Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A bag of "Surname" Non sense

Friend :Hi , I am Anupam Kulkarni.
Me: Hi, I am Lajiraj
Friend: Whats your surname?
Me: I don’t have any surname.
Friend: You don’t have any surname? (With all obvious expressions)

This was a very much common "Convarsation piece" in Pune in my initial days there. That’s when I seriously started thinking about “whether we need surnames”. It’s nice to hear from people “I am Vinay Gupta”, “I am “Akhilesh chopra”. Was justice not given to me, by not giving surnames as part of my name .Especially in south India(read kerala to be more specific), this surname concept was faded sometime back itself. So, I cannot blame my parents for not giving a surname to me. Guys, please compromise with the initials given along with the names. If you are very much desperate we can expand the initials for your convenience or comfort.

Seriously, I am against this concept of surnames. A seal is being marked on you, when the name is given .When you say your name and your surname matches with the other person, mentally they already have made a group there. Accidentally and painfully I have observed this several times. Is it not good to have a group for a social animal like human? I say “yes”. But not on the basis of an absolute orthodox concept like caste. Some people think that, it’s “cool” to have surnames. Yes, it’s a fantasy for a group of people whose ancestors have reined in their time. Its absolutely not so for the underclass people. There was an interesting move by Dr. Ambedkar in post independence era (not very sure of the time), he asked all the lower class people to adopt the surname of Brahmins. So, In result no one could recognize who’s Brahmin and who’s shudra? Is it not cool? .Believe me its even more “cool” not to have surnames. In this context I came to know, a group of IITians have decided to shed their surnames bag. I am very much happy to hear about that move from ‘best minds’.

When I asked some of my Maharashtrian pals “Why do we need to carry this seal of ancestors to yourself and also for coming generations”, the answer was “Its part of my self, identity...” with all his emotions and ego powered. Let me go to a funny note with naming with NRK kiddos(Non residential Keralites). This naming convention is very much part of north Indian babies. So, when southies(mallus specially) migrate to those places for jobs/opportunities they feel left out. So when they get their children admitted to school, they are forced to fill in surname column. That maybe the reason almost all non-resident keralites have surnames with their name (funny at times). People who have glamorous caste (Group of people in which their ancestors have done some splendid job according to history) their name will be with the caste name or they prefer to have dad’s name as tail. If the dad’s name is ‘Achutan kutty”, kid’s name will be ‘Pramod kutty’ or likewise. “kutty” means baby. Very affectionately people tell him "Hey kuttee, woh bheja kya?"(This dialogue is very common in any modern workplace I think).Yes he’s a baby thru out his life. I happened to see a lot of helpless mallus like this.

When two people come together, why identity of his ancestors is more important? There are people arguing, family is cultural school and so it’s good to make group with like minded people. My answer is variety is the spice and beauty of this world. Please don’t spoil it. I agree family and caste has some role in building your character. Keep up the values and spread the values. For people who don’t feel complete without surnames. It’s bearable to have dad’s name or Family name (the max) as part of it. I cannot agree with taking caste bag along with name and keep repeating the non sense what our previous generations have done. It’s the educated and sensible young generation who has to take decision of keeping away from the surnames and save our next generation. Will you not do that? Take the initiatives and break the barriers of caste and creed .What we do today is part of tomorrow’s history.