropriating the pidgin English of the less-educated classes. He offers these examples:
“He was just line maro-ing.” [‘chatting up’ the girls]
“Chal, time pass karte hain.”
“Shall we pacca meet at seven?”
“Come jaldi se. Nahin to, the booze will finish.” [early; Otherwise …]
(From India Calling. An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking, 2011.)

Here is another one from an Internet comment:
“Main baahar nikalnee vaalee thee, tab ren stated pooring. Main bheeg gayee and I went clothes chainj karne ke liye.” (“indi45”. One of the comments on Anjoo Mohan’s article in The Guardian on 27 January 2010: ‘English or Hinglish – does it matter what Indian students are learning?’)

(For other examples see Chutnefying English, Tomas Borowiak, and L. Thillai Salvi, in the Reference list.)

After seeing these brief samples, it is not difficult to understand that Indians are currently divided over the ‘Hinglish question’, especially for its implications for the future of Hindi (rather than for that of Indian English, which continues to thrive). The following paragraphs give an idea of the principal points of view.

In the 2008 conference, Hinglish was strongly supported as a natural phenomenon among bilinguals. Of special interest are the papers given by Professor Harish Trivedi and the renowned linguist, Tej. K. Bhatia.

Another keen supporter of Hinglish is Gurcharan Das, the energetic ex-businessman, and author of the bestseller India Unbound. Das began his article, ‘Inglish as She’s Spoke’ (Outlook India (2 May 2005) with customary vigour:

“In a world growing smaller and in an India growing bigger, English is the currency of the future. Even insecure vernacular chauvinists can’t deny us our due.” He went on to speak glowingly of ‘Inglish’ (i.e. Hinglish) as being “increasingly pan-India’s street language.” He portrays Hinglish as a possible future national “aspirational” language for all Indians: “perhaps we may have found a language common to the masses and classes acceptable to the South and North.”

During the 2008 ‘Chutnefying English’ conference, Das moderated and participated in a controversial Panel Discussion, ‘Is Hinglish the language of India’s Future?’ The following contribution by Das expands on the point already made above:
“The spread of Hinglish is a democratizing process. It is a way for the rich and the poor to communicate in the same language for the first time. I wonder why and how Hinglish came up in the 1990s? Is it the reforms that brought it about? Is it a part of the mental liberation of the young in the 1990s?”

A celebration of both Hindi and Hinglish is offered by the prominent diplomat and writer, Pavan K. Varma, whose recent three sociological studies on contemporary India and Indians are de rigueur for students of India, as well as Indians (and NRIs), who have already converted them into bestsellers.

Varma, who concentrates on observations and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary Indian society, suggests that the prominence and domination of English in India stunted Hindi’s growth in the past:

“We have a linguistic pool so large and diverse that despite attempts to colonize the language, it survived. However, over the past three or four decades, this rich linguistic heritage has been disproportionately overshadowed by a pan-Indian preponderance of English.” (Times of India (30 January 2012).

However, things have now changed:
“An assertive popular culture is beginning to acquire critical mass in India. The growing popularity of Hindi is a case in point. The attempt to introduce it by fiat failed; but the growing number of people who speak and read Hindi today would surprise its opponents” (Being Indian, p. 144).
“The popularity of Hindi has nothing to do with a new-found affection for the national language nor is it a deliberate dilution of linguistic chauvinisms. It has happened gradually, on its own and in response to market forces […].” “Many Indians are not fluent in Hindi, but a great many more understand something of it now. Hindi films are popular in Tamil Nadu.”

“A new lingo dubbed Hinglish, an irreverent masala of English and Hindi words, has sprouted spontaneously in the cities. The young speak it; with the success of Pepsi’s slogan – Yeh dil maange more (This heart wants more) – the advertising industry has also come to love it; successful films have adopted it; television resounds to it, even conservative English dailies have not been able to resist its appeal. Hinglish, like Indipop, thumbs its nose at the purists. It represents a confident new comfort zone, in which people arte more concerned with communication than with ideological loyalties” (p. 145).
(See also Varma, Becoming Indian. The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity, Chapter 3, ‘Macauley’s Legacy’, pp. 64-87, for a lengthier treatment of the Hindi versus English story.)

In the same conference Proceedings, the prominent Hindi lexicologist, teacher, and scholar, Professor Rupert Snell expresses deep concern for the present and future of Hindi in ‘Hindi: Its threatened ecology and natural genius’.
“… I see a far more insidious process at work: thanks to the influence of English on Hindi, that would-be national language is year by year sacrificing its own heritage of articulacy, and becoming a stranger in its own land.” He also sees the “elegance of Hindi being eroded by making its own innate lexicon seem exotic, esoteric and eccentric even within its own geographic territory” (p. 23).

His sad conclusion is:
“We are encouraged within the pages of this book and elsewhere, to celebrate the new, zippy Hinglish as a fun thing that echoes the buzz of youth culture and all that. But the point I want to make is a more sombre one: the unattractiveness, for whatever reason, of the over-formal register of Hindi promoted in official circles has turned a long-term trickle of English words into a monsoon flood; the result is a dilution of the genius of Hindi, and irreversible damage to its ecological balance. Hindi aspires to be a national language but is in danger of becoming little more than a notional one as people turn to English or Hinglish in droves” (p. 36).
(Kothari, Rita and Snell, Rupert, eds. Chutnefying English. The Phenomenon of Hinglish, pp. 22-36).
(In 1990, Snell had published a ground-breaking study, ‘The Hidden Hand’, in which
he foreshadowed his present position. See Reference list.)

English is still the lingua franca of India and its de facto national language.

Although Hindi is officially supported and promoted by the Department of Official Language (DOL), financed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, an article by Rashmi Sadana in April 2012 suggested that progress by DOL is impeded by bureaucracy.

Hindi will continue to absorb foreign words and Hinglish will continue to grow and to be discussed and studied.


From the point of view of translation needs as well as for language teaching and learning, especially teaching or learning Hindi as a second language, more effort needs to be made to record the most common English loanwords (and phrases) which have been adopted into the Hindi language so that they can be listed in monolingual and bilingual Hindi (-English/ German,Chinese, etc,) dictionaries, because English/German./Chinese students need to know them!

Over the past two years of listening to and reading the Indian media and Internet sources, I have collected roughly 2000 English loanwords in Hindi, most of which are much more necessary to foreign learners than the linguistic gymnastics involved in ‘performing’ in Hinglish, which is more suited to bilinguals. Given the size of the loanword phenomenon, my glossary should be taken as a (large) sample only.

The collection will be available shortly, to be sent by email, as a pdf document, to those students who wish to consult it for their personal use. (@


Collins, Larry and Lapierre, Dominique, Freedom at Midnight.
Das, Gurcharan:
India Unbound. The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age, New York, Anchor Books, 2002.
‘Inglish as She’s Spoke’, Outlook India, 2 May 2005.
Giridharadas, Anand, India Calling. An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking, USA, Times Books, 2011.)
Keay, John, India. A History. Revised and enlarged edition, NY Grove Press, 2010.

Kothari, Rita. Translating India. The Cultural Politics of English. New Delhi: Foundation Books (Cambridge University Press India), Rev. ed. 2011.
(An excellent study of the publishing of translations of Indian works in India and the recent burgeoning and increased academic interest in Translation Indian Universities. It includes a survey of the perennial English and Hindi questions in Chapter 3, ‘The Two Worlds Theory’, pp. 26-35.)

Kothari, Rita and Snell, Rupert, eds. Chutnefying English. The Phenomenon of Hinglish, New Delhi, Penguin, 2011.
(The results of reporting the 2009 conference.
The collection of papers and discussions offers a plethora of views on Hinglish, its nature and recent impact. It also draws attention to the influence of the media, including Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV, etc. This, along with the Internet and text messaging, all points to major urban usage of hybridised Hinglish by young people, who are in a majority in India.

The sociolinguistic paper by Professor G.J.V Prasad (‘Tamil, Hindi, English: The New Ménage à Trois’, pp. 141-160) is full of valuable insights into the complex state of multiple language use in contemporary India, with special reference to the author’s personal multilingual experiences and the nature of Indian Englishes, which vary according to linguistic areas, as illustrated with reference to Indian English literature.

In response to his conference brief, and as a Tamilian, Prasad’s major focus here is, correctly, on the ‘anglicization of Tamil’. The anglicisation of the Hindi language and its potential consequences may turn out to have been the elephant in the room at that gathering.)

Misra, Maria, Vishnu’s Crowded Temple, p. 289. London, Penguin, 2008.
Sadana, Rashmi, ‘How we live multilingually and what this says about our language and literature’,
Snell, Rupert, ‘The Hidden Hand: English Lexis, Syntax and Idiom as Determinants of Modern Hindi Usage’, South Asia Research, 1990, 10, 53-68.
(An important study, worth reprinting, in which Snell presents a cornucopia of detailed evidence on the massive influence of English on Hindi, leading to his Trojan horse analogy. The rapid growth of Hinglish over the last 15-20 years was to reinforce his thesis.)
Steel, Brian:
‘El Espanglish de Australia’,
‘Hindi Vocabulary for Lucky English-speaking Learners,
Tully, (Sir) Mark:
No Full Stops in India, London, Penguin, 1991.
India. The Road Ahead, London, Random House, 2011.
(esp. pp. 176-199: ‘The English Raj’)
Varma, Pavan K.:
The Great Indian Middle Class, Revised ed., New Delhi, Penguin, 2007 [1998]
Being Indian, London, Arrow Books, 2006 [2004].
Becoming Indian. The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity, New Delhi, Allen Lane, 2010
(Chapters 2 – ‘The Imperishable Empire’ – and 3 – ‘Macaulay’s Legacy’, pp. 26-87.)

Note: For more examples of information on loans, Hinglish, code-switching and code-mixing, see:
Baldauf, Scott, ‘A Hindi-English Jumble, spoken by 350 million’, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 November 2004.
Borowiak, Tomasz, ‘Mixed Conjunct Verbs And Other Manifestations of Hindi Englishization’,
Selvi, L. Thillai, ‘Code-Mixing in Hindi: A Study’,

Translation 22. Cultural Content of Given Names. The Case of Hindi

30 August 2010

For the curious student of foreign languages and cultures, the influence of dominant national religions is often visually or audibly embedded in the language, especially in vocabulary and idiom and, as we shall see below, in people’s first, or given, names.

In English, with the decline in influence of the various Christian churches, the deliberate choice by parents of given names with strong Christian connotations has waned, especially in the cases of Faith, Hope, Charity, Comfort, Constance, Grace (Gracie), Epiphany, and Patience. With many others, the survival of the names usually has more to do with their acceptability and sound than with solid religious associations.
For example:
Adam, Benedict, Benjamin, Candace, Christian, Christopher, Dominic, Eve. (As further proof of this decline, the former descriptor for English language given names was the Christian name but this term is no longer officially recommended or accepted in most English-speaking countries because of far-reaching social and cultural changes in the past 50 years.

In other European languages the religious link is still strong, or at least stronger than in English, notably in southern predominantly (at least in name) Catholic Europe. For example, in spite of the massive decline of catholicism in Spain since the demise of dictator Franco and in some other Spanish-speaking countries, many children are still baptised as:
Anunciación, Concepción, Inmaculada (immaculate), Natividad (the Nativity), Encarnación (incarnation), Ascensión, Martirio (martyrdom), Esperanza (Hope), Consuelo (Consolation), Milagros (Miracles), Jesusa, Dolores (María de los Dolores), Cruz (Cross – as noun rather than adjective);
Amparo (Protection), María del Pilar (Mary of the Pillar), Mercedes (Mercies), Rosario (rosary), Caridad (Charity), Paz (Peace).

Similarly, the following boy’s names are still bestowed upon infants in Spanish-speaking countries:
Jesús, Salvador (Saviour), José, (Joseph), José María (Joseph and Mary), Santos, (Saints), Angel, Angel María, and Miguel Angel.

In Jewish families, religion-related given names are still current and strongly retain their cultural semantic connotations:
Aaron, Abraham, Adam, Benjamin, Daniel, David, Ephraim, Esther, Hannah, Isaac, Jacob, Jeremiah, Jonathan, Joshua, Moses, Noah, Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth, Samuel, Sarah, Solomon.

In India, a sizeable minority of the population are Muslims and bear Muslim names deriving from Arabic, Persian and Urdu:
Abdul, Ahmed, Ali, Anwar, Asif, Aziz, Feroz, Hussein, Imran, Irfan, Irshad, Karim,
Mirza, Mohammed, Nasim, Nur, Rahim, Said, Salim, Salman, Samir, Saroj, Sayid, Tahir, Tariq,Yusuf, Zakir, etc.

However, the overwhelming majority of Indians (approximately 80%) identify themselves as Hindu and bear names so closely associated with aspects of Hindu spirituality and culture that many of them are also nouns or adjectives in Sanskrit or in Hindi, its derivative or descendant.

Since these Hindi/Sanskrit names are still far less well known in the wider English-speaking world outside (largely English-speaking) India than the others offered above and since they are featured in the global media more and more often due to India’s increasing economic and geopolitical development and will continue to grow in global importance for English speakers (and others), I present a small selection in this overview of the links between culture / religion and language.

Apart from my own reading, travel and study, I am relying heavily here on the glosses offered in a very rich, tentacular interconnected website for ALL Given Names, that of Mike Campbell, which I recommend for further and deeper study: Behind the Name. The Etymology and History of First Names

The following is a selection of female and male Hindi or Sanskrit names which will be met in travel in India as well as in the media and on the Internet, and, of course, more and more, in Bollywood films and in the literary and sporting worlds.

Abhishek, m, anointment
Aishwarya, f, prosperity
Ajeet / Ajit, m, unconquered
Amar, immortal [cf. Amartya Sen]
Amitabh, m, shining (Buddha) [as in Bachchan]
Ananda, f, bliss
Aravind, m, lotus
Arjun, m, clear
Aseema, f, boundless
Ashok, m, without sorrow

Bharat, India
Dev, m, god
Devdas, m, servants of the gods
Devi, f, goddess
Divya, f, divine
Gauri, f, goddess Parvati
Gita, f, song [Bhagavad Gita]
Gopal, m, cow protector [Krishna]
Govind, m, cow herder [Krishna] [Sikh version: Gobind]

Jagdish, m , ruler of the world
Jay, m, victory
Jayant, m, victorious
Jyoti, f, light
Kalyana, m, beautiful [also a beer]
Kamal, m, lotus
Kiran, f, sunbeam
Krishna, m, dark blue; Krishna
Lakshmi, f, female deity

Madhu, f, honey
Mahesh, m, great Lord
Maya, f, illusion
Mohan, m, charming
Narendra, m, lord of man
Nirmala, f, pure

Padma, f, lotus
Pankaj, m, lotus
Prabhu, n, mighty
Pradeep, m, lantern
Priya, f, beloved
Purushottam, m, the best amongst men

Radha,f, flower [& Krishna’s female companion]
Raj, m, king
Rajesh, m, king + Isha (deity)
Rajneesh, m, lord of the night
Ram, Rama, m, Lord Rama
Ramesh, Rama + Isha (deity)
Rani, f, queen
Ravi, m, sun

Sachin, m, pure
Sanjay, m, triumphant
Sati, f, truthful
Satya, m, truth
Shanti, f, peace
Sunil, m, positive prefix + blue [Krishna-like?]
Suraj, m, sun
Venkat, m, a reference to Vishnu
Vijay, m, victory
Vikram, m, distinction.