Defining the word ‘Bai’?


Only the other day on 01/12/2012, I wrote a post titled as A virtual unity in diversity containing therein a small cartoon as from facebook like a mini poster describing Sonia Gandhi acting as a ‘bai’. I pointed out that this should have been somewhat a graceful word, as the word ‘bai’ looks slightly ridiculous. I got a prompt reply from one of my valued readers T.N. Goel, an ex executive of State Bank of India and a top national level trade union leader, pointing out to me by way of his comment on my relative post that there is nothing wrong in using the word ‘bai’ as it does not lack the very dignity. I did give him a brief reply, but thinking that there might be some confusion on the part of other readers lurking in their mind, I chose to clarify the position in a modest order. There is nothing to dispute what T.N. Goel expressed as an important feed back, I rather fully endorse what he has said and value it with thanks to him. In fact what is needed is to frugally enumerate what the word ‘bai’ actually stands for. ‘Bai’ is historically a word that was earlier suffixed to the ladies of royal families, like Ahilya Bai, Jodha Bai, Lakshmi Bai. The culture of our society is to democratically use the big names,  or some part of them, while calling the persons in their contact list. When Rajiv Gandhi was born and named as such, thousands of the families in the country named their male children as Rajiv (plus some suffix being their caste or creed). In later years, even commoners started preferring being called with some dignified name. Most of ‘Dais’ (women serving as domestic help particularly attending to delivery cases), wanted that they be called as ‘bais’ instead of ‘dais’, and the society accepted them as such. Afterward, even ladies in general serving in the house hold changed their nomenclature as ‘bais’. It is a sort of something varying from place to place. The word ‘bai’, once restricted to be used in the royal families only, is thus used more for the women involved as domestic help in many a places like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.Please read the link so given above.

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8 thoughts on “Defining the word ‘Bai’?”

  1. Sir, Very nice and graceful clarification providing a historical and psychological understanding of social development leading towards human tendency to feel more dignified.

    Like

  2. I have full regard for Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and she deserve for it because setting a side other factors,ultimately she belongs to the family of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Pt. Moti Lal Nehru or Smt.Indira Gandhi too,to whom I have enough of respect because of their contribution for independence of the country.

    As far the word Bai is concern,I dont have any confusion and it is a reason that I too agree with the view of Mr. T.N. Goel.

    Like

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