July 19, 2010

Part 2 of Baverse/Bewars - A complete History and Etymology

Satwik Continues...

Actor Ravi Teja from the movie Venky
where he plays a character that is often
looked  upon as a  personification of the
word bewars in Telugu pop-culture!
A lot of you have followed the part 1 of this article with great zest and enthusiasm. I should thank you for that. The response from Telugu people in the form of comments however, has been only average which reinforces my belief that Telugu people are too “bewars” to even care about it :p

In the previous article, however funny it might be, we were forced to rule out the possibility of bewars having an English origin. We were sort of lost in the wilderness for a short while after that but then, my aforementioned cousin g2 found some interesting evidence of the word having an Urdu origin in the Telugu Wikipedia in an article named “List of Urdu words adopted into the Telugu language.

Urdu or Kannada?

Among a number of Telugu words that were adopted from Urdu is a word బేవారసుBevaarasu”. None of us had a Telugu dictionary that enabled us learn the meaning of this word. Upon further read-through, I found that the word Bewarsi was Kannada for Bastard along with the word Boli Maga. I intimated this information to my cousin without delay.

My cousin g2, a more conscientious person no doubt, was at this point continuing his search. He replied informing me that in some parts of Andhra, the word in use was indeed bewarsi! The reader would do well to know that Andhra and Karnataka have shared very close ties since the time of the Vijayanagar Dynasty’s rule from the early 15th century AD. My shrewd readers would have obviously observed that this development indicated the fallibility of Wikipedia since it had indicated that the word’s origins lay in Urdu and this proof of Kannada origin! This is a huge blow for Wiki-worshippers like me!

No Wiki No Wiki No!

Blasphemy! How can wiki be wrong? I was thinking to myself. Slowly, I came out of denial to find everything I believed in crashing down in a matter of minutes just because one stupid word! I started to hate the word bewars, my new job, everything around me, my life and my very existence. I was like a dumb American kid who just realized Santa does not exist! I was contemplating suicide but I decided to check my mail one last time before taking the extreme step and there was mail from g2 which, I hate to admit, saved my life.

The mail read as follows:

The Mail

Dear esteemed cousin,
Congratulations on finding the Kannada root for our dear Telugu word, Bewars. Although the Kannada root essentially answers all the sneaking doubts we have had over the last two days, I must tell you, I was not convinced about it. With the limited evidence we have, we cannot rule out the possibility of that both Kannada and Telugu words have a common Urdu origin because a significant part of Karnataka was under the Nizam’s influence too.
My friend, Sharjeel Imam.
(A pipe would have looked
more intellectual but we'll
settle for a Cuban :p)
So I could not help but cogitate at one level further. And I am happy to announce that I have satisfactorily and rightfully arrived at the complete etymology of the word and for this I must thank my esteemed friend, Mr. Sharjeel Imam who patiently guided me with his thorough knowledge of Urdu, Persian and Arabic languages even though it is of little personal interest to him.
I am outlining the complete etymology that I have arrived at through the series of steps.
1. Waaris in both Arabic and Persian means the rightful heir of property. (The Telugu word “varasudu” also came from the same Arabic root!)
2. A word in Arabic can be negated by adding the prefix La-
3. So, Lawaaris in Arabic would mean one who does not have a rightful heir i.e. stray. A lawaaris kid would mean "a bastard". It is interesting to note that lawaaris in Hindi means bastard! (an indication that we are on the right track)
4. In Persian, a root word can be negated by adding the prefix be- (examples bebas, bekaar etc.)
5. So in Persian, a word for bastard would be Bewaaris (which is also an Urdu word for bastard).
6. So the Urdu word Bewaaris became bevarsi in Kannada and bewars in Telugu.
7. So technically the word bewars in Telugu means bastard!
Thus I presenting my findings marking the end of an excellent and fruitful journey. It has been an honor researching with you. I hope to be a part of more such wonderful endeavors.
Your brilliant friend and cousin,
Jayanth Tadinada alias g2 (of gtoosphere fame)

We had assumed that the word, due to its regional popularity and brilliant sonic capabilities had its origins in Urdu. And Lo! That is the answer! Wikipedia was right… Our faith is restored! Dear God, please thank g2 on my behalf for he saved my life – yet again!


My friends, thus with great enthusiasm, I thus announce the etymological roots of Bewars! It has been a short and arduous journey, but a fruitful one nonetheless! This brilliant word, my dear readers, offers another mystery. While most words borrowed from other languages are subject to hyper standardization; for instance, In German, the word ‘uber’ means super, but in English we use it as a superlative to ‘super’; The word Bewars upon entry into Telugu has been subject to a slight sobriety that has undermined its offensive nature rendering itself to the wonderful and varied usage that we see around ourselves today! (Or in other words, it is very PG-13 unlike the Urdu word it comes from!)

I shall sign off in the words of the inimitable Arthur Conan Doyle, as spoken by Sherlock Holmes, no less: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

Satwik Gade

P.S: Fellow Telugu people, now that you know the etymology of this historical word; it is your moral duty to Share, tweet, re-share, re-tweet until every Telugu person on the face of this planet knows!

P.P.S: @Satwik, you asked me to "feel free" to edit the post. So technically it's your fault that you're suicidal :p -- g2

Note: We urge our Telugu readers to suggest more such intriguing words so we can find out their etymologies in a similar fashion :)


  1. The post and the idea itself is bewars. Did I get the meaning and usage right?

  2. cool stuff man..
    how about "nee tassa deeya"?

  3. n 1 more thing i wonder is y the gals in telugu item songs r named "rathalu". almost everytime. who is "rathalu"? is she some1 like "marlyn monroe" of our gult-land?


don't be lazy