Maratha Names

Going by Uday Kulkarni’s book Solstice at Panipat which I’ve been reading over the last few days, there was a Maratha chieftain named Balwant Rao Mehendale. He was supposed to be a brilliant warrior and led one of the divisions of the Maratha army. However, in a skirmish about a month before the big battle, he was hit by a bullet and perished.

What I found amusing is his son’s name – “Appa Balwant”, which translates into Kannada as “father Balwant”. The name amuses me because it is as if the child wasn’t given a name. Whenever someone would ask for his name, he would simply say “Appa Balwant” (“my father is Balwant”). Wonder how it affected him!

Thinking more about it, though, it is possible that the kid’s given name was “Appa” (since Marathis use father’s given names as middle names) and so his full name was “Appa Balwant Mehendale” or something of the sort.

It continues to amaze, however, that someone would name their kid “Appa”.

One thought on “Maratha Names”

  1. The son of Balwantrao was Krishnaji Balwant. It is likely in adulthood he was given the name Appa – a common Marathi honorific similar to Nana, Tatya etc.

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