INDOLOGY FAQ. Re. Varanasi

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Wed Feb 17 16:44:34 UTC 2010

"And then there was the apparently universal habit among news 
commentators of speaking of "Ra-ZHeev" Gandhi. My theory is that the zh 
for j was borrowed from French ("jeune"), and sounded nice and exotic, 
while plain old j didn't have that same satisfying ring."

The same is fairly common in pronouncing "raja" and "maharaja."  Indeed, perhaps the zh sound in "Razheev" is a transfer from these words.


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian
Team Coordinator
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

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