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Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

Translated from the original Bangla novel
Ichhamoti (ইছামতী)

Chhanda Chattopadhyay Bewtra

Cover | 1 | Glossary


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aar--river catfish

adosa--deep fried snack

Advaita--(theo.) nondual, monistical, Absolute

Aghran--8th month of the Bengali calendar, from mid-November to mid-December

akanda--Calotropis procera. Milkweed

alna--clothes hanger

alta--red lac-dye esp. as used by Hindu women to paint the borders of their feet

amaltas--Cassia fistula; Indian laburnum

amin-- land surveyor; supervisor

amlaki--Phyllanthus emblica-ambla, gooseberry

amra--Spondias mombin

anna--one-sixteenth of a rupee; 4 paisas

Apsara--celestial nymph (myth.)

Asharh--3th month of the Bengali calendar, of the rainy season, from mid-June through mid-July

Ashwin--6th month of the Bengali calendar, of the autumn season, from mid-September through mid-October

atimuktalata--kind of plant

aush--Summer rice, harvested in autumn.

Ayurveda--traditional Hindu science of medicine as taught in the Atharva-veda or other treatises (notably of Charak and Shushrut) B

baba--daddy, father

babla--Acacia nilotica, thorn acacia

babu--honorific, often appended to one's name or title

bachra--Urena lobata Linn.

bagdi--a specific low caste Hindu; bagdini--a female belonging to the bagdi caste


bakul--Mimesops elengi, medlar

banchatka--wild Sagittaria sagittifolia

Bangal--belonging to East Bengal, or currently Bangladesh; often used derogatively

banmalati--Jasminum multiflorum, jasmine

banmarich--Clematis cadmia Ham

Bardi--oldest sister

baro--senior, older, higher in status; often used as a prefix with other words

baro gowale--kind of vine, fox grape(??); vitis lattifolia

bel--wood apple, bilwa, Aegel marmelos

Bhadra--fifth month of the Bengali calendar (from the middle of August to the middle of September)

bherenda--Ricinus communis, castor bean

bhetki--Lates calcarifer, barramundi, Asian sea bass

bhori--a unit of weight equal to 180 grains or a little over 11 gms

bigha--roughly 1/3 of an acre area; equals 20 kathas

boinchi--flacourtia indica, Indian plum

bon-kolmi--ipomoea striata, a avariety of morning glory

bonyeburo--wild cotton

bor--anklets, made with silver or gold

bori--lentil dumpling

boudidi, boudi (coll.)--elder brother's wife; sister-in-life; used socially also.

bou-katha-kao--Indian cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus

bund--artificial embankment, dyke, dam (ref. Hobson-Jobson)


Chaitra--last, 12th month of the Bengali year; of the Spring season; from middle of March till middle of April

chalta--Dilenia indica

champak--Maghnolia champaka


chatka-- Bauhinia; kachnar

chhatak--1/16 ser; 1/4 poa

chhatim--Alstonia scolaris, Devil tree

chhi--verbal expression of disgust


Chhordi--Youngest older sister

chhoto--junior, younger, small, lower; often prefixed with other words

chhoto gowale--kind of vine, fox grape(??); vitis lattifolia

chital--Chitala chitala; Indian featherback

chun--alkaline lime; calcium


daal, dal--pulse; lentil; soup made of these

dakshina--a fee or gift given to a priest or a Brahman or a teacher etc.

dada--elder brother; often used socially to show respect

danda--24 minutes

darga--tomb of a muslim saint or pir

dewan--chief revenue officer of a province

Dhanwantari--(Hindu myth.) the name of the physican of heaven; (fig.) an unfailing physician

dhundul--sponge gourd, Luffa cylindrica; Xylocarpus granatum

didi, -di--elder sister; often used socially to show respect

diksha--ritual initiation

doel--magpie robin, Copsychus saularis

doshbaichandi--kind of flowering plant

drongo--Dicrurus sp.


Eesh--kind of medicinal plant


fakir--holy men (sufi)

falar--vegeterean meal of fruit and milk


gamchha--thin cotton towel

ganda--4 karas

gaoa--made of cow milk

garan--?? kind of tree

ghat--a landing-stage (as on the bank of a river, pond etc.)

ghee--clarified butter; gaoa-ghee--ghee made of cow milk

ghentu--Clerodendrum infortunatum Hill glory

ghetkol--Typhonium trilobatum, arum trobate

gneyo-->> kind of plant

gulancha--moonseed, Tinosp[ora, cordifolia

gung shalik--Acridotheres ginginyanus, bank myna

gur--molasses, date palm jaggery

guru, gurudev--spiritual or honored teacher or guide


halhali--medicianl plant

hookah--a single or multistemmed instrument for smoking flavored tobacco

hutum pencha--Tuto alba. Barn owl


itey--?? kind of fish


jackfruit--Artocarpus heterophyllus, kanthal

Jaistha (coll. Jashti)--2nd (Summer) month of the Bengali calendar; from middle of May to middle of June

jalpipi--Jacana, Metopidius indicus


jasham--kind of ornament

jhau--Casuarina species

jhinge--ridge gourd

jiuli--Lannea grandis; odina wodier

joggidumur--cluster fig, Ficus racemosa


kaash--Saccarum spontaneum, flowering grass

kabbadi--an Indian outdoor game

kabiraj--physician who follows the (Hindu) Ayurvedic system of treatment

kadam--Nauclea kadamba

kadma--??(Pg 305)

kakjangha--Acanthaceae sp.

kalkasunde--coffeeweed, Cassia occidentalis

kalmi--Ipomoea aquatica

kanchan--Orchid tree, Phanera variegata

kanchra daam--Jussiaea repens

kaora--a specific low (Hindu) caste

kara--small cowrie

karanja--Miletia piñata karkun--steward or caretaker of a landed estate

katha--as a volume measure, roughly equals about two and a helf ser of rice; as an area measure, approx. one-twentieth of a bigha

Kartik--7th month of the Bengali calendar; from middle of October to middle of November.

keya--also known as ketaki, screw-pine, Pandanus tectorius

khaira--Chatoessus manminna; kind of fish

kheer--sweetened and condensed milk. used to make varieties of sweet-meats and moulds.

khoi--popped rice

khol--dried patties made of husk of mustard, sesame seeds, etc.

khoro hans--woodduck, the only duck on trees

kneyejhnaka, kakjangha--Leea acqueata

koi--Anabas testubineus, climbing perch

koshakushi--copper utensils for worship ritual

krosh--2 miles

kshetpapra--medicianl plant

kshetpatra--Oldelandia corymbosa

kulin--a noble caste; the males used to marry many women

kumure--kind of vine

kunch--Abras precatorius, Ratti

kusha--a kind of holy grass used in worship rituals


langal--wooden tiller

lathi--stick or bludgeon, often made of bamboo and sometimes bound at short intervals with iron rings, forming a formidable weapon (ref. Hobson-Jobson)

lathial--skilled figheter with lathis

lau--bottle gourd, Lageneria vulgaris


madar--crown flower, calotropis gigantean

Magh--10th (and winter) month of the Bengali calendar; from middle of January to middle of February

martaman -- a variety of banana originally grown in Martaban maund--40 sers. approx. 80 lbs

Maya--Illusion, which hides the true nature of Reality

mauth--a conical temple shaped confection made of sugar

mem, memsahib--white (European) woman

Mimangsa--one of the six systems of Philosophies, deals with Critical Investigation

mouri--Fennel seed

muchi--cobbler (caste)

murki--popped rice coated with molasses


nagkeshar--cannonball tree, monkey pots; Couroupita guianensis

nak-joale--certain vine

nalimul--medicinal vine

naru--sweetened coconut ball

natkan--Annatto, Bixa orellana

natakanta-- Caesalpina crista

nayeb-- administrator; official in charge of rent collection of a zamindar.

neem--Azadirachta indica

Nikiri--certain community of Muslim fishermen

nimphal--fruit (phal) of neem

Nyaya--one of the six systems of Philosophies, deals with Logic


okra--?? kind of shrub

ombol--sweet and sour item taken near the end of a meal


paan--Piper betle, betel leaf

paanta bhaat--rice (bhaat) cooked overnight and steeped in water

pakhi--area measure of land

palash--flame-of-the-forest; Butea monosperma

panchali--a class of Bengali poems celebrating the glory of a deity and often set to music

pankalas--aquatic weed with small white flowers

pata--kind of ornament, worn around the waist

patali--brittle made of molasses

patpati--kind of creeper

Paush--9th (Winter) month of the Bengali calendar; from middle of December to middle of January

pir--muslim saint

pituli--Trewia Nudiflora Linn.

poa--1/4 of a ser

prasad--food-offering to a deity; (remains of) food-offering from a venerable person

punarnava--spreading hogweed, Boerhavia, diffusa

puon--Indian mahogany, Toona ciliata


radhalata--madhabi late, Combretum indicum, honeysuckle

rarha--Mallotus phillippinensis

ratti--Abrus precatorius; rosary pea rerhi--Ricinus communis, Castor sp.

rui--Labeo rohita, carp family

ryot--a tenant of a piece of agricultural land


saal--Shorea robustaa. A North Indian tree that yields hard, durable timber and dammar resin

sabri--a superior variety of banana

sajimati--Fuller's earth

salaam--salutation, obeisance, a salute

sala-jal--?? fishing net (made of wicker?) Pg 310

sandesh--sweetmeat made of cheese

sandhyamoni--Mirabilis jalapa, 4'0 clock flower


ser-- approx. 2 lbs; 1 ser= 4 poas

setho--Professional guide for travelers

shamkut--kind(??) of bird

Shashthi--sixth day of the Moon; first day of the Durga Puja. sheora--Streblas asper. Sandpaper tree

shimul--Bombax ceiba, kapok tree

shirish--Albizia saman, raintree

shiuli--night jasmine, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

shnara--Cupressus sempervirens Linn.

Shraban--4th month of the Bengali calendar, of the rainy season, from mid-July till mid-August

Shrotriyo--a (non-Kulin) sub-caste of Brahmins

shukto, shuktuni--a type of vegetable curry

shyamlata--Ichnocarpus frutescens; black creeper

silli--Lesser whistling duck, Dendrocygna javanica

sinni, coll. corruption of shirni--an oblation of mashed ripe bananas and sweets offered to deities

snuyo--kind of flower

sondal--Cassia fistula, amaltas; golden shower tree

sundari--?? kind of tree/p>

suchikavaran--treatment involving very minute dose (that is contained on top of a needle [suchika]) of ayurvedic medicine concocted with snake poison and other things

Swati--a star, Arcturus/p>


tamoguna--one of the three primordial qualities of living beings, darkness or Ignorance

tapoban--secluded forest for meditation

tappa--a variety of semi-classical vocal music

Tarkashastra--Science of Dialectics

techoko--lit. with three eyes, kind of small fish that appears to have an additional eye

telakusha--Coccinia grandis, ivy gourd

thakur--respected brahmin, father-in-law, deity, god

thakurjhi--a father-in-law's daughter, or husband's sister

thelo--coconut shell water container for hookah.

til--an iota; sesame (seed)

tithpalla--Roylea elegans Wall.

tittiraj--amoora rohituka; Aphanamixis polystachya

topa pana--water lettuce, pistia stratiotes


uluti--ulu (? Imperata arundinacea Cyrill?)

Uttar-Bhadrapath-- a star in the Andromeda galaxy


Vedanta--the theological treatise, the Upanishads

Published in Parabaas, May '17 - Jan '20

The original novel "ichhamoti" (ইছামতী) by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay was his last novel. It was serialized in 'Abhyudoy' (অভ্যুদয়) first and then published in book form by 'Mitraloy' (মিত্রালয়, পৌষ ১৩৫০) on January 15, 1950 when the author was still alive.

Translated by Chhanda Chattopadhyay Bewtra. Chhanda (Chatterjee) Bewtra was born in Purulia, West Bengal but... (more)

Illustrated by Atanu Deb. Atanu is currently teaching in a University in Orissa, India.

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