Are Names Permanent?

Since a child is conceived in a mother’s womb, every member of the family starts thinking and discussing about the name of the baby. Each member has a different name in their mind as per their liking. When the baby is born, he/she is given a name but his/her grandparent might call him/her by a different name and similar with the parents. Then the baby starts going to school, he gets a formal name by which he is recognized in school. And finally he makes a name for himself which is different all together and by which the world recognize him, even after several years of his death. And hence I feel that names are permanent because the person is remembered by his name for the achievements he accomplished during his life, even after his death.

However, let’s talk about the naming and renaming of the places. The history of place-names is very interesting for what it has to tell us about the manner in which people chose to identify their own and others’ areas of residence. Surely, “naming is a means of identifying properties which people believed rendered a place socially and culturally significant”, but I don’t believe that renaming is changing a place’s identity. The significance of the place remains the same and also the historical names are present in the memories of people and are remembered. People might call the renaming or changing of the name of a place, corruption. I don’t agree. Connaught Place was renamed as Rajiv and Indira chowks several years ago but still people call it C.P. or Connaught Place. This shows that the earlier name or its history is never lost and will always be lived and remembered by the numerous generations.

“Names were also subject to corruption, especially when changes in the demographic composition of a region introduced new residents, who had little regard for the features believed to provide uniqueness to an area.”[1] Post partition, it was necessary, I feel, to make the migrants feel at home and welcomed. Renaming certain places according to the size of the population was step towards the same. However, there were a fraction of people who took a stand against this renaming process and yet again, one could see the people moving forward along with the past- preserved and remembered.

Hence, I would say names are permanent. There is a flip side to the coin. Many would say if it’s easy enough to change the name of place without much consequences, then permanence is out of question only. But, I believe, keeping up with the modernity and the past at the same time is what permanence means. That the rich history of the place is preserved and the coming generations feel free to call the place theirs by naming the place their way.

[1]Kumar Sunil. Present in Delhi’s Past.

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