How to name it ? 11

Modern Indian society is going through an interesting phase in the area of child-naming.
Suddenly realizing his/her global identity, the young Indian parent is breaking traditional conventions while naming his/her kid. Trying to find that perfect balance between modernity and tradition, he/she hopes to build a great brand for the offspring in the society.

Some seem to exercise creativity at dangerous levels when synthesising new names. Some seem to be fascinated by uncommon Sanskrit names. Some want to make sure that the name sounds cool in school, college, corporate, parties, international airports and the other side of the globe. Should I mention the numerology craze that garnishes the confusion ?

While taking too many factors into consideration, the cultural/geographic identity of the kid is sometimes lost in the process of naming. For example, the craze for chic Bollywood style names among some South Indians robs the Southern identity totally.

Anirudhdh. Beautiful name. Krishna’s grandson in Mahabharata. But, who would imagine that this is the name of a Tamil kid ? Well, it is.

It is debatable whether we need to preserve regional identities within a nation. I think India’s richness is largely its diversity. Each region has undergone cultural evolution over millenia. Trying to crudely mix them all in a big culture pot to create uniformity is outrageous.

An easy way to retain the Tamil/Mallu identity while picking up fascinating Sanskrit names is to suffix it with ‘an’. Anirudhdhan ! Well that looks definiely Tamil/Mallu ! Does it sound old fashioned ? I pity those who consider their ancestors an inferior lot. For girl names, we don’t have such an easy suffix algorithm, but there are plenty of Sanskrit names used predominantly by South Indians. Pure Tamil names are on a decline these days. A former colleague of mine was very thoughtful and mature when he was particular in giving a pure Tamil name to his daughter.

I am talking more about South Indian names because I am a South Indian who knows more about South India. I believe these things can be easily applied to other regions to India too.

I can’t help but wonder at the name of my close friend – ‘Devanathan Varadarajan’.
What A Punch !

11 thoughts on “How to name it ?

  1. Reply Devanathan Varadarajan Jun 9,2006 12:57 pm


    Trying to find a South Indian name is good, but I feel ‘tamilizing’ a north indian name would not go well.

    Abhijit/Avinash are good north indian names, but tamilizing spoils them……

  2. Reply coolkrishnan Jun 9,2006 2:04 pm

    >Yeah, some would sound odd…
    But names like Krishnan, Raman etc are basically Sanskrit name right ?

    Some good examples:
    Sridhar -> Sridharan
    Kesav -> Kesavan
    Ganesh -> Ganesan

  3. Reply Anonymous Jun 9,2006 2:05 pm

    >Devanathan Varadarajan……tas a good name,but nowadays it can be renamed as DEVAJAN!!!!!!how abt tat “ANAND”

  4. Reply coolkrishnan Jun 9,2006 2:24 pm

    >Mr Anonymous,
    Pls reveal who u r 🙂

    You can post as anonymous, but add a signature at the end of the comment if you wish ….

    I am called “Anand” at home… But my full name is still distinctively Tamil…. Its ok to have shorter versions for convenience…. I am not at all against that….

  5. Reply Anonymous Jun 9,2006 5:12 pm

    good post but i have this basic doubt. why do u think a name should reveal the cultural /geographic identity of the kid ? what are the gains/losses?

    my grandfather named my father subramanian because he didnt really know of too many names that time… In that generation, ppl dont even go outside their cities..
    their choices and knowledge are limited… now,ppl have the whole world in their hands.

    as generations grow, we see more ppl/names to be unique/stylish… i dont c anything wrong in that… i dont understand why should anirudh be named as aniruddan? for u to understand that he is from south india? what are we gaining other than this? do u think his cultural identity lies in that 2 letters?

    there is no gr8 change in the trend that i see.. i dont think parents will plan to give names like McDermot to a south indian brahmin for the sake of style…

    sorry if i didnt understand the crux of what u wrote 🙂

    Commenting as anonymous as i forgot my login details of my blog… long time since i wrote a blog 🙁


  6. Reply coolkrishnan Jun 10,2006 6:12 am

    Your views about my post echoes many other readers’ too.

    We are so used to the current trend and we don’t look at a period of 100 years down the line….

    Today most middle class indians have financial soundness as their top priority…. After 100 years, when we become a decently developed country, the priorities will change…. Money being equal, we will start comparing ourselves with other countries in terms of non-monetary aspects like art, culture and other finer aspects of living… We will look for differentiating factors that uniquely identify us from the rest… name is an obvious one here… Then we will realize we carelessly lost good aspects(like dress, food, names) of our civilization in the pursuit of money… The future generation may even scold us for that…. like we scold our 18th century kings who sided with British to win regional battles….

    Anyway, I agree this is not a burning problem for us today….
    I am glad that people like you who read my post thought about it and replied…

    thanks !

  7. Reply Anwin Jun 10,2006 1:41 pm

    >Yp bugger…you still alive? hmmm…what abt my name? Its neither western nor indian.. 😉

  8. Reply gopi Jun 11,2006 8:16 pm

    >What Ananthu… started blogging about naming kids and all…

    any ‘new arrival’, i mean got promoted to father ?? if any, congrats buddy.

    note: afaik, you are not married. if there is a change in that status, please let me know

  9. Reply Raj Jun 16,2006 3:13 pm

    >Interesting blog Anand!!! But when it comes to sanskrit names, they originally do not come with the “an”. It is just a way of addresing people that has caught up to become a trend in the south. Originally the suffix “ar” was used with respect to address Gods, Kings, Learned men etc…and the common man with the same name would be addressed with “an” as a suffix. It began just to differentiate the common man from the respected ones. It still exists, because people in olden times don’t ask questions. With reasoning and the quest for logical answers for practices followed by our ancestors for centuries, we can find answers to such confusing practices.

  10. Reply Raj Jun 16,2006 3:17 pm

    >besides, do u suggestany names for my baby coming in October. Suggestions welcome from other bloggers as well!!!

  11. Reply rowdyrascal Jun 21,2006 8:19 am

    >Anandan for raj’s baby.What thy say coolkrish?

Leave a Reply