Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at uchicago.edu
Wed May 22 22:30:23 UTC 2013

Is there really such a generalized "Hindu custom"? My impression is that in many regions other
familial relations are often used as terms of address to women who are not relatives:
(older or younger) sister, aunt, even, in some contexts, daughter. And sometimes mother
seems to be used to address women who are in fact mothers. Might the usage in this case not
stem from the shortening of formulae meaning "mother of so and so"? But see too what MW says sub "ambā".

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago


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