The day I was born, I was named Shahzor Khan,
My parents undoubtedly named me after doing a lot of thinking and name finding, but they also named me a Muslim.
As very beautifully said at the end of the movie “A Wednesday”, people find religion in the name of others.
In Muslims and Christians, its only religion, in Hindus, it is their caste, which essentially tells what your ancestors did for a living.
So I post my first question, why don’t we use names that are more religion specific.
People like naming their children to great people of our times, Which in a way reflect Cultural heritage.
Next people do think about Naming kids with beautiful meanings, but the language origin of the name tend to give away the religion,
As Arabic, English/Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit all are related to religions.
Consider the name Ray(Light), John(Personality), Samuel – You first thought from the name is that they are Christians,
Then Consider Ravi(Sun), Chandni(Moonlight), Vishal(Huge)- First thought is always that they are Hindus. Or one among Indian based Religions.
And an amazing irony is when ever a person converts his religion, due to any religion, (I am talking more about Hindu-Muslim-Christian conversions), he goes ahead and changes his name.
It kind of spells out that the name is meant to identify your religion.
I don’t have any problem with any of these names, or that it is in a specific language, I am concerned because religion, which is supposed to be a personal thing in this new age of Globalization, is not personal, its widely a community thing. This may have been true, Since earlier only one religion was known to a community, and all of them followed it either mildly or rigorously, without questions asked. It is changing now, since the communities are getting settlers and they bring in new ideas, new religions.
And when it becomes a community thing, it creates an ideology that a community should propagate or protect their religion, which leads to clashes and conflicts.
Can this be avoided? Actually it is getting slowly avoided.
I see it more as a language issue, Being not connected, the world created a vast number of languages, which now are mostly getting second preferences and getting reduced.
Its no shame in acknowledging that English is becoming major language in the world, a kind of standardization for communication.
As time and generations pass, the languages are going to get diminished and a single language will continue, and naming will be limited to it.
But my idea for this post is not limited to that.
It is to explore naming, in general, including name calling by people with names other than the birth names.
I recently came across a video on campaign “Dark is beautiful”, which brought back the name calling memories and prejudices people had.
First lets get behind the creative mind of the person who introduces a new name for another person.
These names tend to be descriptive, and derogatory.
Consider a person calling another one a Bastard or a Mother F***er, this name is derogatory, but not descriptive, as the person being referred to does not relate to the name in any sense so it do not relate to shaming.
Now consider a fat person being called a hippopotamus, or a long person being called a tower, or a dark person being called a “kaali bengali”, this is descriptive and this is shaming.
Now lets ask ourselves naively, what does the name caller get from inventing such a name, a laugh, probably a laugh from friends, a sense of pride for inventing something new.
And now realistically, he gets a sense of pride being fit, of Ordinary(or Correct) height, or being fair. He gets a sense of being better than the person being referred to, and implies that with his remark.
No wonder pride is counted as one of seven sins.
Now what can we do to help this?
I think we have been silent and removing ourselves for too long leaving these mindsets to thrive.
I think we should confront a person for saying such things publicly and make him realize it is unacceptable to bear such people.
Hope the world moves towards a more accepting and embracing side or humanity.