From Jaquar to Lakme: How some of the biggest Indian brands got their names

Many brands are a staple in consumers’ lives, repeated so many times that one can forget the origins and inspiration behind these companies. Here are some word etymologies for some of the oldest and most well-known homegrown brands in the country.

Jaguar Group

Starting in the 1960s, the Jaquar Group now includes brands including Essco (value segment), Jaquar (premium segment), Artize (luxury segment), and Jaquar Lighting (complete LED lighting solutions). The name ‘Jaquar’ was officially introduced in the year 1986 and quickly became the most iconic brand launched by Rajesh Mehra & family. Jaguar Group Principal and Promoter Rajesh Mehra said that in 2020 your story The brand is named after their grandmother, Jai Kaur.


Lakme is an Indian cosmetics brand, owned by Hindustan Unilever. Started in 1952 under the Tata Oil Mills Company, the then Prime Minister Jawahlal Nehru reportedly noticed the trend of women buying foreign beauty products as there were no local options widely available in the market. According to the Tata Central Archives, the name Lakmé was inspired by the French opera of the same name. The opera, Lakmé, was written by Leo Delibes and premiered in 1883. The opera is set in India during British rule and tells the story of Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest. The name Lakme was the French derivation of the name of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.

Fico cream with turmeric
Ayurvedic health and home healthcare company was established in 1952 by Keshav Vishnu Pendharkar under the trade name Vishnu Industrial Chemical Company. The name was shortened to Vicco, by which it is now generally known.


The shampoo brand has gone by many names. Initially founded in 1983 by C K Ranganathan, Chik India was renamed ‘Beauty Cosmetics’ in 1990 and then CavinKare Pvt Ltd in 1998. In an interview with Economic Times in 2012, the founder Ranganathan stated that the name of the company and the product was after his father Chinni Krishnan, who invented the bag and was recognized as a ‘Legend of Disruptors’ at YourStory Disruptors Tamil Nadu 2018 for this feat.


Falguni Nayar started one of the largest e-commerce brands in the country in 2012. The company boasts that its name is derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘Nayaka’ which means actress or one in the spotlight. The name aligns with the platform’s mission to “celebrate the star in every woman” as they discover their own unique style.


Parle Products, famous for its Parle-G biscuits, is a multinational food manufacturer based in Mumbai. It was founded by the Chauhan family of Vile Parle in 1929. Since the name is the same as the company’s origins, it was the inspiration for the name of the 94-year-old company.

Voltas Ltd is a multinational home appliances company specializing in refrigeration and air conditioning technology. It was established in the year 1954 as part of a collaboration between Tata Sons and Folkart Brothers. The company recently entered into a joint venture with Ardutch, a Turkish company under the name Voltas Beko. The origins of the name Voltas are believed to be a combination of Volkart and Tatas to represent cooperation as equals.

Ranbaxy Laboratories

Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd is an Indian multinational pharmaceutical company, founded in 1961. Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company acquired a controlling stake in the Indian brand in 2008. However, Sun Pharma acquired Ranbaxy in an all-share deal in 2014. Company Name The company appears to be a combination of the names of the founders, Ranbir Singh and Gopax Singh. This was a popular theory and it seems very likely, however, the origin of the name has never been officially revealed by the founders.


Havells is a multinational electrical equipment company of Indian origin established in the year 1985. The name of the company is speculated to come from the name of its founder, Haveli Ram Gupta who later sold it to Ray Gupta trustees in 1971. None of the founders mentioned the origins or inspiration behind the brand name commercial, however, the similarity with the name of the first owner has drawn this theory into the media and among the public.


Mapro is a food processing company established in Panchgani, near Mahabaleswar, in 1959. Started by pharmacist Kishore Vora, the area is among the largest producers of strawberries and is dubbed the “Garden of Eden” in Maharashtra, according to a 2006 report by the Telegraph. The origin of the name is believed to be a shortened version of Mahabaleswar Products but it is not confirmed by the founders.