The Gowda saraswat Brahmins
wherever they migrated mingled with the local people, but kept their identity by their
Surnames even today. The most popular surname among GSBs is Shenoy which is derived from
the word Shenvis which was used to refer to the Saraswats originally settled in Goa in 96
The surnames of GSBs are mainly two types.
The village names of
Gomantak where they settled originally or migrated. This practice is prevalent
among Rajapur saraswats. They have surnames like Bandivadekar, Madkaikar, Borkar,
Sakhalkar, Haldwanekar, Chimbalkar, Navelkar, Marathe, Lotlikar, Salwankar, Karlekar,
Burake, Bhagav, Tendulkar, Patkar, Juvale, Dhonde, Shinkar, Shendre, Bokade, Takur,
Gawade, Potkar, Askekar, Shenai, Gavalkar, Shembekar, Lanjolkar etc. which are the
original local village names of Gomantak. The word 'Kar"
means "From" or citizen of. Thus kakodkar means person from village kakod. This
enabled one to identify the profession and the domicile.
Surnames indicating the
profession adopted by the Saraswats like Pai, Purohit, Nayak etc.
for the Shenvis in Goa. Since most of them took up Administrative jobs they were called
Shanbhags (clerks) which later became Shenoy.
||Pai in Konkani language means
foot or leg. The common person who had not amassed wealth or power was known as Pai.Their
job was menial in maintaining ledgers and doing odd jobs. The Pai who was mainly ledger
agriculture were called Kamathi. Mathi means soil and Kama is work, that is working in
soil ( Kama + Mathi). Later this became Kamath.
||Those who cultivated herbs
were Kinvis, presently called Kini or Keni.
||Thos who prepared the concoction was prepared and dispensed it
||The animals required for
tilling, transportation and other works were under Haya- Gade (actually Horse tenderer),
modernized to Hegde.
||Those worked as Army commandants
were called Nayaks. Some Nayaks who were honoured by the King with titles like Ravubahadur
adopted Rao as their Surname
requirements of every family for survival, presentations, etc were the responsibility of
the Ballo. There is another theory that the foot soldier with a spear was called Ballo.
The soldier Ballo (Baliga) was under the command of Nayak.
lords called themselves Prabhu. He lived in a palatial home called mahal, and the
caretaker was known as Mahalyar, presently modernized to Mallya.
|Acharya, Bhat and Vadhyar
||The poojas in the big temple
and its rituals were under Acharya, and in small temples conducted by Bhat. Every family
had exclusive priest to perform the rites, and he was the family Purohit and was called
were administered by Mahajans
||Stores and godown keepers
were called Bhandari or Bhandarkar.
maintaining statistics was called Karni. Land was called Nadu, and the person maintaining
land records was known as Nadkarni, and Kulkarni maintained census, and social register.
||Doing odd jobs in temples and poojas
Karnataka, the village of refuge was used as a prefix to call oneself Padbidri Mohandas
Prabhu, or Kinnigoli Ramanath Kamath. The kerala civilization induced the name of the
house or the exact area rather than the village, and in some places, the present
profession was also added to the name. So we have today, Thayyil Muralidhar Kamath
(Thayyil means tailoring house), or Kannaparambil Gopalakrishna Pai (Parambil means garden
or farm belonging to kannan).
Today the name has no
links with the profession. However the GSBs still retain their Surnames down the