Dissecting Bengali Personal Names - Part 3 of 7

Written by: Nimish Adani



Time to read min

We take a deep dive in to the fascinating world of Bengali names. This is the 3rd of 7 posts we've written on the subject. Each post is written in the form of notes and observations on the subject.

In this edition, we dig in to Bengali names that draw inspiration from Nature and Natural Processes. In fact, if there is a single aspect which distinguishes Bengali personal names from personal names of other linguistic areas, it is the sensitive perception of nature and natural processes. Some of the common objects of nature used for personal names are:

The Sun

The sun has many synonyms in Sanskrit and thus in Bengali these are very commonly used as personal names: Tapon, Bhanu, Bhaskar, Robi, Surjo, Mihir, Sobita, Tarani, Bilochon, Dinesh, Gayatri (feminine).

The Moon

The moon too has many synonyms; of these the most commonly used are: Biddhu, Biraj, Mriganko, Shashanko, Shashi (also feminine), Shurdangshu, Himangshu, Indu (feminine), Shitangshu. Associated names : Certain qualities or states associated with the moon are also a fertile source: Jyotsna ('moonlight' also feminine), Purnendu, Purnima, Raka, Ardhendu, Shorodindu.

The Elements

The earth has about half a dozen names: Jagot, Abani, Dharoni, Bosudha (fem.), Bosundhara (fem.), Ila (fem.), Ira (fem.), Bosumati (fem.), Water: Shalil, Bari, Nila (fem.). Air: Samir. The sky: Gagon, Ambar, Ananto. The clouds: Badol, Barid, Neerodh, Megh, Alok, Jimut.

The Ocean

Sagor, Sagorika (fem.).

The Night

The night has a special fascination for the Bengali. Of the half a dozen or more names used, most of them are used as feminine names: Ratri, Rajoni, Sharbori, Nishi, Nisha, Nishit, Jamini (mas.), Timir (mas.).

Other Natural Phenomena

Of around fifty names used, the more common ones are given: Shishir (winter), Tushar (snow), Shisirkana (dew drop, fem.), Nihar (frost), Niharika (frost, fem.); Himadri (snow-capped mountain), Niladri (sky-capped mountain); Banani (the woods, fem.); Moloy (the woods), Moloya (the woods, fem.), Kanon (the woods, fem.); Biddot (lightning), Shampa (lightning, fem.), Soudamini (lightning, fem.); Shriporna (beautiful leaf, fem.), Suporna (good leaf, fem.), Kollol (leaf); Brototi (creeper, fem.), Lata (creeper, fem.), Latika (creeper, fem.); Nikunjo (bower), Mukul (bud), Mojuori (spring), Prosun (blossom); Keka (peacock call, fem.), Kuhu (cuckoo-call, fem.); Kallol (rippling of the waters); Jharna (waterfall, fem.); Soibal (moss), Tamoshi (darkness, fem.), Beethi (avenue of flowers, fem.); Bipin (forest), Bela (sea beach, fem.); Bhromor (honey bee, fem.), Jonaki (glow-worm, fem.).

Natural Processes

The morning (Probhat,. Probhati), dawn (Usha, Prottush, Prodosh) and the seasons (Borsha - monsoon; Hemanta - autumn; Sharot - autumn; Bashonto - spring; Shraboni - of the month of Shravan, fem.; Falguni - of the month of Falgun, have also lent themselves for use as personal names.


Names of some rivers are also frequently used as personal names and there are peculiarities that must be taken note of. One, that all such names (Gonga, Jomuna, Bipasha, Saroju, Sipra, Padda) are feminine names; and two, that not all these rivers flow through Bengal. For instance, Bipasha flows through Punjab in the far north and Kaveri flows through states in the far south. It appears that only those rivers which have names that sound musical to the Bengali ear are chosen. The river Gonga is known by several names: Janhobi, Mondakini, Alokanonda and most of them are used as personal names.

Flora and fauna

Names of at least thirty different flowers are used as personal names. These flowers are small and delicate and naturally, therefore, they are all used as feminine names. Some of the typically Bengali names are: Juthika, Madhobi, Mollika, Jaba, Mohua, Karabi, Atori, Bokul, Parul, Keya, Ketoki, Shiuli, Shefali, Tagor.


The lotus, apart from its beauty, is associated with religious rites and thus has more than a dozen names all of which are used as personal names: Kamol, Paddo, Pankoj, Nolini (fern.), Aurobindo, Sarojini (fem.), Kumud, Mrinal, Rajib, Utpol, etc.

P.S.: You can read the previous and subsequent parts of this topic using the links below: