Excerpts from Roma by WR Rishi
ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD "ROM"
The significations of the names mentioned in the previous pages will help us trace the etymology of the word Rom". Paspati thinks that the word "Rom" is derived from Rama. From the Sanskrit root ram (ramate, rama) (Vedic also ramati or ramnati) rama, ramna are formed.
Rama in Sanskrit has the following meanings:
* One who pervades and operates all:
* One who roams about. 'Ramta Ram' in Panjabi is one who roams about. In Sanskrit the word virama means to stop: viramati (he takes rest) and if you remove the prefix vi, rama should have the opposite meanings 'non-stop, moving'
* Dark-coloured: In the Vedas the word 'rama' has been used in the sense of black and not as a proper noun.
* Husband ' which is the same as in the Romani language.
* Pleasing, delighting, charming (in Sankrit ramana is masculine and ramapi feminine and in Romani language the feminine is also romni (meaning 'wife'). Because of their oriental features and the wheatish colour of their skin, the Roma are considered beautiful and charming.
* One who pleases or delights others. Roma of Europe do please others and delight others by their exellent music and dances.
Now we will discuss how the word 'rama' has become 'roma' i.e. how a after r has become o.
In VIII-4.68 of Astadhydyi of Panini it is mentioned that "the a which was considered to be open (vivrt) in all the preceding operations of this grammer is now made contracted (samvrt).
Further Sanskrit and Avestan a < e in other Indo-Germanic launguages e.g. bharami, Greek phero, Latin fero.
Sanskrit and Avestan a < ) in other Indo-European languages except Germanic bra..h e.g. Skt. astau, Latin octo, Greek okhto.
The Indo-Aryan a is so represented by an a in other languages of the family e . Skt. asman, Greek akman, Avestan asman.
Indo-European a, e, o < a in Sanskrit or Avestan. Sanskrit'd
Sanskrit a < o in Western Indo-European languages e.g. Skt. dva, Greek duo, Latin duo.
Sanskrit a < a, in Greek, Latin and other Western IndoEuropean languages e.g. Skt. bhratar, Greek phrater, Latin frater.
The original a, e, and o merge into single a in Sanskrit and a, e, and o merge into single a. Now the change seems to be in the reverse direction i.e. in place of a in Sanskrit, we can hear o in Bengali e.g. ravi is spoken as robi. Similarly ram will be pronounced as rom.
In Trinidad the people of Indian origin from the Eastern Districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar pronounce 'ram' as 'rom' as in the word sitaram the word ram is pronounced as rom.
In the Prakrit Lexicon Paia Saddamahannavo the meaning of rama are given as under (authority Aupatika Sutra);
* Parivrajaka i.e. wanderer.
* Ksatriya Parivrajaka. Rama, the son of king Dasharatha, has been given this name because Rama who belonged to the royal kstriya (warrior) class was also a wanderer. He roamed about in the forests while in exile for fourteen years.
* Abhidhana Rajendra Kosha (Vol. VI) says that Rama acquired the meaning of wanderer because the Jain sources held him to be the wanderer in his previous and future lives.