Monday, 3 November 2008
These notes on Kipling's "My Lord, the Elephant" says that the Hindi words for "elephant" (हाथी hāthī) and "hand" (हाथ hāth) are related, "referring to the trunk which serves the elephant as a hand". It's a nice story, and for once it's true. Sanskrit हस्त: hastaḥ meant "hand; an elephants trunk", whence modern hāth "hand", and Sanskrit हस्तिन् hastin meant "having hands, clever or dextrous with the hands; the animal with hands i.e. with a trunk", whence modern hāthī "elephant".
The image is from an Urdu children's book. I'm not sure why hamza is used as the first letter of these words, I thought the words were spelled هاتهي and هاتهہ.