From ‘Nimbooie’ to ‘Jataun’, Indian butterflies get Hindi identities - Hindustan Times
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From ‘Nimbooie’ to ‘Jataun’, Indian butterflies get Hindi identities

Mar 14, 2024 01:33 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh hosts over 200 butterfly species, but all of them had names given by the British, just as the others found in India. This is the first time that names have been given in Hindi after research.

LUCKNOW: For most people, a butterfly is just a pretty creature flitting about in their gardens, for they are unaware of its scientific or English name. But those who recognise them by specie, like the Lime Swallowtail butterfly for example, and want to post its picture in social media with its name, will now have an option in Hindi too -- “Nimbooie.”

Butterflies are recognised as environmental indicators for their rapid and sensitive responses to subtle habitat or climatic changes. (Pic for representation)
Butterflies are recognised as environmental indicators for their rapid and sensitive responses to subtle habitat or climatic changes. (Pic for representation)

The name comes from the first pan-India initiative by a network of scientific experts, naturalists, lepidopterists and language experts involved in conservation of butterflies. Hindi names have been given to over 200 butterfly species out of 1400 found in India and the share of Uttar Pradesh (in Hindi) is 30% in the list.

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“Uttar Pradesh hosts over 200 butterfly species, but all of them had names given by the British, just as the others found in India. This is the first time that names have been given in Hindi after research ,” said Rupak De, former head of the forest force, Uttar Pradesh, and researcher on butterflies. He is part of the ‘Rashtriya Titli Namkaran Sabha‘ that has listed Hindi names for butterflies.

It took the team six months to coin names in Hindi, considering the English and scientific names, morphological features, behaviour and distribution of common Indian butterflies . Special efforts were made to coin names that are easy to pronounce and remember, to get people connected with these beautiful creatures . Translation of English names was strictly avoided.

Birdwings will have a Hindi name Jataun, based on its massive size, like that of the vulture king Jatayu of Ramayana. Birdwings are the largest Indian butterflies in terms of body weight. Coladenia Pied Flats has been named Parbhasi Pratal where parbhasi means semi-transparent, referring to the large semi-transparent spots on the wings of these butterflies. Bluebottles and Jays have been given the Hindi name Tikoni based on triangular wing shape of these butterflies.

Spot Swordtail has a Hindi name Chittidar Shamsheer. Common Jay can also be called as Chittidar Tikoni and Brown Awl becomes Bhoori Suwa in Hindi. These names will officially be dedicated to the butterflies on March 14.

Experts considered morphological features of species, flight and other behaviours , larval host plants on which caterpillars of specific species/groups of species feed and cultural and mythological references from India’s deep literary heritage. Only in a few cases English names were retained if they provided an interesting context.

Butterflies are recognised as environmental indicators for their rapid and sensitive responses to subtle habitat or climatic changes. Their presence indicates rich biodiversity. India hosts more than 1,400 species of butterflies . These butterflies include the Golden Birdwing with a wingspan of more than 150 millimetres, as well as the Grass Jewel that is smaller than a fingernail.

These short-living creatures play a special role in ecosystems and interactions with plants and other insects/organisms, such as in pollination and food-webs. The Lime butterfly lays eggs on lime plants only. So the name is derived from its behaviour.

“Earlier, efforts have been made to coin names in Marathi and Malayalam. Hindi names were much awaited,” said De.

“In the second phase, we will cover the remaining species that occur in the Hindi-speaking belt. The third phase will consist of names of all the remaining butterflies in the country. In parallel, efforts are under way to coin names in other regional languages,” said De.

The experts include Divakar Thombre (Mumbai), Anand Pendharkar (Pune), Manish Kumar (Jharkahnd), Dhara Thakkar (Bhopal), Ratindra Pandey (departmentof tourism), Rupak De and Krushnamegh Kunte (NCBS, Bengaluru). The compilation will be shared with the public at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), a research institute based in Bengaluru that uses experimental and computational approaches in the study of molecules, cells and organisms and conducts natural research.

“Once launched, this compilation will be circulated across India to be used for future references, research work and documentation,” said De.

Hindi names of some butterfly species

English name----------------------Hindi name

Coladenia Pied Flats--------------Parbhasi Pratal

Redeyes-----------------------------Manik

Dartlets-----------------------------Ladli

Grey-veined Grass Dart----------Shiradhari Ghasiyara

Dark Palm-Dart--------------------Narangi Baans-Shr

Pale Palm-Dart---------------------Pitee Baans-Shr

Bluebottles-------------------------Tikoni

Common Banded Peacock-------Dakkhin Mayuri

Vindhyan Bob---------------------Vindhya Mallica

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