Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s installment of Word of the Day Haiku based on dictionary.com’s word of the day. Today we have an Australian slang word to add to our growing vocabulary of obscure and unusual words…Shivoo. It means “a boisterous party or celebration” and showed up in daily discourse in the 19th century. Very little is known about its etymology (origin), which dictionary says is common for slang words and colloquialisms (by the way a colloquialism is a word that is considered colloquial or conversational, informal, referring to types of speech or to usages not on a formal level. Colloquial is often mistakenly used with a connotation of disapproval, as if it mean “vulgar” or “bad” or “incorrect” usage, whereas it is merely a familiar style used in speaking and writing.)
Of course, if you’ve been following my weekly dive into words…beautiful words… you know that I am seldom content to take one dictionary’s meaning at face value. I like to excavate other references when possible.
It did not take me long to find that Shivoo is also listed in baby name books. Its origin is Gujarati, Hindu, Indian. It means “Devotee of Lord Shiva”. My curiosity was peaked now. What is the meaning of Gujarati, I wondered…or more precisely, as I discovered, Gujarati “people”? Wikipedia answered my question with the click of a mouse:
Gujarati people or Gujaratis (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group of India that traditionally speaks Gujarati, an Indo-Iranian language. Famous Gujaratis include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Morarji Desai, Sam Bahadur, Vikram Sarabhai, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, Freddie Mercury, Azim Premji, Dhirubhai Ambani, Narendra Modi and Jamsetji Tata. Gujaratis are very prominent in industry and key figures played an historic role in the introduction of the doctrine of Swaraj and the decisive victory of the 1947 Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.
…which caused me to wonder about the doctrine of Swaraj. It is attributed to Gandhi. Here in Gandhi’s own words in 1946, the description of his vision:
“Independence begins at the bottom… A society must be built in which every village has to be self sustained and capable of managing its own affairs… It will be trained and prepared to perish in the attempt to defend itself against any onslaught from without… This does not exclude dependence on and willing help from neighbours or from the world. It will be a free and voluntary play of mutual forces… In this structure composed of innumerable villages, there will be ever widening, never ascending circles. Growth will not be a pyramid with the apex sustained by the bottom. But it will be an oceanic circle whose center will be the individual. Therefore the outermost circumference will not wield power to crush the inner circle but will give strength to all within and derive its own strength from it.”
Though Gandhi never realized this utopian model before he was assassinated, there is a reason he inspires us today. In my country we have our own “utopian” dream. It’s called “we the people”, which we too still struggle to realize in its beautiful fullness.
What was our word of the day again? Ah yes, Shivoo, which most dictionaries claim is an Australian slang word for a huge party. I am afraid I got carried away in google-land, but I hope you took away something you could use. As for me? This weekend poet and storyteller hopes for the day when the world reaches its utopian potential for peace, justice, love and compassion where everyone has a voice and everyone matters. Now that will be one amazing cause for a wild shivoo!
One more little tidbit I’d like to share with you in parting… just in case you think it slipped my attention. Did you happen to notice that Freddie Mercury is listed in the middle of the names of famous Gujaratis? I’ll give you a second to track back to the that section above. I’m not making it up! 🙂 I am suddenly transported into a rousing chorus of “We are the champions…”
And I’ll not apologize if you too are now stricken with this rousing earworm. I am a carrier of such things! 🙂
Peace my friends. ❤
Shivoo – the Haiku
Let the dreamers dream
utopia is a place
it’s one wild shivoo!
~kat – 27 January 2017