In the last two decades there has been an abounding interest in Hinglish, and with lexicographers bringing out revised editions every other year, the interest has been sustained in Indian and foreign publications. Addressing a meeting of the Indian community, Prince Charles affirmed that the influx of Indian words has enriched English.

One feature of word borrowing from India is the adoption of Indian proper names with associated meanings. In the last few days, I notice the widespread use of the word “juggernaut" in political and sports reporting. Juggernaut is the huge temple car drawn in a procession by devotees at an annual festival in Puri in the state of Orissa. Legend has it that devotees allowed themselves to be crushed under its wheels. In course of time, the word acquired metaphoric meanings. It stands for any force that demands blind devotion or unquestioning sacrifice. This meaning is dated 1854.

Juggernaut is now fully anglicized and people who use it do not always know how it originated. Last week the word was used many times in reports about the finance minister’s speech. One report said that the minister has rolled out his reforms juggernaut. Rediff had an interesting headline: “Not by development alone: Unveiling the Modi juggernaut". A sports headline read, “Barça juggernaut rolls on".

The English language has a set of nouns signifying fabrics of various kinds named after places. Jersey comes from the island of Jersey and damask is from the name of the capital of strife-torn Syria. Cambric is derived from Cambrai, located on the French-Belgian border.

Calico is an example from India. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama reached Calicut on 20 May 1498, thus opening the trade route round the Cape of Good Hope. During the days of the East India Company, Kozhikode became Calicut. The word calico derived from it stands for a plain-woven unbleached cotton cloth. In American English it means a printed cotton fabric.

The city of Jodhpur has a place in the dictionary thanks to Jawaharlal Nehru adopting Jodhpur breeches as formal wear. The word is dated 1913. Jodhpurs are trousers fitting closely below the knee, worn for horse riding.

Kashmir has been adopted into English and respelt Cashmere. It refers to the wool obtained from the Kashmir goat, and to material made from such wool. As the name of a woollen fabric it is attested from 1822.

The dictionary defines dungarees as trousers made of sturdy cloth, with an extra piece that covers the chest. The word has been traced to Dongri, the name of a dockside village near Mumbai, where this fabric originated. Several other garments of the type appeared with their own names. A note in my dictionary ascribes the origin of the fashion to Levi Strauss, whose model was imitated by designers in other countries. In most dictionaries, dungarees are identified with blue denim and blue jeans.

The Indian name that is today the focus of political and business discussion on the eve of American elections is Bangalore. MSNBC news called it the city that gives President Barack Obama sleepless nights. If someone is Bangalored, that would mean that his job has been shifted to India where wages are lower. Passions run high in Western countries when the subject is broached. Obama’s criticism of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is partly that the latter’s company is helping to outsource American jobs. Using alliterative slogans, Obama said on taking office in 2009: “We want jobs in Buffalo not Bangalore." He made outsourcing of jobs from Boston to Bangalore and Beijing a major campaign issue. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton pointed to Boston-Bangalore and Manhattan-Mumbai bilateral ties as models to be pursued.

The grammar of Bangalored is interesting. Place names are seldom turned into verbs. The only other instance that is current is “shanghaied": shanghaiing means kidnapping and drugging people to force them to join a ship; or more generally, forcing people to do work they don’t like.

V.R. Narayanaswami is a former professor of English, and has written several books and articles on the usage of the language. He looks at the peculiarities of business and popular English usage in his fortnightly column.

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