Baba (Persian: بابا, Turkish: baba, Urdu: بابا, Pashto: بابا; Sanskrit, Hindi and Marathi: बाबा; Assamese and Bengali: বাবা; Punjabi: ਬਾਬਾ; father; grandfather; wise old man; sir,) is a Persian and Turkish honorific term used in several West Asian and South Asian cultures. It is used as a mark of respect to refer to Sufi saints.
During Muslim rule in South Asia, it was also used for Hindu and Sikh ascetics (sannyasis) and is used as a suffix or prefix to their names e.g.: Ramdev Baba, Baba Ramdevji, etc. Baba is also a title accorded to the head of certain order of Sufi saints: Baba Bulleh Shah and Rehman Baba. The Persian term was also adopted in Malaysia as an honorific form of respect to address Chinese people born in British Straits Settlement.
In Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe, and also in Yoruba, a language spoken by the Yoruba culture in the south western part of Nigeria, Baba is an honorific for father, wise man or, simply, elderly man. It is also a term of respect used by wives, other women, children and other youth to an older man.
Baba is also the familiar word for "father" in many languages; see mama and papa.
- Platts, John T. (John Thompson). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1884.
- BABA AND SUFI TRADITION
- Hunter, William Wilson; James Sutherland Cotton; Richard Burn; William Stevenson Meyer; Great Britain India Office (1908). Imperial Gazetteer of India. 20. Clarendon Press. p. 295.
- Ooi, Keat Gin (2004). Southeast Asia : A Historical Encyclopedia, From Angkor Wat to East Timor. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 198. ISBN 1-57607-770-5.
- Baba in Weiner, E. S. C.; Simpson, J. R. (1989). The Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2.
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