Etymology Notes: "-stan"

carljweber carljweber at MSN.COM
Fri Jan 4 17:54:33 UTC 2002

Re: -stan

I appreciate Ben Fortson's help getting to a deeper bottom.

He wrote:
Two minor etymological notes on Carl's message, for what they're worth:
the -sta- of "Avestan" is not from the root *sta:- (see AHD4 for details,
s.v. Zend Avesta), and there's really no debate about the origin of
"Pakistan", which was deliberately coined from P(unjab) + A(fghan) +
K(ashmir) + (Baluch)ISTAN by C. Rahmat Ali in 1933 and taken up by
Mohammed Ali Jinna's Muslim League in 1940.

On the following site is a paragraph about Mr. C. Rahmat Ali, and after the
paragraph, another by Mr. Ali himself.

Rahmat Ali first published the word 'PAKSTAN' on January 28, 1933 in the
pamphlet 'Now or Never'. By the end of 1933, the word had become common
vocabulary through the efforts of Rahmat Ali's Pakistan National Movement.
An ''I' was added to ease pronouncement (like Afghan-i-stan). In his book
'Pakistan: the Fatherland of the Pak Nation', Rahmat Ali gives a fuller
explanation of the word.

The originator of the name, Rahmat Ali, says:

" 'Pakistan' is both a Persian and an Urdu word. It is composed of letters
taken from the names of all our homelands- 'Indian' and 'Asian'. That is,
Panjab, Afghania (North West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Iran, Sindh
(including Kach and Kathiawar), Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and Balochistan.
It means the land of the Paks- the spiritually pure and clean. It symbolizes
the religious beliefs and ethnical stocks of our people; and it stands for
all the territorial constituents of our original Fatherland. It has no other
origin and no other meaning; and it does not admit of any other
interpretation. Those writers who have tried to interpret it in more than
way have done so either through the love of casuistry, or through ignorance
of its inspiration, origin and composition" (C.R. Ali, 1947, "Pakistan: the
Fatherland of the Pak Nation", Cambridge).


If you look at the chart at the site, and the above, it shows where the
students I mentioned came up with "pure". It also is accurate to say that
the "-stan" meant "land of" to C.R. Ali when he used the letters for an
extended purpose.

He says: It both 1. "is composed of letters taken from the names...", 2 "It
means the land of the Paks- the spiritually pure and clean."

I have no reason to doubt Ben's understanding, better than mine I guarantee,
of the source of "Avestan." However, if I could be directed more
specifically to the evidence under *sta, it would help. My AHD of IE Roots
is the slim volume copyrighted in 1985.

Carl Jeffrey Weber

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