Baba (Persian and Urdu: بابا "father, grandfather, wise old man, sir"; Turkish: baba; Hindi and Marathi: बाबा; Assamese and Bengali: বাবা; Sylheti: ꠛꠣꠛꠣ; Punjabi: ਬਾਬਾ (Gurmukhi)) is an honorific term, of Persian origin, used in several West Asian and South Asian cultures. It may be compared with the common Greek-originated European word papa, which also means "father" but is used as an honorific specially for priests and bishops (also origin of the word "pope").
It is used as a mark of respect to refer to Hindu and Sikh ascetics (sannyasis) and is used as a suffix or prefix to their names, e.g. Sai Baba, Baba Ramdevji, etc. Baba is also a title accorded to the head of certain order of Sufi monks, as in Baba Bulleh Shah and Rehman Baba. The term was also adopted in Malaysia as an honorific of respect to address Chinese people born in British Straits Settlement.
- Platts, John T. (John Thompson). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1884.
- Baba in Weiner, E. S. C.; Simpson, J. R. (1989). The Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2.
- Hunter, William Wilson; James Sutherland Cotton; Richard Burn; William Stevenson Meyer; Great Britain India Office (1908). Imperial Gazetteer of India. 20. Clarendon Press. p. 295.
- Ooi, Keat Gin (2004). Southeast Asia : A Historical Encyclopedia, From Angkor Wat to East Timor. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 198. ISBN 1-57607-770-5.
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