Monday, December 13, 2010

Names Have a Lot to Say

'' What is in name---------------''- The cliche of William Shakespeare had never troubled me nor had I ever thought  of being at variance with it until rececently when I stumbled over a write-up of a blogger on nomenclature associated with this old and well acknowledged adage. How great a connoisseur Shakespeare was as a delineator of human soul, I don't dare to touch upon the issue. But the very cliche irks me when I see the world going berserk for the sake of coining appropriate names for their newly borns.
Writers have put in huge efforts to publish books containing names. The proud father or mother don't lose any opportunity of publicising among relatives to look for some lovely and appropriate names for their child so that they may choose the best from among the best conveyed to them.  Purohita, on his part,  does his best to approve the name that would lead the child to fame with that specific name. Whether the child gets name and fame is another matter, but the Purohita gets plenty to make his pocket heavier.
How foolish Shalespeare was to give such a naught to 'names'. In the old time people used to give name the new borns by associating him to the month or day he was born - 'Shukru' (born on Friday) Manglu ( born on Tuesday) or Fagnhu ( born in the Hindi calender month of  Fagun). But now such names are rarely  found among new generation, and if at all any exists, it becomes the target of drollery.
I havre another point that makes me go against the Shakespearean adage. In fact, we cannot make do without names. No names means having no proper nouns. Now imagine the language without  proper nouns, My god ! A world or language without proper noun ! There will be linguistic anarchy and communicative chaos. So we need names irrespective of what shakespeare said. And if we need them after all why not have best of them?
Names have great significance. If we are not familiar with somebody, the mere name gives us an idea of the fellow. Suppose we hear of some unknown Ram or Ram lal or Ramu, The very neme  'Ram'  gives us the idea of a person being sedate fellow like the lord Rama. Ram Lal gives the idea of some ordinary man lmay be dudhwala. Ramu gives a connotation of  somebody engaged in house keeping may be even my or your servent. Now take my name Jagdish with short /i/, you can perceive that this fellow seems to be having ordinary stature and reputation.But if it becomes Jagdeesh with long /i/, the things get bigger many fold, and you can perceive an image of god which I don't want to be, though sometime in my humanly pride, I thank my parents for giving me the name which reminds one of god.
The very names - Bengluru, Chennai, Puducherry, Mumbai - have a cultural and historical sense with them. Just pronouncing these names sends us to the social and cultural milieu related to these places.
Now why spare Shakespeare, who, having given this cliche to the world to think over, himself chose the most appropriate names for his persone. Cordelia of King Lear, Toby Belch of Twelfth Night, Prospero and  Miranda of the Tempest and many more are there that have beauty and significance of their own.
So, dear friends, Shakespeare himself was at variance with his own dictum, And there is so much fuss created over names. Names can be perceived good or bad, but people in this excessively busy world of hurry and worry have no time to perceive the good deeds. Rose may not smell sweet if given another name, and without name no smell at all. Therefore, I have every right to believe - A bad name is worse than bad deeds.


  1. what an idea or internal feelings Mr Bali ?????????? but u r not strong as much as Bali in Ramayana Hence justifies the title.... Keep on more feeling on some other related topics.
    satish chemy???????????

  2. Many people spend their life for the sake of name.

  3. i like it . A nice contribution, unique.

  4. An interesting way of thinking. No doubt we do make associations with names but it varies for each of us by culture, background and individual experience.

  5. Interesting writeup.....

    My cousins are named... Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... 3 guys. Uncle wanted 6 sons and 1 daughter name "Friday" but Aunty

    If Aunty had not said no.....!

  6. nice perception..after reading yr article.i started wondering ," what does shakespear's name mean"?

  7. Hi Jagdish, nice post. Read my post on similar lines.

  8. Nice post! I agree that a name matters a lot in today's world. And, parents please spare your kids some weird sounding names in your race to be different.

  9. @jagdish ,shakespeare word meaning was nice:)

  10. First I completely agree with your outlook, I also realized several times that in past the people belonging to lower status in Indian society named such like "Ladhu, Teju, Ghaseeta, Patasi, Kulda Ram" and another side the names of person belonging to rich part of society such like "Veer Rudra Prataap Singh " Why!. The name decreased the moral also. In past some people studied and did not want to even see the rise of lower status people.

    Thanks of nice post.

  11. Names reflect the parents attitude, knowledge, prejudices and habits.

    Studying the names can reflect a lot about cultures.

  12. wow i really like this and how you used literary figures to contrast. Learnt abit of your culture too from the names :) may i please link this to