Saindhavi – A Classical Musical Mode and my New Pen Name

Indian Classical Music Singing (See original image here)

I am sick of convincing the publishing industry that I’m not someone else! This comes of having such a common name that one could find a dime a dozen Archana Vermas. All these years I have adjusted myself to the situation of being surrounded by a dozen Archanas wherever I went and constantly being mistaken for someone else.

I remember being woken up in the middle of the night in the university to be told that my father was waiting for me at the hostel gate, only going down to find that this was a visitor for another Archana.

I get frequent mails from friends of other Archanas, who mistake me for their friends. It’s interesting that I have one of the commonest names in India, while my sister, Varuna has one of the most uncommon!

Well, it had been quite ok for me all these years, but having such a common name is obviously not a good idea for someone who has ambitions to publish books. I guess my parents didn’t foresee this. I have discovered this to my distress that having a common name not only makes one get identified with lots of other authors having the same name, but it can also seriously threaten the authorship of one’s publications. Now, my publications are being associated with other Archana Vermas and I have had a tough time telling the publishing and book marketing industry that I am a different person from someone else, who has the same name as I do. All this while my publishers have been nice enough and have borne it with me, but I can’t keep on having these discussions all my life.

Well, I have had enough. I have decided that henceforth, I’m going to write books not as Archana Verma, but as Saindhavi Verma. In my official documents and to my friends and relatives, I remain Archana Verma.

Indus Valley, India (See original image here)

Those who would like to know, Saindhavi is the name of a Ragini (Musical mode) in Indian classical music system. Please see its description here. the term “Saindhavi” means belonging to the Indus (called Sindhu in Indian languages) region. Hence, a Ragini that came from the Indus Valley is Saindhavi.

Etymologically, it means a woman from the Indus Valley. By extension, it can also mean an Indian woman, because the term India (or Hind) itself comes from Indus or Sindhu. The “S” becomes “H” in Arabic and Persian. Thus, Arabs and Persians began to call  Sindhu as Hind and by extension, the land lying around and beyond Indus as also Hind. Indus and India are the European derivations from Hind. Thus, Arab/Persian rendition of the term “Saindhavi” would be “Hindavi” i.e., “an Indian.” In today’s context, Saindhavi can also mean a woman from Sindh, though I am not associated with Sindh.

Taking another view, “Sindhu” means a large body of water, or the sea (hence, this name was applied to a large river like the Indus). Thus, “Saindhavi” can also mean a woman from the sea-shore. I particularly like the relatively calmer Arabian Sea, which makes the beaches on the western coastline of India so very enjoyable, as compared to the more violent Bay of Bengal. This is not to say that the beaches on the eastern coastline are not enjoyable, but one has to be more careful while going to the eastern coast. Metaphorically thus, Saindhavi can also mean “Mermaid.”

I must add here that Saindhava horses ie, horses from Sindh are mentioned in Sanskrit literature as valuable.

I prefer to take the musical connotation of it, rather than regional one.

I tried to find the Saindhavi raga renditions in MP3, but was not able to do so. However, I did find this page of Tyagaraja the great musician from Andhra Pradesh.

Please listen and enjoy by clicking on this page here.

The link to the Indus Valley image above also has some musical tracts. You may enjoy them as well.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Saindhavi – A Classical Musical Mode and my New Pen Name”
  1. manchitra says:

    Archana, so much about your name. I think you can a write a book on that itself. I mean the name Archana. My niece is also Archana. Saindhavi is a good choice. You can search Sindhu baihravi that is what it is called in S. India. There are many songs in that Raga. Even our Mile…….sur mera tumara… I think is of that ( not pretty sure)

    I was busy with my launch of the jewellery art Thanks for appreciating and for suggestions about advertisements. I shall check about that and if required ,can I get in touch if have any doubts?.

  2. Archana says:

    Hi Chitra,
    Thanks for your comment. I didn’t know Mile sur… is from Sindhu Bhairavi – you know so much about so many things! Later, I did get some videos on You Tube of the Saindhavi Raga, but WordPress doesn’t allow video upload. I’ll look for Sindhu Bhairavi.

    Now, I have been advised by some of my colleagues that changing my name may not be a good idea, as it may affect me adversely in the academic world. So, perhaps Saindhavi Archana Verma would be a better idea. That too only if the publisher gives a letter saying Saindhavi Archana Verma and Archana Verma are the same people.

    Well, like the Goddess, I’ll have a thousand names! 8)

    I also came to know that Saindhavi is a famous and very young classical singer in Tamil Nadu. But she doesn’t use Archana Verma with her name and so far I haven’t come across another Saindhavi, so I hope things will sort out well.

    I hope your niece has a not so common surname – just in case she wants to write books some day! 🙂

    Of course, you can ask me about advertising. I just opened my accounts online, though I have nothing to sell! I just wanted to learn how to do it. 8)

    • manchitra says:

      Thanks Archana, My niece is singer both Carnatic and of devotional bhajans. I have learnt veena for a few years though I am not a master of it yet. I had to discontinue since I left Chenai where we have lot of opportunities to practice , learn perform etc.

      My niece is Rao and is not into any serious writing.

      Hope your name problem gets sorted out soon.all the best.

  3. Good , normally names are given by parents but it is fair that one should have a choice to get a name as per personal liking.

  4. Archana says:

    Vijayji,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Actually, my parents didn’t name me. Till I went to school for the first time, I had an assortment of nicknames, but no “official” name. So, while enrolling me at school, my Principal chose the most common name she used to come across while enrolling girls!
    I have never resented this, it’s just that I don’ like my books being identified with another author. But if I become well-known with Archana, I may not change it.

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