Thursday, 21 April 2011

Looking to the East, are we?

Over the past few months I have been noticing an increasing trend, particularly among the artistic community, and been intrigued by the reasons behind it.

What I see, is quite a few artists/ designers have started to communicate their names in the surname first format somewhat akin to the East Asian format. Some have even shortened their surnames to initials. For instance someone named Vikram Roy, would now call himself Roy Vikram or even R. Vikram. Whats the big deal, you might say.

Now consider this, earlier, when India was at the peak of its colonial influence, the pre-independence era, many scholars would change their names to make it more palatable to the West. So the Bandopadhyays became Banerjees, in some cases even Bonnerjis. The psychological aspect of such a change could be viewed as a desire to belong or be more user-friendly to the West.

So does the new naming order signify a definite paradigm shift in the psychology of the Indian art community. Are we trying to belong to East Asia? Also, considering that unlike East Asians, most South Asian surnames have distinct caste-based overtones, would this newly adopted format be wise?

Many public figures including politicians and film actors have earlier gone in length to adopt caste-neutral surnames like Kumar, Dev, etc. That was understandable. However, the sudden re-emergence of caste-focussed names, especially in this format, where family name precludes first name, is something that intrigues me. Are we doing it consciously, keeping these implications in mind, or is it just a fad to be "different" ?

Without being judgemental, I am just plain curious. I would love to hear the reasons behind this new naming format from all of you.

P.S. I am a self confessed Japanophile, but I have yet to feel the need to flip the format of my name.


  1. I've sheen better. I shwapped the shyllables of my firsht name, and called myshelf Zhiero.

  2. Afterthought... will we havee to shtart calling you GP?

  3. I didn't know about the not for it at all.

  4. i am not for or against...but i'd first like to know the reasons behind it..

  5. In today's society, the cast system hardly has any relevance. Whatever one may say, we know this is the truth.

    I personally do not understand the need for a surname any more.

    Long back, surnames indicated professions, or skills. But nowadays?

    If you ask me my name, I generally would stop at Anupama. Good enough, I guess.