For 40 years or more I have been writing up name etymologies gratis. Recently a friend was talking about the spelling of the city's name, and searching the Internet, I found your site.
See the attached.
I would recommend that you use my work by replacing what you have on your site http://dhakadailyphoto.blogspot.com/2011/05/derivation-of-name-of-dhaka.html because I have edited it for better English and spelling and punctuation. I hope you like it, and I appreciate your labors in finding this material! The first part is a shortened form; the latter is your work. Send this to anyone you wish.
Carl Masthay, retired medical editor, linguist, and Algonquianist, , cmasthay@juno. com
Dhaka: a combined etymology
Dhaka, formerly spelled Dacca up to 1983, in Bangladesh, is a place name of obscure origin with many sources and interpretations. It was Bengali Dehaka Iserry from its ‘concealed (covered, veiled)’ situation by vegetation that got cleared away by one Ballal Sen to build a temple in honor of the goddess Durga. This all is probably a fabrication. This name was converted to ‘concealed goddess’, Dhakeshwari (Bengali ঢাকেশ্বরী Ðhâkeshshori) and then as if a Hindu ‘goddess of Dhaka’, with her primary temple so called. The goddess Dhakeshwari was said to enjoy the music of the ‘drum’ dhâk, said by some as being in the hand but by others as being a ‘big drum’. However, others insisted that Hindi dhâk was the name of a shrub or tree (Butea frondosa of the family Legumaceae) that produces a yellow dye, and others insisted that it was from the Sanskrit word dhakkya, or dhakka, meaning ‘observation tower, watch-station’ in Kalhana’s Râjtaranginî [‘stream of kings’] (but that word does not appear in the great Sanskrit dictionary by Sir Monier Monier-Williams and so is probably Prakrit). There is a Prakrit dialect called Dhâka bhâsa (‘Dhaka language’). One source provides that “in the fourth century bc when Guptas ruled the country, Dhaka was known as Devaka, or Davaka, but probably not from the 1460 Dahaka.
In the words of Sayyid Aulâd Hasan: “Tradition, however refers the etymology of Dhaka to dhâk, the Bengali for a big drum. The constant aggression of the Afghans and the Mug[hal]s from the east necessitated removal of the seat of government from Râjmahall to some place near the eastern frontier of the Nizâmat (‘administration’), Shaikh Alâudîn Islâm Khân, the Mughal governor of the province, came out in 1608 in a state barge accompanied by a fleet of boats, in search of his future capital. The place he landed is still called Islâmpur. He commanded three of his attendants to go, one to the east, another to the west, and a third to the north, each with a flagstaff, and plant it at the place where the sound of drums would cease to be audible. With this being done, he called the place Dhaka from dhâk, a drum, and ordered boundary pillars to be erected at the places.”
From 1582 to1605. It refers to a thana and a thanadar as the first stage of the growth of a town Dhaka or in the Dhaka-baju pargana [group of towns] of Sarkar Bazuha. A thana meant for offense and defense contained a garrison for several hundred soldiers.
Combined by Carl Masthay, 24 August 2011, from the long compilation by Ershad Ahmed, email@example.com, 20 May 2011
By Ershad Ahmed, firstname.lastname@example.org, May 20, 2011
On the derivation of name ‘DHAKA’ - the capital of Bangladesh, the observations made by historians/scholars are given below:
1. Dr. James Taylor, C.S. 1840. “Dhaka” in his book A sketch of the Topography and Statistics of Dacca, reprinted by the Asiatic Society of Bagladesh, ISBN 978-984-33-1646-2, page 47):
a. "Bollalsen is supposed by all classes of the Hindoos here to have been the son of the Berhampooter (Brahmputra), in the guise of a Brahmin, by one of Adisur’s wives, and to have been born and brought up in a jungle to the north of Boorigonga, whither his mother had been banished by Adisur. Tradition further asserts that in gratitude for the protection he received from Doorga (Durga) in this situation, he or Adisur, by whom he was subsequently adopted, built a temple to the goddess, whose idol Bollalsen had discovered in the jungle. This place, from its concealed situation, was called Dehaka Iserry, but the jungle being cleared away, a town sprung up, which received the name of Dehaka, or Dacca.”
2. Francis Bradley Bradley-Birt. 1906. The Romance of an Eastern Capital, published in London:
Ballal Sen, round whose name gather almost all the traditions that still linger, so great was his repute that many things, of which in later date the origin was unknown, seem to have been attributed to him on the universal principle of “to him that hath shall be given.” Such confusion has this wrought that events centuries apart are placed by tradition as happening within his reign. It seems evident that there must have been two Ballal Sens, one the son of Adisur, and the other the last of the Sena kings, but such is the maze of rumour and tradition that surrounds their names that to disentangle their life stories is well nigh impossible at the present day. The object of so much veneration it is not strange to ascribe to the first Ballal Sen or that the miracle should be attributed to the great river the Brahmaputra, which has so indelibly impressed its influence for all time upon this land and people (p. 28). One day while still a youth and roaming in the forest he found, hidden in jungle of Durga, his protectress, and on the spot, in her honour he raised the temple of Dhaka Iswari, the concealed goddess, from which tradition says the city of Dacca to have its name in the after-days.
The present temple is only two hundred years old and said to have been built by a Hindu agent in the employ of the East India Company.
3. S.M. Taifoor. 1952. Glimpses of Dhaka.
a. A temple said to have been constructed by Raja Ballal Sen, son of Raja Bijoy Sen of Bikrampur, that in the course of time having been ruined was covered up by a kind of stray plant called “Dhak” (Butea frondosa); hence it began to be called Dhakeswari temples (i.e., temple of the goddess Dhak).
b. Dhaka derived its name from the Sanskrit word “Dhakkya” meaning ‘observation tower’.
c. In the fourth century bc when the Guptas ruled this country, Dhaka was known as Devaka.
d. There are a few other place names of Dhaka in Uttar Pradesh and northern India, all of which existed from pre-Muslim times.
4. A.H. Dani. 1962. Dacca—a record of Its Changing Fortunes:
a. The origin of the city of Dhaka is shrouded in mystery; various suggestions are given to explain the derivation.
b. According to the most popular opinion, the word Dhaka, or Dacca, is derived from dhak, the name of a tree Butea frondosa, which is plentiful here.
c. Dr. James Taylor's note (mentioned above): This tradition is hardly believable; in general the name of a patron deity derives from that city, and not vice-versa.
d. The third opinion is given in the words of Sayyid Aulâd Hasan: “Tradition, however refers the etymology of Dhaka to dhak, the Bengali for a big drum. The constant aggression of the Afghans and the Mugs from east necessitated removal of the seat of Govt from Rajmahal to some place near the eastern frontier of the Nizâmat, Shaikh Alauddin Islam Khan, the Mughal governor of the province, came out in 1608 in a state barge accompanied by a fleet of boats, in search of his future capital. The place he landed is still called Islampur. He commanded three of his attendants to go, one to the east, another to the west, and a third to the north, each with a flagstaff, and plant it at the place where the sound of drums would cease to be audible. This being done, he called the place Dhaka from dhak, a drum, and ordered boundary pillars to be erected at the places.”
e. Dr. N.K. Bhattasali (Curator, Dacca Museum from 1914) observes: "These popular stories hardly deserves credence. I have no hesitation in rejecting the well-known and fantastic story of the drum (dhak) as well as the story of the name of town after the hidden goddess (Dhakeswari) of Ballal Sen discovered by Man-Sinha during his stay in these regions. Anyone who has any acquaintance with images and who has carefully observed the image of Dhakeswari will unhesitatingly declare that it can by no means be of the time of Ballala Sena.”
f. Dr. D.C.Sircar has suggested that Dacca is probably equivalent to that name in the fourth century bc when the Guptas ruled this country, when Dhaka was known as Devaka.
g. The name Dhaka is not traceable in the historical records of the ancient period. Even the name Buriganga is not seen in earlier accounts.
5. Prof Abdul Karim. 1964. Dhaka—The Mughal Capital, ISBN-948-553-013-3:
a. The origin of the name of Dacca has been the subject of great speculation among scholars. According to one tradition, Dhaka has been named after the dhak tree (Butea Frondosa), which was supposed to be plentifully available here.
b. The name was derived from the fact of the Hindu Goddess Durga being concealed therein.
c. Islam Khan, while establishing the capital, caused the drums (dhak means drum) to be beaten from the central place and fixed the boundary in the capital at the last limit from where the sound of the drum could be heard.
d. Some modern writers have tried to rationalize the origin of the name by deriving it from “dhakka” or watch station, used in Kalhana’s Rajtarangini, because it was in the low-lying Eastern Bengal. These writers have found additional support for their contention in the name of a “Prakrit” dialect called “Dhakka Bhasha.”
6. BANGLAPEDIA (National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh):
a. The origin of the name of Dhaka is obscure. Suggestions put forward about the origin of the name are derived from the Dhak tree (Butea frondosa), which was once found in the place in abundance;
b. The Hindu Goddess Durga, found concealed (dhaka-ishwari or concealed goddess) in the place;
c. The dhak, or drum, beaten by order of Islam Khan while inaugurating the capital;
d. A Prakrt dialect called Dhaka Bhasa;
e. “Dhakka” used in the Rajtarangini for a watch-station; or it is the same as Davaka, mentioned in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudra Gupta as an eastern frontier kingdom.
The origin of the name of the city is shrouded in mystery. Various suggestions are given by scholars to explain the derivation of the name “Dhaka.” The earliest reference to a place named Dahaka was found in an inscription of Sultan Rukunuddin Barbak Shah dated 1460 and discovered from Birbhum district (W. Bengal, India), but it is doubtful whether that place may be identified with modern Dhaka.
The pre-Mughal relics are two mosques at Dhaka proper and one at Mirpur; the earliest one is dated from 1456 ad. Joao De Barros found Dhaka prominent enough to be inserted in his map drawn circa 1550. Mughal emperor Akbar’s court historian Abul Fazal who authored Ain-i-Akbari, which contained Todar Mall’s revenue settlement of Bengal of 1582 refers to “Dhaka-baju” as a pargana of Sarkar Bazukha of Bengal. The reference to Dhaka as a place of importance is found in Akbarnama in connection with the war operations against the independent bhuiyans (chiefs) of Bhati (lower Bengal) from 1583 to 1605. It refers to a thana and a thanadar as the first stage of the growth of a town Dhaka or in the Dhaka-baju pargana of Sarkar Bazuha. A thana meant for offense and defense contained a garrison for several hundred soldiers.
Before Islam Khan Chisti sailed the river in search of his new capital the location. Dhaka was situated in Bhati the low-lying river-grit near the rebel-held areas. Islam Khan found it a suitable place for a capital in his plan of establishing Mughal authority in Bengal near Sonargaon, capital of Shahi Sultanate and Afghan rulers. Dhaka acquired glory and prominence only after transfer of the capital of Bengal by Subahdar Islam Khan Chisty in 1610. Once made the capital of province, Dhaka was destined to grow; it served both as the administrative and commercial centre of the country.
From a contemporary description of Mirza Nathan in Baharistan-i-Ghayebi it seems evident that the extent of Dhaka city during Islam Khan's time was extended from Chawkbazar in the west to Sadarghat in the east. The western and northern area may be populated only as a result of the incursion of Mughal establishment as the capital of province. The name of the settlement was given by Islam Khan as “Jahangirnagar.”
Foreign travelers Sébastien Manrique came to Dhaka in 1640, thirty years after the establishment of the capital, manucci came in 1663 and Tavernier three years later (1666). According to them there was a rapid expansion of Dhaka during these years. Thomas Bowrey (1669-1670), saw the city of Dhaka as spacious, no less than forty English miles in circuit, but it stood on low marshy ground.
The literal meaning of the name Dhaka is ‘covered/veiled/concealed’ in Bengali, but the most popular opinion of the scholars, however, is the name Dhaka, or Dacca, derives from the dhak tree (Butea frondosa), which was plentiful here.
Contemporary records show that Dhaka was spelt as “Dacca” and “Dhaka.” By the mid-nineteenth century the spelling was standardized as the anglicized city name “Dacca.” The name was officially made Dhaka in 1983, and since then the anglicized form “Dacca” went totally out of use.