I have a dear colleague, who is a good friend too, having a very fascinating name – Nehru Singh. Before meeting him, when I heard his name, I found his name to be quite enigmatic. Nehru is a household name, rather surname, thanks to our first prime minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. We also know that people with Nehru surname are Kashmiri Brahmins or Brahmins at least as Nehru was always addressed as Panditji. Singh is a generic second name that follows the first name across communities and geographies in India – Sikhs, Jats, Rajputs et al. When you hear a name that comprises a surname and a second name, you are bound to be fascinated. But this fascination didn’t stop here! The person with a North Indian surname as a first name and a North India second name as his second name word, actually turned out to be a Tamilian from Deep South. Further acquaintanceship with him revealed that the place from where he came has had a long tradition of naming their children after famous and iconic personalities ! He has Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra, Gandhi etc all in his family!
The reason for this out of turn remembrance for Nehru ( it’s neither his birthday today or his anniversary ) is a fascinating piece of news that I read in today’s newspaper. Salem’s CPI District Secretary A Mohan’s youngest son is AM Socialism, who is marrying a girl from staunch Congress family. The girl is named P Mamta Banerjee ( report says that the girl was born when Mamta was in Congress). News further says that both the Tamil families seem happy to wear ideologies on their sleeves. Socialism has brothers Communism and Leninism and Communism has a son Marxism ( as report cheekily says – not the other way around- Marxism is hailed as father of Communism). We now have a classic case – Mamta, the Chief Minister of WB, married to the principle of socialism and down South a girl Mamta married to a boy Socialism.
In comparison to the above, the name Nehru Singh now appears to be music to the ears!
Long live Tamil Nadu and its tryst with the science of nomenclature!
2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”
Very well written and now I really understand the contrasts in his name.