We have one of those names which defies explanation! Where in the world did the name Jatar come from?
Usually surnames are derived from occupations or places. There is certainly no occupation called Jatar, at least not in any Indian language. But it could possibly mean something in a foreign language. It is possible, as the Jatars did not originate in India. According to our ancient origins we came from somewhere in Eastern Europe or Central Asia and who knows, maybe there was a Jatar sounding occupation around there! A now extinct craft called Jatar?
As we do not know when exactly the name Jatar (or something like it) actually formed, it is difficult to confirm this theory.
About places, there are several places which bear the name Jatar. There is Jatar Deol in West Bengal but there is no Jatar family history which can link us to that temple. So that remains a mystery. There is also a Jatar Mantar in Rajasthan. There is another link to this place here . It is a tourist attraction in a small way, but nothing connects our family to this place. Or at least we have no knowledge of it.
There is a Jatar village in Spain as well as a whole family of Jatars in Spain (probably pronounced with the J silent) but we have no evidence that these Jatars are related to us, or that we have anything to do with the village of Jatar in Spain. If Spanish Jatars do a DNA analysis it will be easy to prove whether they are related to us, but although I did try and contact someone from that family, I did not get a response.
I am sure someone from their family would like to know if they have distant relatives in India. And perhaps they might know if one of their Jatar ancestors had ever migrated to India about a thousand years ago! To get to the crux of it, it’s difficult to find the origin of the name Jatar. Or its meaning.
We do know that the Jathars are distantly related to the Jatars. Apparently, the family branched out a few hundred years ago, according to a priest at our Kuldevata temple in Goa.
Could the origin of the name “Jatar” or “Jathar” (we don’t know which came first) have something to do with matted hair (Jata means matted hair in Maharashtra). Were our ancestors roaming sadhus with matted hair? Not just speculation as Brig. Raghunath Jatar (my uncle) mentions that his uncle Bapurao told him that the family name earlier was Jatadhar (we had a very hairy ancestor?). The name was shortened to Jatar later. Some of the Jatars changed their name later to Jathar. No one is sure of the timelines, but this must be more than a thousand years ago.
Names tend to change over the years. Maybe it was something else entirely. Not just Jatadhar. Thousands of years ago last names were not always written down. Was it really something that sounded like Jatar or was it Zatar or Xatar?
My father Sudhir found the meaning of Jatar and send this to me. It is also a place in Iran!
Jatar (Persian: جتر; also known as Chatar) is a village in Sumay-ye Shomali Rural District, Sumay-ye Beradust District, Urmia County, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 323, in 58 families.
If anyone reading this post has anything add, please do so in the comments!
Written by Nita Jatar Kulkarni