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How to 'do the needful' in India with tashan

world Updated: Aug 14, 2010 20:05 IST

For Western business travellers flummoxed by words like chalaan (fine or tax), tashan (style), and ishq (romance) on a trip to India, help is on hand by way of an updated Indian-English online dictionary.

Los Angeles-based Amritt, Inc., a consulting firm advising businesses in North America and Europe in expanding into Asian markets, is launching a revised and updated version of the popular resource with 64 new words to mark India's 64th Independence Day on August 15.

The entire dictionary which will now be home to over 700 Indian-English words is a complimentary offering available to the public on the Amritt, Inc. website:

Indian words like Ishaq, tashan or challan are not the only words which confound the western aam aadmi (the common man, the average Joe), but there are some English words too with a peculiar usage in India.

For example: annexure (appendix to a document), to do the needful (what needs to be done, "will do the needful"), to revert back (to respond, as in a letter or email), intimate you' ('inform you'), and to pre-pone a meeting (move ahead of schedule).

Many newly added words are about relationships and salutations like: shri (Mr.), sahib (boss/person in power), maa (mother) and alvida (goodbye).

"The Indian-English lexicon is thriving on strong trade and commercial relations between the west and India," said Gunjan Bagla, managing director of Amritt, Inc.

"As American exports to India continue to rise rapidly, we are happy to offer this resource complimentary to professionals and tourists alike," he said.

The dictionary is now the most visited content section of the Amritt, Inc. website, Bagla said.

Over the last year traffic to the dictionary has doubled and average time spent by visitors has gone up by 50 per cent.

Whenever a visitor searches for a word that is not listed, an internal notation is made on the website; if enough people search for a term prevalent in India, it is added during the next update.

This process makes the dictionary a living, contemporary resource.

The Indian-English dictionary highlights the cultural cues picked by United States business people on their travels and phone interactions with the complex textures of India's multicultural society, Bagla said.

"It also reflects how western businesses have come to appreciate the significance of personal relationships to Indian businesspeople."