Your name never reflects your character. While that’s the hope at the time of naming a child, that cannot be and is not the expectation. Some really bad people in India have had great names. So, the point is not about names. When discussing Taimur, to say Gandhi’s killer had a Ram in his name, is factually right but a poor argument.
Gandhi’s killer having a Ram in his name shouldn’t have been a surprise because names don’t have to match character. So, to name someone Hitler or Bush or Osama doesn’t mean we fear that the child will grow up to be a terrible human being. If it’s about the future of the child, we have no role there.
The reason people in India will not willingly name a street ‘Aurangazeb Road’ is because you get to utter the name of a murderous killer and end up giving him unnecessary air time and mind space. Plus, it evokes memories. Naming of anything – be it child, road, museum, airport – are all meant to evoke memories. And you want good memories to be evoked. I’m guessing, in Poland, there are no child, road, dams, stadia being named Hitler. The less remembered the better. The way even the first name ‘Adolf’ has been stigmatised in all languages is very well documented. On the measure of character and scale of violence, Taimur was as terrible as Hitler. But some people have a confusion on whether to equate India to Poland or Germany. Only that even in Germany, there are no Adolfs anymore.
A man goes to the municipal building and speaks to a clerk. He says that he’s been living with a shameful name for too long, and he’s finally had too much so he wants his name legally changed immediately. The clerk looks at him in shock and asks, “What on earth could your name be to cause you to act this way?” To which the man answers, “My name is Adolf Fuckhead.”
The clerk draws back and says, “Ah, I see what you mean, Herr Fuckhead. What shall your new first name be?”
If anything, this episode has helped raise the awareness in the general public of Taimur and re-kindled the debate on how some of the mughal invaders and tyrants must be viewed and how their time must be captured in our history books.
There’s nothing wrong on the part of Saif and Kareena to have named their child Taimur. Also there’s nothing wrong in the following debate on the name either. To suppress either is intolerance. On the part of the celebrity couple its either ignorance or insensitivity. On the part of the mainstream media, the reaction to this showed tremendous intolerance.
In many ways, this little episode summed up the current climate – a nice blend of ignorance, insensitivity and intolerance.