Saturday, March 2, 2013

Why I named my daughter "Sara"?

Chandrakant uncle asked me this question few days back. I never shared my intention or reasons for given this particular name to my daughter with many people outside my immediate circle, but I think it will be interesting to share it one my blog. Naming your child can be very complicated and sometimes stressful process and in today's world of internet I think it's becoming very elaborated activity, with fertile minds of many people and many resources at disposal to get suggestions. I was not very familiar with the world of internet when my first child was born so I had very limited resources at disposal that time.

I was very happy to know that our first baby was a girl. I really wanted to have a daughter, not that I didn't want to have son or was biased towards particular gender, any child is a child its gender really doesn't matter much, but there was a very personal reason for my wish to have a daughter because I was tired of listening comments or taunts like, 'it's easy to talk about feminism but difficult to practice' 'you don't know how difficult it is to raise a daughter in today's world' 'may be one day you will realize what it means to have a daughter' (said in a tone like its some type of curse or something to have a daughter), 'you talk like this because you don't have a daughter' etc. etc. so it was a big relief for me when I  heard that my wife gave birth to a girl, when I heard that the first thought came to my mind was that may be now I don't have to listen to any of these comments or taunts. No doubt that I was happy, becoming a parent is one of the nicest feeling in the world, it's a pleasure as well as huge responsibility and like any other parents it was one of the happiest day of my life.

The next task was to name our daughter, normally people select names appropriate to their own religion, culture, caste, etc. there are many things which contribute towards selection of name of a child in India (or anywhere in the world). People who suggest names always try to suggest names according to your religion and this practice is very common all over the world. I also got some suggestions on similar lines, me and my wife had some of our own choices and they all were strictly according to all guidelines most parents follow, we were not any different. At that time I was also reading lot about anti-superstition (अन्धश्रधा निर्मूलन) movement in Maharashtra and at the same time I also read about Dr. Shriram Lagoo, very celebrated actor on Marathi stage and popular character artist from Hindi cinema, I read about why he gave his son a Muslim name, he and Deepa Lagoo name their only child 'Tanveer' a Muslim name, they both were born in Hindu family, there are not many examples like this (I know only this one). I read somewhere that they gave their child name from different religion, [that too the one with which their own religion (in which they were born) has a history of bitter rivalry] because they wanted their child to know or to understand that people can judge you as a person based on your religion, they can have totally different perception about your personality just because of your name.

People indeed can have many prejudices just because of your name, because from your name they come to know about your religion, caste (in India), they can guess from which region or country of world you belong  and then based on their own assumptions about these things they can form certain opinion about you, we all do it, it's very common thing. I think that might be the reason why not many parents would want to name their kids Osama or Adolf or Duryodhan (main negative character from Mahabharat) just because some negative image associated with these names and this induces fear in parent's mind that their child might subjected to some trauma or torture just because of his/her name and they want to avoid it.

So when I decided to name my first child my intention was to convey my belief to her that its not your name which gives you a character or meaning to you rather it's you who give some meaning to your name so it doesn't matter what it is, from which religion or region it belongs, name is just a name. But frankly speaking at the same time I was not as brave as Lagoos to give clearly a Muslim or Christian name, I knew that no one in my family would accept it and clearly it will be a matter of great argument and discomfort for many people in my family and I wanted to avoid this scenario as I was already causing enough of trouble myself so I didn't want my daughter to be a reason for this right from her entry into this world. Then I came across this name 'Sara'. I don't remember where I read it for the first time but may be I came across it for the first time while reading about Sachin's family life. I know now that his daughter's name is Sara but I am not that type of crazy fan to name my daughter or son after people I follow. I realized that name 'Sara' perfectly fits my bill, it's not from my own religion, my family had no clue which religion or region it belongs (it was not very common name in India). Honestly I myself didn't have any clue that time what was meaning of this name but I liked it, fortunately my wife also agreed to it and no one else protested (once she agreed any way others protest doesn't matter) so we named her Sara.

It's a very simple story but I thought it's worth sharing, thanks to Chandu uncle for asking me this question which took me back to my memory lane to remember those wonderful days. My daughter is now old enough to understand how people name their kids and what logic normally people follow while naming their kids. She also knows which part of world her name originated and what it means. I told her story behind her own naming process and she is totally cool with it. I am glad that my both kids understand limited importance and significance of people's name and they don't judge people just based on their name, race, religion or nationality. After all name, religion, country of origin doesn't really matter, all what matters is how we behave with others and how well we treat world around us, remember our name doesn't give any meaning to us but we can definitely give some meaning to our name.

Thanks for reading and please share your opinion.

(Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)


  1. I really wanted to give my child a name which nobody can associate with anything. One name I liked and would have been crazy for whole world was FREEDOM, I myself is so rooted to freedom and wanted name to be gender independent as well. Needless to say, my wife wasnt on the same page and I am not a forceful person since she shares 50% stakes in the child :). Next name AAZAD/AAZADI (this had to be gender specific, but this was religion independent and also means freedom which is something close to me) was also on top list, but since we did not know child's gender, my wife did not agree with aazadi, and somehow we forgot aazad in the process. While discussing after reading this post, we just realized that our child's name wud have been aazad as its a boy. But anyways, finally we settled for Nirbhay as I want my child to live a fearless life (another thing close to my life). I always lived a fearful life and paid (and still paying) dearly for that. Luckily my wife liked this name. I never cared about what my family thinks and they already know that. They did not like Nirbhay as well and they have started calling him Yash.

    1. Actually it’s very difficult to find any name which is not associated with anything, whatever names we have are associated with some culture or other and there is nothing wrong in it, that is how it is. As I said simple process of naming your child is really interesting. Both parents have equal right to name their child and there is no reason why father’s opinion should count more or only is name should be the middle name or family name should always from his side, I am not against this but the system should not be that rigid. May be I am wrong in thinking like this, but I think that name of any child normally reflects parents own beliefs, it has really nothing to do with child, we all take pleasure to name them as per our own beliefs or to make some kind of statement and most of the time many parents look at their kids as their statement to society or their own reflection or means to fulfill their unfulfilled ambitions, we all are part of this process to some extend (knowingly or unknowingly).
      But in this process some parents become control freak, they forget that their child is separate entity and only biologically related with them. They want to mold their child only in certain way (their own way), control every part of their life and some allow them to choose their own life and live as freely as possible. With all limitations and drawbacks which I have I try my best to give them maximum possible freedom to become independent person and believe me most parents will say that they do the same thing. The situation becomes complicated and very testing when your own child doesn’t agree with your ideas and want to take totally different path not aligned with our ideas, beliefs or expectations and you know how most parents behave under these circumstances.

  2. Just to remind you that no one named children after Pran the great actor but names of his co-actors were willingly given...why is villains in my :-)

    1. Very true..another example to show that we associate certain characteristics or behavior with certain name because of some history associated with that name and we have some predetermined opinion about certain name, looks, race or gender. Its very deep rooted habit of society which is transmitted from generation to generation in every culture and society, I think we need to get rid of this habit for good.

  3. (my daughter's name is 'Hindavi' & nick name 'Sai' - both names are related to Raja Shivaji).
    but what to do with Anti-superstition committee & Mr. Lagoo? kindly know about reality of these people, download an audio clip from below link, listen it :

    Anti-superstition wing's initial name was "nastikmatwadi manch" means group of 'atheist people'. But these people are Aetheist only related to Hindu gods. (by the way, Ganapati is still worshiped in Mr.Lagoos' house, but he won't tell us). I have met him few times in the Jungles of Kothrud, Pune, where he comes for evening walk. I definitely know these people better.

    anyways listen above provided short audio clip; awaiting ur feedback.

    1. Why do I have to know reality of anyone? I care about their thoughts and if they appeal me, educate me, inspire me or teach me something new I don't care from where they come, for me origin is not important but the content is.

      I know very well about anti-superstition wing and their activities, read a lot about them and I have no problem with their name "nastikmatwadi manch". I don't consider atheism as untouchable thing or threat to society rather I believe they are very important pillars of any society.

      What Lagoo does in his home is none of my business, he is free to worship anything he likes that's his personal choice. I heard Rajiv Dixit many times, he talks sense many times but his views are too pro Hindu, always anti-west, anti-congress and very one sided, he loves to show only one side of issue and score points on it, his excellent oratory skills helped him lot. I love his Hindi and get educated in many ways from his talks but I don't believe blindly in whatever he says. Will comment about this particular talk soon.

    2. OK so I listened to this participial talk by Rajiv Dixit...typical RD talk, nothing new, same tone, blame everything to western countries (particularly to US and Europe, scare people that they are interested in wiping out your religion and culture, he gives very one sided examples and propagates his own agenda.

      He is right that Andhashradhha Nirmulan movement targets mostly superstitions associated with Hindu religion, he never acknowledged even once that by this at least they are trying to reform or remove some superstition in society because of which sometimes many people suffer or even get killed but rather he used his skills to scare people that these people are working on US instructions to destroy their religion and pictures very unreal situation to mislead them.

      So his demand which is very rational demand is to target all religions which propagate superstition in India, but at the same time he should not be angry that they are pointing out mistakes from his own religion, two wrongs don't make one why not to start a movement which targets superstitious practices from all religions? Why he didn't do that rather than just criticizing one movement which is at least trying to correct something rather than nothing?? Big question for me??

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. why u always same 'nothing new' 'nothing new'. it seems u think that everything is invented by u only.
      yatun tumcha 'ahambhav' disun yeto-nehmi, again & again.

      fyi 1st study what Rajiv has done against Superstitions in Hinduism. Sir, please tumhala kahi goshti mahit nastil tar Comment tari naka karu. this is not good way to post comments - again u'll say 'it is my thinking'. asa nasta o saheb.

      nit vichar kara yacha, mi lahan asun asa sangtoy yacha raag nasava, hee namr vinanti.

    5. Dear Harshal,
      When I say 'nothing new' that doesn't mean I invented that means I already know about those things, have read or heard already, very simple. I don't claim that I invented but just say that information is not new to me.

      I am ready expressed my opinion about Rajiv Dixit, I listened to some of his talks and saw same pattern in them and based on that I commented. I don't say your thinking is wrong or you need to refine your thinking just because it doesn't agree with my thinking but it seems you think that way. I already told you if you find him relevant, then listen to him, follow him that's your choice but I find his talks somewhat biased and that's why listen to them rarely just to get some relevant information or to learn some Hindi that's all..I have not commented anything about what work Rajiv Dixit did, my comments were just about his lectures.