Shah (Indian family name)
Shah surname is adopted by the trade communities (The Banias/ Vanias) of Gujarat. Banias include the Vaishnavas and the Jains. The Hindi word 'Shahukara' meaning a banker, is derived from Sahu. It is second most famous surname of Gujarat. Its variants include "Sah", "Shaha", "Sahu", "Sav", "Sha" or "Shaw".
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It is derived from Sanskrit Sadhu (meaning gentleman) and Prakrit Sahu, while the actual spelling "Shah" in Western culture was popularized by the title of the former Persian King. As a result, especially in Western culture, the usuage of the spelling "Shah" has become far more pronounced than the other variants. The word Sadhu/Sahu is also separately used to indicate a Jain monk. See Namokar Mantra.
In the Gujarat region, the surname Shah derives from the Gujarati sah (from Sanskrit Sadhu, "merchant"). The surname appears to have been altered under the influence of the Persian word for 'king' (Shah) or its variants.
In numerous 12-13th century inscriptions the shravaka who installed the image, is given the title "Sahu".
|सं १५१० वर्षे माघ सुदी ८ सोमे गोपाचल दुर्गे तोमर वंशान्वये राजा श्री डूंगरेन्द्र देव राज्य पवित्रमाने श्री काष्ठासंघ माथुरान्वये भट्टारक श्री गुणकीर्ति देवास्तत्पट्टे श्री मलयकीर्ति देवास्ततो भट्टारक गुणभद्रदेव पंडितवर्य रइघू तदाम्नाये अग्रोतवंशे वासिलगोत्रे सकेलहा भार्या निवारी तयोः पुत्र विजयष्ट शाह ... साधु श्री माल्हा पुत्र संघातिपति देउताय पुत्र संघातिपति करमसीह श्री चन्द्रप्रभु जिनबिंब महाकाय प्रतिष्ठापित प्रणमति ..शुभम् भवतु ..|||
|A Gwalior Fort Inscription 1453 CE|
- A 12th century Jain altarpiece in Los Angeles County Museum of Art mentions Grahapati Sadhu Kundha
- Vibudh Shridhar mentions his patron Nattal Sahu, a 12th century merchant prince in Delhi.
- From Gwalior: Here both Sah and Sadhu have been used in the 1510 inscription.
- From Ahar: " Samvat 1210 vaishakha sudi 13 grahpatyanvayae sahu shrisadhu bharya mana tayoh .. ete paNamanti nityam."
Here the word Sahu is equivalent to Sanskrit word "sadhu". Some inscriptions use "sadhu" itself :
- from Bahuriband: "Svasti shri samvat 1070 phalgunavadi ...
madhavannandinugrahitah sadhu-shri sarvadharah .."
The word Sadhu here does not mean a monk but a "gentleman". Some inscriptions abbreviate sahu by just "sa" just like many English speakers write "Mr."
In some business communities, genealogies are recited during marriages, all ancestors would be respectfully called "sahu".The term "sahukari"means the profession of banking/trading. In the Bundelkhand Jain community, the father-in-law (or son's/daughter's father-in-law) used to be called "sahaji". Thus the words "Shah" etc. all indicate a respected member of the mercantile community. Today it is used by Gujarati business communities.
- Shakespear, John. A dictionary, Hindustani and English: with a copious index, fitting the work to serve, also, as a dictionary of English and Hindustani. 3rd ed., much enl. London: Printed for the author by J.L. Cox and Son: Sold by Parbury, Allen, & Co., 1834, p.1035
- "Shah Name Meaning and History". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
- Kasturchand Jain Suman, Bharatiya Digambar Jain Abhilekh aur Tirth Parichay, Madhya-Pradesh: 13 vi shati tak, Delhi, 2001
- Gopachal ke Jinamandir[dead link]
- Indian Sculpture: 700-1800, Volume 2 of Indian Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection, Pratapaditya Pal, University of California Press, 1988, p. 306
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