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.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

These GHATTY's are so fond of surnames. I agree with u. When i joined my company in pune the guys were surprised that I didnt have a surname.
Jai Maharashtra!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Most of the time people are not aware of the fact that the "socialist mindbend" made folks give up surnames in Kerala.

That said, in North most people know that Nair is a surname - due to dubious reasons ofcourse.

And you are likely to see John Nairs and George Nairs and even Salim Nairs at petrol pumps than a real Nair. But that is what it is.

Laji said...

I am very happy to see the comments, sharing the experiences. Please introduce yourself. 'Anonymous' is not the identity that you deserve.

anu said...

hey guys why cant you think on a differnt plot. we may think what in a surname but this is a generation fading their background and ancestory.we indians are allover the world and our new generation is not even remembering our vast culture and roots.By keeping the surnames they may get a chance to look back to their origin and culture may think so

Laji said...

Hello anu,

I agree to the problem you pointed out. But do u think you are right in solution? Ask people who have surname, what their ancestors are? I think most of them will disappoint you :-).

What is the only thing remaining in the present generation who have their 'glamorous surname' is 'the proud’ and it may give the confidence boost of 'my previous generation was great, now I have to do something better'. But in this cost of a minority confidence booster we cannot neglect the vast majority here. 'Democracy in confidence boost' makes more sense is n't it? I mean to say, un equal opportunities and un fair advantages is not a nice thing to think of being rational. And I can very well feel that in Kerala. If their parents are smart enough, they can even pass on the information of their ancestors. I don’t think you need to have a tag for that along with the name.

Anonymous said...

ok well we keralites are better persons to keep up our culture and passing it through generations..And how can we blame the sensitive thoughts of some parents that their family,culture,roots and they themself may live throughout the upcoming generations.It is clear that we the new generation may not be proud of our deeds so sometimes try to be proud of our ancestors hi

Anonymous said...

ok well we keralites are better persons to keep up our culture and passing it through generations..And how can we blame the sensitive thoughts of some parents that their family,culture,roots and they themself may live throughout the upcoming generations.It is clear that we the new generation may not be proud of our deeds so sometimes try to be proud of our ancestors
anu
August 16, 2006 5:20 AM

Anonymous said...

and how can u say a man without a surname is deprived of proud.Proud goes well with surnames and without surnames. NOT ONLY IN KERALA BUT EVERY WHERE THESE PROBLEM EXISTS.U know now a days in maharashtra we can even heard after some dissappointed interviews people enquiring about the interviewers surname. In a no.1 company maharashtrian interviewer said to the candidate oh u r a keralite so go back to ur place and join there itself he is a low caste maharastrian and he just hate every upper class people in the same company this inferiority complex and frustrations are also existing in the modern world
anu

Anonymous said...

HOW CAN WE SIMPLY IGNORE THE IMPORTANCE OF SURNAME LAJI, U KNOW THE NEW GENERATION IS BL INDLY FOLLOWING THE WORSE ENGLISH CULTURE AND WE WILL ALSO GO SEARCHING NET FOR OUR ANCESTORS SOON. NOW A DAYS HOW MANY SITES ARE THEIR FOR ANCESTORIAL SEARCH BY FAMILY NAME SURNAME GENEALOGY SO AND SO NOT TOO FAR WE TOO REACH THAT POINT SEARCHING INTERNET FOR OUR ANCESTORS
ANU

Laji said...

Hey Anu..

"What my mom cook is the best food for me and what my taught is the culture for me". I heard this saying somewhere. English culture is bad in our perception. Anyway, culture itself is a vast topic, lets not get diverted.

Just reminding u of my point 'Proud gives confidence to a minority, and lets not help the same caste concept to give birth different classes again. Let the classes in the society be on the basis of potential. This cannot be stopped. If we stop the class creation on the basis of potential, development will remain a distant dream. Compassionate socialism is the only thing practical'. I really dont understand, y we need surnames to know about our ancestors...

thanks for making discussion intresting...

Prasanth "PC" Chandrahasan said...

So very true. I kind of removed my surname and first name and now lives with an abbreviated nick name. And it works too.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing dubious about a Nair surname. Nairs were the original rulers and land onwers of Kerala and in the Kingdom of Mahabali - they are generous and proud. So lot others used the surname to gain respectability and misused. Like the Khare - there are Khare Nairs

Laji said...

For the last anonmous comment(This is why i recomend to specify names, I am not able address).

I really did nt get the point u were making !

Hiren said...

An interesting thought process. Berefot of sirnames, you are left with only your own identity and knowing one's identiy goes a long way in long term success and happiness.

Anonymous said...

By denying use of sirnames you are depriving others of having sadistic satisfaction. "See we are superior to this guy without doing anything".

My Space said...

A good thot laji..after all wats in a name..arose without its name wud still smell the same.. :)

smitha said...

Hi laji,

I am keralite with no surname, I am a masters student in the US, I m tired of answering ppl here.....

why hell do people need surname. I want to publish an article in my school journal regarding this, if someone could help me