Hindi’s contribution to English
When you shampoo your hair, you are essentially washing your hair with a special kind of soap. The word shampoo is derived from the Hindi word champo meaning rub. Champi is also used to mean massage. In the Navratan Oil advert, we hear Amitabh say “Ek Champi to ho jaye”. So when you are shampooing your hair no matter if the product is imported you are still doing the desi massage when shampooing!
Some words are very obviously of Indian origin like Chutney, dacoit, Mantra, Nirvana etc. But there are quite a few which are not so obvious.
The Loot in the Jungle is by Thugs
Loot is a very common English word and it comes from Hindi retaining the same meaning and sound. No matter in which country people store their ill-gotten wealth, we can say loot is from India only!
The word jungle by its very sound somehow seems Hindi-ish. It is rightly so. There is no twisting, turning or derivation. The word has been adapted straight into English with the same meaning. The movie Jungle Book based on Kipling’s book by the same name was based on Indian characters. Would the movie be the same if it was called The Forest Book? Nah! No way!
Aamir Khan is coming out with his next movie Thugs of Hindoostan. The word thug meaning robber, swindler con man etc again is of Indian origin. In Hindi/Urdu, thug means a guy who swindles, cheats, loots etc. Don’t ask me if there is an equivalent for the feminine form of the word.
Give and take
We are very much used to cyclonic storms as our country has vast water bodies on three sides. The storms that come in from the sea and oceans are known by different names in different places. In India, we call them cyclones, in the USA there are called hurricanes and there is another word for it – typhoons. Some say that the word has Chinese origins (dafeng for great wind) or Greek origins (Typhon for violent wind). But there is also the Indian origin where the familiar Hindi word is toofan.
At times it becomes difficult to trace the origin of a word but when in doubt, I will go with Indian origin. Itna desh bhakti to ban tha hain.
Some more Hindi/Urdu words that have become everyday words in English: Yoga, Guru, Pyjamas, Karma, Cot, Chit, Cheetah, Bangle and the Gamer’s word Avtar.
We have taken from the English but we have given back in equal measure too!