Why Do Cute Indian Nicknames End with U?

uEver wondered why most of the baby names and nicknames in India end with U? Munnu, Bablu, Sonu, Monu, Bittu, Babu and the famous ‘Babyu’ popularized in the Ayushmann Khurana starrer film ‘Bala’. Although they appear to be primarily male nicknames, husbands and boyfriends are often known to sweeten the names of the beloveds, with ‘ऊ’ in the end. So Sweety becomes Sweetu, Chanda turns Chandu and Anupama is called Anu.

When I first thought about it, I Googled to find the list of popular Indian nicknames. This is what I found in the search content box:

• Aaru.
• Abhi.
• Ani.
• Anu.
• Ajju.
• Anju.
• Anshu.
• Appu.

So six out of eight nicknames end with ‘U’. Also look around you, and try to remember the nicknames of your family and friends…so many ends with ‘U’ right?

I do not know what’s the connection between affinity and the ‘ऊ’ sound but all I know is it expresses affection in Indian names. In ancient times, no two names were similar, and each child’s name was based on his appearance, family, occupation or qualities.

And I do not know how the practice of nicknames started in India. Perhaps, it was an ancient practice. Krishna has been called by so many names in the ‘The Mahabharata’ and other scriptures.

I did some research to find out the nature of the ‘ऊ’ sound, and found some notes in this blog on Sanskrit. “The second trinity of reflections (आ ā, ई ī, and ऊ ū) has a ‘lunar’ nature, due to the predominance [in them] of refreshing delight which is the essence of Repose [within Awareness] (vimarśa)”.

This ‘refreshing delight’ may be the reason why we tend to call our loved ones with names that end in ‘U’. Or there might be other reasons! While the research is on…I would love to know what do you think.

What do you call your loved ones? And most importantly, does your nickname ends with ‘U’. Mine does!


(Images courtesy Google)




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