Baby name story: Irawati

Indian sociologist Irawati Karve (1905-1970)
Irawati Karve

Pioneering Indian anthropologist/sociologist Irawati Karve taught primarily at Deccan College (in the Maharashtrian city of Pune) from 1939 until her death in 1970.

How did she come to have her unusual first name?

Irawati Karve was born to a family of wealthy Chitpavan Brahmins in Burma in 1905. To her father, Ganesh Hari Karmarkar, an employee at the Burma Cotton Company, the landscape of that country was so important that he named his daughter after the lifeline of the nation, the Irrawaddy River.

The name of the river may be derived from the Sanskrit term airavati, meaning “elephant river.”


Image: Adapted from Irawati Karve by Devanshi Rao under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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