Posted by: kcgadiyar | June 24, 2012

Random observations on the “Most popular Indian baby names” chart

In between the many random discussions at work, me and a friend started discussing commonly seen names among different communities. We agreed that “Jose” is probably the most common Hispanic name, and maybe “Joe” or “Mark” may be likewise for Americans. When the topic came to Indians, i figured the most common names must be “Rahul” “Divya” etc. Basically, names which if you go on the street and scream out, at least 5 people will respond (“Karthik” fits into this in most parts of south India).

Based on that i decided to check out the most popular baby names in India, and let’s just say i was way off the mark as to what is popular nowadays. I guess once you have 1.2+ billion people, you really need to stretch for names (as one of my friends put on Twitter today “In about 20 years, the hardest thing our kids will have to do, is find a username that isn’t taken.”).

That said, here are random observations from the most popular Indian baby names list found here: http://www.babycenter.in/pregnancy/naming/india-top-baby-names-2011/

1. That is a lot of A’s: If you have clicked through to the link, you would have seen that of the top 40 names, 19 start with A. This, i think is entirely due to people wanting their children to be Roll No.1 in class. It gets more ridiculous when you consider that 6 of the names start with AA. We are soon approaching a future where a kid whose name starts with J will probably be Roll No. 40 in a class of 50 after all the Aarav, Aadi, Aarush, Aanya, Aarya brigade. (Hell, Aarya may be Roll No.10 or more)

Image

Aaron A Aaronson would be proud

2. We really really hate 3 syllables: Of the top 40 names, 7 have more than 2 syllables, none have more than 3, gone are the Rukmini, Mohini kind of names which took effort to pronounce, the names need to roll off the tongue easily.

Image

A name like Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi will never be seen again

3. Future generations will have an easier time filling out OMR sheets: This goes hand in hand with the previous two points, with names having more A’s and being shorter, OMR sheets are going to be a cinch to fill up in the future. As opposed to a fictional “Vyshnav Venkateshwaran Veejaykumar” who probably curses the guy who thought up OMR sheets

I hated these things with a vengeance

4. Apart from A – R,S, V and D seem to be favored: To such an extent that of the top 40 names, only 6 names don’t start with any of these letters. Why is this so is a logical question to be asked. Only answer i can think of is that since names starting from these letters were quite popular in our generation (i.e. the Rahul and Raj generation), it makes sense that some parents will want to name their kids with the letters starting from their own names which might explain the popularity of these non-A letters

Hi, i am !xobile and this is my son !xoxile

5. Angel and Pari are really popular names – Please, please tell me this is not because of the popularity of “Heyy Babyy”. There is a difference between calling someone “My little angel” or “Meri nanhi pari” in your facebook photo albums and actually naming someone “Angel” or “Pari”. Do you want your kid to suffer through school? The endless teasing alone will make your daughter hate you. Parents may think it is about their nature that they are as cute as an angel. In school, the only thing kids will ask is “Where are the wings?” The only worse name i can think of would be naming your daughter “Princess”

Or if you want to go all out “Princess Angel”

6. People really seem to be researching for sources – There are names from Greek and Hebrew origin, from Gods and Goddesses and from nature. And after all that effort to research names, to make sure the origins are arcane enough, the name means something nice and is short enough to easily write, a ton of people seem to arrive at the same names rendering all that effort moot.

Should have just gone with “Angel”

7. Uniqueness – The blurb in the article that i found most interesting was “Ananya (incomparable) holds on to the no.1 position in India for two years in a row, celebrating the uniqueness of every little girl.” I don’t think much else needs to be said. Every girl is so unique that in the end they all have the same name. This is almost like the “Smartphone beta test ad by Nokia”

8. A lot of kids are going to be asked “So what does your name mean?” constantly in the future – Of the names listed, i think i knew the meaning for almost none, so the question “What is your name?” will almost always be followed by “Nice name, what does it mean?” for so many kids, especially the ones who have to explain “It is greek, or hebrew in origin”

Mine either means “God of War” or “One who brings happiness”. Guess which one i prefer.

9. No movie or sport star names – Weirdly enough, there are NO names which are movie star names. Not a single Salman, Shahrukh, Akshay or more surprisingly Sachin in the bunch. I guess the star worship is limited to watching movies and matches and not so much to naming kids. This is probably good news, a lot of kids probably were saved from being named “Mahendra Singh” when India won the world cup.

Look for more Ayushmann’s next year though (or maybe even Vicky)

So those were my random observations on a list which probably did not deserve this much thinking into it. But hey, as long as you guys liked reading it (the things i do for my 5 readers)

Until Next Time.

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  1. […] Random observations on the “Most popular Indian baby names” chart […]


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