What’s in a Name?

 “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet.” So declares Juliet as she laments the name of her beloved in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

I suppose the great Peer had this in mind when he tutored Juliet, “what matters is what something is, not what it is called,”

I was told that my parents took out the “Istekhara,” asking Allah through prayer to help them  make a choice, between the best of two names that they had selected. My father, a passionate reader of English litterature, perhaps bowed down to the wishes of my mother, who was fond of Urdu novels. For those curious, the meaning of my name is odor or scent! Friends, I know you never left me or closed your nostrils when we met! Thank you!

Why did Shakespear write so casually, after all he must have been baptised, did he favor another name for himself? Maybe! Was he not aware of the significance of the naming ceremonies practised world over, by humans of different creed and religion, Namakarana by the Hindus, Brit Milah by the Jews and so on. To most the significance of the ‘name’ is of paramount importance, 

Now let us examine the percetpion aspect through a few names of historic and modern day personalities. 

Imagine Osamin Bin Laden named Alexendar the Great, Hitler called Tulip, Winston Churchil known as Hiro Hito, Trump as Dalai Lama and so on. Do they smell as sweet in your thoughts and linger in your mind?

Not in mine! 

The roses are from our garden!


4 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?”

  1. First about Baqir Shameem. Even if you now got yourself another name, any other, you would smell as sweet. It is your person friend.
    Naming carries past association of parents and ancestors over possibly centuries. Am curious about the President having been given her name.
    My mind tried to place time line of Ram. Before about the 5th Century CE or much later we don’t find this name even amongst the high & well known royals. That should give us some idea when Valmiki wrote The Ramayana.Even in Mahabharat no character carries or shares this. Does it say something about names and time lines?
    Your ideas always made one think.


    1. Yes a few of my friends do generously call me Bade Miyan; we are aware of bade, however Miyan, a Persian word has a number of meanings in English and Hindi! I am at a loss to accept which one of them! The aroma and the sweetness of a flower is enhanced when it is nurtured amongst many of it’s kind. Maybe a bit has percolated towards me. Thank you for your generosity.
      Historically names have been associated with honor and splendour (Izzat aur shohrat) whether of a person or his country. May be the mythologians seized the opportunites to sentementalize the masses with stories around such persons with such names!
      Well, the Western world is better off with innocuous names such as Baker, Woodman, Burns, Higginbottoms and so on!


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