The IndUS Network e-magazine
Entertainment, Edutainment, Enrichment ™

Mar 2013

Celebrating Names!

When I was young, poverty was so common that we didn't know it had a name.

- Lyndon B. Johnson

Magnolia: American and Asian shrubs and trees with evergreen or deciduous leaves and
usually blooms showy white, yellow, rose, or purple flowers usually appearing in early spring.
This plant is named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol (1715)

Image credit:

Editor's Desk

What's in a name?

So, what's in a name? As someone said, "Words have meaning, names have power". A name evokes a feeling in one's mind. It could be a feeling of fear or love or respect or admiration.

The practice of naming is so old that it is hard to pin-point when exactly this began in history. Anthropologists and historians believe that naming practice started within each clan to differentiate one person from the other. Each clan or community kept a pool of names which they used repeatedly. Initially, a name was a noun, like Krishna, Valmiki, Radha, Dasaratha, John, Richard, Donald, Rhys etc. Later in order to differentiate between a junior Dasaratha from a senior Dasaratha, syllables, letters and suffixes were added to the original name like Daasaratha, Raadha, Johnson, Richardson, McDonald, Reese etc. But these simplistic model did not help when traders and rulers invaded various continents. At this point, the concept of Surnames were introduced. The surnames were either

  • Patronomic or Matronomic - Specifies father's name or mother's name. Example: In European culture Martin Richards means Martin son of Richards.
  • Locative - Specifies the location from where they come from. Example: de London (originating from London), de York (originating from York), De Mello (originating from Mello in Portugal) . In Indian culture the location comes in the front as Seerkazhi Govindarajan (originating from Seerkazhi), Vayalur Ravi (originating from Vayalur).
  • Toponomic - Specifies the geographical feature of the place they come from. Example: Faith Hill (one who came from the hill), De Costa (one who came from the coast), De Souza (one who came from a salty place),Vemulapalli (one who came from a village) and Venkatagiri (one who came from a hill)
  • Epithets - Specifies some of their personal features or characteristics. Example: Neil Armstrong (one who has a strong arm), Adam Slyman (one who slys away), John Peppercorn (one who is short), Lambodara (one who has a large stomach), Visalakshi (one who has a wide-eye), Indrajit (one who vanquished Indra), Parasuram (one who has a parasu or axe)
  • Occupational name - Specifies the occupation they do. Example: Baker (one who bakes), Taylor (one who tailors), Brewer, Weaver, Smith, Marshall (a tender of horses, or an office of high state) and Steward (a manager of an estate) and Abbott (the head of an abbey). Equivalent feminine versions are Baxter, Brewster, Webster. But some of the feminine versions have lost its gender use and is used for male too. In Indian culture you can observe the following occupational names - Gandhi (grocer), Modi (merchants), Patel (land owner or village leader), Mehta (bookkeeper), Parikh (examiner), Topiwala, Daruwala, Screwvala, and Cyclewala, Major, Merchant, Engineer, Contractor, Banker and Pilot. The occupation kar (money lenders and goldsmith) is more recognizable due to Gavaskar and Tendulkar.
  • Caste/Community name - Specifies the community sect they belong. Not sure about the world but India is a classic example of this practice. You can observer Raju, neni, Reddy, Choudhary, Naidu, Yadav, Goud, Setty, Gupta, Rao, Rau, Row, Iyer, Iyengar, Thevar, Pillai.
  • Exceptional Patterns - Named that combine many surname types into one - South Indian names usually fall into this pattern. It contains multiparts to it. For example E.M.S. Namboodiripad’s initials, for instance, stood for Elamkulam (his place of birth), Manakkal (house name), Sankaran (given name) and Namboodiripad (caste/community). Another example is Kancheepuram (place) Srinivasan (Father's name) Venkataraman (personal name) Iyengar (Community/Caste name).

Thus naming has come a long way. Today with the advent of computers, a name is strictly assumed to have 3 parts - First name-Middle name-Last name. The 3 parts are expected to hold Personal name-Father's name-Surname (see above types) in the same order. Every human born today is expected to have a 3 part name. Gone are the days when you can name your child the way you want. Now you have to name it with 3 parts, period. If you do not have 3 parts to your name then you will assigned standard acronymns FNU, MNU or LNU for the missing part. The acronymn FNU, MNU and LNU stands for 'First Name Unknown', 'Middle Name Unknown' and 'Last Name Unknown'. You cannot have any more beautiful names like Rama, Sita or Krishna. Your beautiful name like Rama, Sita or Krishna can become like an Automobile registration number such as Sita-MNU-LNU or FNU-Rama-LNU or FNU-MNU-Krishna. You better formulate your own 3 part name before a computer inserts its unknown acronymns to your name ! BTW, who decided this format and who approved this format? Sounds like a hurried software engineer's design. Someone should really revisit this assumption. Ludicrous!

Coming to this edition, we are celebrating names. We covered as many South Indian names as we could cover in the Tamil song section. If you are from South India, check out to see whether your name is covered. If not give us a shout with an email. In the health section we have covered information on brain health. In the brain-tickler section we have some real stories behind famous brand names. More importantly, we have a new section to this edition - Bollywood Chartbusters. Don't fail to watch or listen. Now, read, enjoy and share the magazine with your network!

  • In the Brain-tickler category:
    • Story behind famous brand names ... : What were they thinking while naming the company?
  • In the Health Topic section:
    • Learn about Brain in the article "A to Z of Brain"
    • Know about the latest harvard study, "Sugary drinks linked to 180,000 deaths worldwide"
  • In the English Song category:
    • Listen to our English song Picks - 'House Song' picks!
    • Listen to the picked songs continuously with our Jukebox!
  • In the Seriously Funny section:
    • Watch the clip - "Funny Doctor Names: They are real doctors with real names!"
    • Read the humor, "I think I will name her Sarah ..."
    • Read the humor, "Soon Fatt" - A real chinese restaurant name
  • Special in this Edition: 2013 Bollywood Charbusters
    • Listen to our Bollywood song Picks - 2013 Charbusters!
    • Listen to the picked songs continuously with our Jukebox!
  • In the Surfboard section:
    • Read the story "Story of two pots ..."
  • In the Tamil Picks section:
    • Enjoy the 10 Tamil songs picked out of 50+ songs we reviewed for "Celebrating Names"!
    • Enjoy the video picks continuously, on-demand in our new video channel.
    • Listen to the song picks continuously in Jukebox.
    • Read the tamil poem picks "Per Vaanguvom"
  • In the Recipe Spot section:
    • Learn how to make "Millet Idli and Dosa" at home.
  • Nuggets:
    • Check our thought nuggets on 'Name' theme
      - "Name is a fence ..."- in Editor's desk section
      - "I wish my name was Brian ...", "Chaos is a name give to ... " - in Health section
      - "A Japanese proverb on name ..." - in Surfboard section
      - "Music can name ..." - in the Video Channel section
      - "Opportunity knocks, but ..."- in Reader's footprint section
      - "A leader does not deserve the name ..." - in Your feedback section
  • Get Inspired by watching the video "Are you a leader?"

As always, we are very confident that you will enjoy our picks. Write your feedback about this issue by clicking on the email icon or feedback icon. We truly value your opinion, thoughts and time.

Editor's Desk Image credit:,

Name is a fence ...


"Name is a fence
and within it
you are nameless."

- Samuli Paronen

20 Million KB Downloaded in 2012! Many Million Thanks to our readers! ... Subscribe to "the IndUS Network" Today!

Subscribe to the IndusNetwork eMagazine, it is FREE.
Enter your Email Id and click Subscribe:

Privacy policy: Your email id will not be shared or sold to any one and will be solely owned by "theIndUS Network".