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The Naming Game

Our name is one thing that belongs to us but is used more by others. Read on to get an insight into the intriguing world of names.

Recent trends

A recent trend is to name a child by taking a few letters from the father name, a few from the mother's name, and merging them. We thus have Shanmathi (Shankar and Sumathi's child), Vijay (Jayaram and Vidhya's son), Aaron (Anil and Rohini's son) and so on. There is also this trend to have all names in a family starting with the same letter. If by chance the names of the parents start with say G, like Ganesh and Gayathri, they may name their kids Gaurav and Gautham.

The film industry

In the film industry, naming a film is very important. We can't help but notice Ekta Kapur's obsession with the alphabet K'. All her saas-bahu soaps start with the same alphabet, hence we have Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kkusum, Kasauti Zindagi Ki and so on.

Names in Mythology

In Hindu Mythology, the same God has a number of names. The Hindu goddess Ambal, has as many as 108 names. In the Ramayana, sage Vasishta at the request of the King Dashrath, named his four sons. Kaushalya's son was named Rama - the source of bliss. Kaikeyi's son was named Bharata - caretaker of one and all, and Sumitra's twin sons were named Laxmana- the one who possess the best of human qualities, and Shatrughna- the one who is born to destroy enemies.

At times people simply name their child after the star under which he was born. Hence we have Revathi, Aswini, Karthika etc amidst us. The naming of a child is performed in a grand way in many religions. If it is known as "Naamkaran" in one religion, it is referred to as "Baptism" in another.

Long and short names

Recently Germany's constitutional court had ruled in a judgment that giving a child one unusual name is fine, but inflicting it with twelve is going overboard. It rejected an appeal by a mother who wanted to call her son Chenekwahow Tecumseh Migiskau Kioma Ernesto Inti Prithibi Pathar Chajara Majim Henriko Alessandro. The appeal was brought in response to the lower court's decision in 1998 to cut the number of names to five. The lower court had ruled that having long names would have an onerous effect' on the child.


In Turkey it seems a software programmer has added the suffix .com to his name and after some initial apprehension, the court has allowed it. Looks like the man has been severely bitten by the e-bug!

Unisex names

There are also a number of unisex names such as Shashi, Kiran, Robin, etc. So when one hears such names one can't tell if the person is male or female.

Unusual names

A few years ago I read an interview in a magazine called "Anandha Vikatan". It was about three sisters who had unusual names. The elder one's name is "I love you", the second one's is "You love me" and the youngest one's name "Sweet love". I often think of the hardships or hilarious incidents they would have had, with their unusual names!


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