Sunday, 10 August 2014

Name Matters

Before the hurricane Katrina hit the USA all Katrinas may have been happy with their beautiful name. Later,
most of them wished their name should have been something else. A 13-year-old schoolgirl made a public declaration that her name is not Katrina, she is only Kate.

Doubtlessly every one of us love our name. We want our name to be meaningful, it should not be misunderstood, misspelled or misinterpreted. On the contrary, we have a popular culture to disfigure other people's name and make a fun of them, knowingly or unknowingly.

I am proud of my name. My parents must have thought many times before giving me this name. In fact 'Byanjana' refers to the word power that expresses satirical meanings. Unfortunately, almost all people, who are ignorant about the beauty of my name, relate my name to either Byanjan (food) or Byanjan Varna (consonant sounds); this misinterpretation drives me crazy. I wish they asked me the meaning of this name first before interpreting it.

Meanwhile, the case of my son is a bit different from mine. My spouse and I spent many days to find a suitable name for him and finally named him 'Bishrut' which means a learned person. He is also happy with his name and its connotation, but the problem lies on its mutilation.

To irritate him when people call him 'biscuit' he becomes disappointed. Then all his anger turns towards his parents. He attacks us, "Why did you name me Bishrut? If I had other name people would not tease me calling biscuit." The poor boy hardly knows there is no name that is free from any defacement in our culture.

When such disputes arise I always remember a cousin of mine whose son's name was Sagar (Ocean). Some naughty people used to hurt him by saying, "Sagar, Aan gar;" this would make him cry bitterly. My desperate cousin would comment, "...All the names are problematic! After all, what name can we give to our children? People will disfigure any name!"

Being cautious of a malpractice of bending names like Rame, Shyame, Hare, Binode, Suraje (for Ram, Shyam, Hari, Binod and Suraj respectively) and many more, my nephew's parents named him 'Jaya.' Their logic behind the choice of this name is that even if people twist their son's name, it becomes 'Jaye,' which does not sound bad and more or less similar to 'Jaya' itself.

Our name is our identification. Throughout our life we try hard to prove the meaning it contains. Since all of us want others to respect our name as it is, so why do we forget to do the same to others' name as well? In my experience, the westerners are more sensitive in this matter. They are careful not to write or interpret others' name on their own. Every time they ask people to spell their name and surname clearly and correctly (if they have a slight confusion) so that they could do justice. However, it is another story that some of them cannot pronounce my name correctly even if they try their best.

(Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Friday, June 16, 2006)

[The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).