My article ‘The controversial story of Bengalee Brahmins’ is introductory part of the Bengalee Brahmins history. How they came in Bengal and spread from Rarh bhumi to Barendra Bhumi is described in that article. Here I will try to clarify the origin of few surnames belongs to them. Before going to that topic I must tell you something about the policy of king Ballalsen and Laxmansen about the allocation of Brahmin’s titles according to their professions and promotions.
The Brahmins who were appointed as pandits (teachers) in toles (schools) were awarded the title ‘Upadhaya’. The Brahmins who were appointed as priesthad got the title ‘Acharya’. In Bengali it is called Acharjee also.
The name of the villages which were given to the Brahmins is available in the book ‘Sambandha Nirnoi’. I will indicate here few village names those are connected with the popular surnames. The remarkable names are Mukh, Bondo, Chatto, Bhatto, Gango etc. Initially the Brahmins would use the name of their village as surname for the identity. Those who got the title of ‘Upadhaya’, they added it immediately with their village name. The Brahmin of Mukh village modified his surname as Mukh + Upadhaya = ‘Mukhopadhaya’. The Brahmins of Bondo village wrote Bondo + Upadhaya = ‘Bandopadhaya’. Like this Gango turned to ‘Gongopadhaya’ and Chatto wrote his surname as ‘Chattopadhaya’. Someone those who got the title Acharya / Acharjee, they became Mukherjee, Banerjee, Chatterjee and so on. The Brahmin of Bhatto villagewrote Bhattacharya or Bhattacherjee.
In so many states of India ‘Upadhaya’ is available but Mukopadhaya, bandopadhaya, Chottopadhaya is available in Bengal only. Acharya may be found at all the corners of country but Bhattacharya exists in Bengal only. Many Brahmins had received titles Choudhary, Sarkar, Bhandari, Khan etc. from Badsha (Emperor), Nawab, British and Raja (King). Majority has accepted those titles and left their original surname received from their ancestral. Situations converted Bengalee Brahmins surname to Sarkar, Choudhury, Bhandari, Khan, Roy and many others. Someone received double titles also. They use the both such as Roy Choudhuri, Roy Chatterjee etc.
The British has changed the pronunciation of above surnames. But above surnames are commonly found. Only Gongopadhaya has shortened to Ganguly. The original surname such as bondo, Chatto, Bhatto and Gango is rarely found. Mukh is still available as Mukhuti and Chatto is found as chatuti. But Bahtto has not been changed till to date.
At present no one can identify the Bengalee Brahmis hundred percent from their surnames. But they can be identified by gotras. Surnames have been changed time to time in different situations. But Bengali Brahmins still have only five goutras which are in its original form as it was at the time of King ‘Adisur’.