Feb 1, 2006

Jaathigal Illaiyadi Paappa..

Ramesh was a middle-class Brahmin from Tamilnadu. From his childhood, he wanted to become an 'engineer' thanks to the constant feed from his parents and relatives. When the time came, he realized that it is pretty tough, as the government had the huge reservation, leaving little for open competition. That made him hate the government, caste-based politics and the system of caste itself. He somehow managed to join an engg. college. During his B.E., he had several brain-storming sessions about the quota system, how and why caste is bad, how the grown-up countries are so without any worry about caste, etc., with his friends.

He was waiting to complete his studies and fly abroad. He went to U.S. and completed his MS. He got a job and soon got married. After a few years, his wife was about to give birth to a baby boy, and now it is time for thinking about a name for the child. He discussed at length about the problems he faced in US; he was always just V. Ramesh in India.. and it became Venkatesan Ramesh in his passport; in US, he had a tough time about what people should call his name, the first or last name. Then there was this conversation:

He: Kuzhandhaikku rendu peyar ulla oru pera vaippom..
She: Adhu enna 'rendu peyar ulla oru peyar'? Idhuleyum kuzhappama?
He: Suppose Dilip Ram-nu vacha?
She: mm.. easy-yadhaan irukku.. but Ram-nguradhu family name madhiri theriyumey..
He: Amam.. appuram avanoda kuzhandhaikku some 'X' Ram -nu peyar vaikka vendiyirukkum..
She: Namakkey innoru penn kuzhandhai porandha Sudha Ram-nu vaikkava mudiyum?
He: mmm.. appo namma vamsathaiyum serthu Dilip Iyengar-nu decide pannidalam.. OK?
She: OK..

(Purely fictional story; any resemblance to real-life is coincidental..) :-)

20 comments:

mitr_bayarea said...

Raju-

varuga varuga, meedum blog ulakathuku varuga.

This blog hit quite close to home, actually, we have had this discussion at our end and my significant other keeps saying the last name should be Iyer when we have kids. Somehow, i felt that it didn't sound right to show your caste in your name, but, reading your blog and hearing my husband's theory behind it, this seems to be a viable option in the broader sense.

tt_giant said...

back with a bang, Raju!

interesting point you raised here - in most tamil families, the son/daughter gets the father's first name as the initial. I dont know for sure, but is it the same case in the rest of the states?. For sure, I being a telugu have a family name. So we never follow the fathers name routine.

but case in point, you hit the nail on the head!

manyan said...

lot of confusion exists of course.
Tamil families are also following another pattern that is their ancesor village name first, father's name in the middle and finally their name comes. For instance if a person is having a name e.g. 'Mathirimangalam Krishnamurthi Ganesan', and as such recorded in passport, then that person is called by his first name as Mathirimangalam causing confusion. It will be better to have two names only i.e., first and last and at least at the Passport Office, this kind of system can be evolved and followed so as to keep rest all confusions.

manian

Vanathi said...

You are writing after a long gap Raju...

Yours Truly said...

Reminds me of my 1st job where me and another colleague of mine not only shared the name but reported to the same Manager. He, a Gujju, used to address us Ms."Dad's name" thinking it was surname.

At times, while reminding deadlines/prioity work he used to forget the salutation and we tell him with a serious face, "Dad is extremely busy with his own work. When he gets time will ask him to do this piece. Will probably take a couple of days. Is that ok?" and the team used to ROTFL :))

NaiKutti said...

also the pronounciation as well as spelling becomes an issue... how abt. D-LEAP I-YEN-CAR :-). This might probbly be easier to spell out :-)

Raju said...

Mitr, enna idhu.. oru vaaram break-ku ivlo welcome.. :-)

mm.. the solution to this problem would be to choose a last name which is neither a simple and ordinary name nor a caste name.
------------------------------------------------------------
Deepak, yeah.. most (>95%) children in TN are named without a caste second name.. And in rest of the states, most (>95%) get a 'proper' second name.. In Kerala, the guys get the ancestral village or caste as the second name while the girls get their mother's name as the second name.. Similar is the case in Karnataka and AP as well.. Up north, everyone has a surname..
--------------------------------------------------------------
Manian, welcome here...

The present generation Tamil people havent got any ancestral village/family name, have they? I know in the previous generation there were 'Chemmangudi Srinivasa Iyer', 'Maharajapuram Santhanam', et al. but I havent seen such names nowadays.. Two name is the best.. if there are three names, then the first should be the one 'unique' to the individual with the middle and last names standing for family/village..

Raju said...

Vanathi, yep.. if one week is considered 'long'..
--------------------------------------------------------
Yours truly, LOL at ur incident.. Here, my first name, which stands for my father has slowly replaced my name.. The grocery people call me with my father's name.. my name is complicated to pronounce by most Northies whereas my dad's name is shortened to 'Guru'.. so sometimes I have introduced myself as 'Hi.. I am Guru'.. :-)
--------------------------------------------------------
Karthik, LOL.. that of course would be the way the name would be chopped/killed..

Me too said...

Good one! Baby name decide pannave 9 months pora maatengudhu, idhule surname confusion vera!! But I guess, we would be among the very few who were ready with a first, middle and a last name at the time of our daughter's birth!
I thought, the 'gothram' name would make a great surname, but my husband said no caste, no gothram, not even his first name! Luckily, the first half(!) of both of our last names are same and so we made it our daughter's last name!
P.S. - In 'abivadhaye', I have noticed my father/brother say 'sharma' at the end and used to pester my Dad why I can't have it as my surname!! LOL!

வேதா said...

hi raju,
u have raised a good issue here.now i have started to wonder what would happen to my name ,when i apply to passport,i have got the village name followed by my fathers name ,followed by mine.

RandomThoughts said...

Today with Iyer and Iyengar as surnames it definitely sounds hep!!


Rashmi.

Raju said...

Aparna, first, middle and last names? Kudos to u..

Surprisingly, I was also thinking about the 'Gothram'.. that seems to be an interesting idea..

My uncle also uses the name Sharma (he is the only one in our family).. I know that Brahmins in the North India have it as the surname.. and even those in South India.. I would probably support your husband's way and think of a neutral name.. let me see..
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Veda, mm.. u better be ready.. Try to keep Veda as the first name...I would advise village name as the middle one and father's name in the end.. I have seen many people do like that here.. Better to think a lot about it before putting hte name into the passport rather than regret it later..
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rashmi, yeah it does sound hep.. When I thought that the caste system would fade away, this is a new problem unexpected by me..

Anurama said...

good post Raju.. I too hate this type of naming that we tamilians follow. Why dont we have some family name like the North Indians and enjoy life.. :?

:: The Protector :: said...

hey raju nice name my passprt name is my 3 name(First, Middle and last)+ my fathers 3 names....

Raju said...

Anu, from the family names of most North Indians, it is possible to know their caste.. Very few (Kumar, Roshan, Dravid, to think a few) dont reveal the caste..Good or bad?
----------------------------------------------------------------
Vishnu, 6 names in passport? OMG.. tough one, dude...

manyan said...

In the first instance, to make a comparison of our esteemed, noted scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, is not correct.

Surely, such plunder (like the one pointed out) in research field happens whether it is science or technollogy or humanities. Responsibility rests with the academic community to put effective curb for such immoral and unethical practices with more stringent punishments.


manian.

Raju said...

Manian, well.. you have commented on a wrong post..

I didnt compare the two scientists that way.. I just compared their fame. thats all..

Yeah, I agree that more stringent punishments are warranted for the fraudulent acts..

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