Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Begane naamkaran mein Abdullah deewana

What's in a name? A controversy by any other name would smell as tweet.” - Shakespeare

Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan had a baby boy yesterday and decided to name him Taimur. And Twitter India lost its digital shit. In an ideal world, it’s nobody’s business what the parents name their kids. But then, we don’t live in an ideal world and Saifeena comprise a universe that fall under the label celebs. Whatever they do is going to be microscoped; something they fully understand. That’s the price of fame everybody from Hollywood to Bollywood pays. When Kimye named their child North West, there were tweets/jokes floating all around. The same happened when Beyonce and Jay Z named their ward Blue Ivy. Apparently, normal names are for normal people and celebs aren’t perceived as normal. They are considered a notch above not only in their lifestyle but also in their outlook. Which is why it’s understandable how Taimur managed to create a buzz on social media—in tandem with mass media, of course; partners in crime—to such an extent that his name trended for over 24 hours. That’s no small feat. The boy is not even a day old and he sticks to the list like magnet. Even Virat Kohli’s excellence doesn’t let him trend for a day. People’s attention keeps diverting and so do the trending topics. As far as Taimur is concerned, the initial response was a mix of aha and horror, which eventually graduated to hmm and shock and ultimately to ahem and wow. So what really triggered this extreme reaction? For one, Taimur, a variation of Timur, is a historic personality best remembered for his conquest as well as brutality. His Islamic agenda is well-documented and he figures in the top-10 list of mass murderers in recorded history. Taimur is of Turkic origin and signifies strength. It is indeed a rare name at least in Indian context. In a simplistic manner of speaking, he stood for bloodshed but then which great conqueror of the past didn’t? Mao alone was responsible for the death of over 50 million people and he wasn’t even a conqueror! Names like Darius and Xerxes are popular in Iran although both are pre-Islamic and were marked by terror. Omar is a popular name in the Muslim world and means exactly what Amar does: immortal. Similarly, a lot of Arab kids are named Saladin even though the great warrior was of Kurdish origin. Ashoka was an exception in the sense that he gave up violence after butchering villages after villages, thus ensuring his legacy is less tainted. Speaking of whom, we need to understand how significant one-word names are different from the ones with a surname attached. Famous names from history like Buddha, Paigambar, Akbar, Che, etc are words either embraced by or entrusted upon the individuals in question. You hear Mahatma, you think of Gandhiji. (You should ideally think of Phule but that’s a different debate altogether.) This might explain why you’ll still find kids named Adolf in Germany or Augusto in Chile; a different surname becomes the safety net. One-word names like Taimur or Aurangazeb are independent to the point that you automatically think of those two historic figures when you hear such names. Saifeena, in their defense albeit they don’t need to defend anything, can say that they don’t care about Timur or what he did. But that’d be a lame—no pun intended—explanation, especially for a couple that hails from an industry that binges on established names. After all, the nicest part of this pseudo-controversy is people are suddenly interested in "the most boring subject" called history.

I hope I trend on Twitter someday.” - Timur’s last words

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