This is a guest post by Mr Subhajit Mishra
I always thought that we all have got name attached to us for an unique identity. Well, I do understand that it also has got the love & affection (and what not!) of the parents. The exercise that has gone into it. The amount of time spent on finding & thinking about it. Then the process of shortlisting, final rounds of filtering and then zeroing in on ‘the’ one. We are so very meticulous in handling this particular exercise.
But then starts the real humour, the moment we start calling a new born by the given (read ‘assigned’) name, people start moulding it their convenience. For example, a certain Rajeev becomes ‘Raj’ or ‘Raju’ or may be just ‘Ra’. By the time the same person becomes a complete grown up, he does not even care about the relevance of his name, forget about the effort (however nonsensical it is). And then it all boils down to the same old thing: What’s there in a name!
But all over the world, especially in our parts of it, we do not find the name complete without a surname or a last name. The name remains incomplete without it. Only difference here is, no one struggles for the surname as it is a part of the legacy of the family (depending upon the religion/caste/sub-caste, the last name is decided). And here starts the whole thing about this ‘name-game’, as I call it. I still remember a line: Hum Apne Naam Mein Mazhab Dhoondne Lagte Hain (We start finding ‘religion’ in our names). The whole identity of a person gets hijacked by his surname. The entire image of a person gets stolen in a moment with his last name. An entire community is blamed for someone’s wrong-doing due to their last names.
Is there a possibility of a world where we can just identify each other with things we can relate to! Can we stop finding out the religion in it! Can we stop judging people based on their caste! Can we stop having pre-conceived notions about people from a similar creed! We can actually understand & value the true meaning of ‘democracy’ if we do not indulge in such acts. I am not preaching any sermon on religious sentiments but isn’t it true that all are our mindsets have reached a level where we will raise an eyebrows to a ‘Mishra’ in Mumbai, a ‘Louvam’ in Bangalore or Delhi, a ‘Khan’ in US, a ‘Singh’ in Germany, a ‘Malhotra’ in Australia and so on?
Believe me; I have laughed loudly, smiled meaningfully & gleefully with my friends while I grew up without even thinking once what their name stands for. But then when I come across situations where my surroundings forced me to think otherwise, it struck to me. I asked myself and others as to why I need to treat different people in different ways. I respect the emotions that goes in while naming someone, I also value the sentiments attached to it. What bothers me is the way we treat them without even knowing or understanding them. And the end result is: violence, riots, feeling of insecurity, humiliation. All these amounts of national embarrassment and it question the very meaning of democracy itself. A world without borders & notions defined by names would be a world to live in. Or is that too much to ask for!!!
The author is a Mumbai based HR Professional and can be reached at @Subhajitm