What is in a name..

                                        Juggernaut

The word juggernaut means an overwhelming metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable that will crush all on its path.

Its etymology is interesting. The festival of rath yathra celebrated annually at Puri, Odisha in India is renowned. It has been celebrated since ancient times, and is believed to be the oldest religious celebration in the world. The word juggernaut implies an institution that incites destructive devotion or to which people are fanatically associated ignoring their safety.This word refers also to a large cumbersome truck or lorry.

Etymologically, this word traces its origin to the Hindi word Jagannath one of the titles of god Vishnu. On the rath yathra day, the idol of the deity Jagannath and also the idols of Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudharsana are brought on charriots throgh the streets of Puri.The moment the chariots are pulled out of the temple onto to the street, a mammoth crowd swelling to more than a million turns delirious and shouts the name of the lord Jagannath with unparalleled devotion. Jostling, pandemonium and chaos result among the devotees gathered at the temple. During the Indian pre-indepence period,the British officers on duty at the temple were puzzled to understand the inscrutable behaviour of the crowd . Consequently, they used the word juggernaut , a distorted pronunciation of Jagannath. The word was popularised during the British era ; it was then included in English vocabulary as juggernaut.Subsequently, this word was added officially to Oxford English Dictionary.

R.Gopalan

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