Insight into your surname with Kaevan Umrigar


June 12, 2024

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Filmmaker Kaevan Umrigar has a humorous take on Parsi surnames

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Kaevan Umrigar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Kaevan Umrigar is a Mumbai-based writer and documentary filmmaker. He is also a surname analyst i.e.; he researches Parsi surnames to trace their historical background including where their families came from, their great-grandparents, occupations and so on. He regularly gives presentations and talks at various community gatherings in Mumbai and Pune. Presently, Kaevan is in Hyderabad to talk on ‘Quirky Chronicles of Parsi Surnames’, at the invitation of the Parsi community, at the Sports Complex of the Zoroastrian Club, Secunderabad on June 9.

Kaevan had always been fascinated with surnames. He says, “Not just Parsi surnames. I was fascinated by the idea of surnames. Usually, people ask what is the meaning of one’s name. I would quietly wonder what that person’s surname meant.”

He turned his fascination into a personal research project and quietly learnt about the interesting facts about one’s surnames. “Surnames provide a lot of insight into community history. It tells us about our forefathers, heritage and whatnot. It also helps us identify where we migrated from. For example, it tells us about its social structure, network and occupation, “”

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Surname talk and the crowd with Kaevan

Kaevan may have a light-hearted take on surnames, but he doesn’t make jokes about any surname. “If one wants they can take it on the right stride and laugh about it. Making jokes with surnames is however not the idea. My project turned into a subject of a talk for students during COVID-19. To my surprise, several people approached me to get a little history of their surnames. That gave me the scope to learn beyond Parsi surnames,” says Kaevan.

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