Taimur or Faiz Ali Khan

During her break from lab work, my wife was just updating me on the latest hoo-ha out of Bollywood; that Saif wanted to rename his son to Faiz from Taimur but Kareena prevailed.

To be fair before the naming controversy last year I didn’t really connect Taimur with Tamerlane but I can understand the objections.

However I do think that India gives far too much of a pass to its Bollywood fraternity. Taimur Ali Khan is by rights 3/4 Hindu by descent but the way he’s been named (like his older half-siblings) it’s straight up Muslim.

To be honest I don’t think Saif was trying to invoke the ghost of Taimur but even so I do think a classy Hindu/neutral name would have worked.

If I had a child I would think of ways balancing out the heritage in the name so it would reflect all of its identity, rather than a part of it.

Alot of the Indian Bahá’í pioneers have very heavy Iranian/Muslim names but they started giving Hindu names to their next generations in order to better integrate. I was reading about this Buddhist/Muslim marriage in Ladakh (the NYTimes had profiled them with a strong sympathy for the Muslim perspective) and no surprise the Buddhist wife converted in the end.

This insistence on unilateral transmission of faith and identity makes Islam very difficult to digest in some societies. Maybe intermarriages should follow the Irish model where sons take on the confessional status of their fathers and daughters of their mother (until the Catholic Church put a stop to that) but again Islam has a problem with that.

Islam has a lot of problems; Muslims really need to start fixing them..

As an aside here is a little excerpt about young Taimur’s name sake (from the book, the Mongol Conquests):

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6 years ago

Zachary Latif, love your articles and perceptive observations as always.

Comment to nonmuslims (excluding the wise and suave Zachary Latif); Bollywood starlets and stars have every right to name their children however they want. Muslim names are good and inspire all of us to the transcendent. Some muslim names have sound power. Personally, I “LOVE” hearing muslim names, muslim music, muslim song, muslim painting, muslim dance. What matters is people’s hearts . . . the content of their character. Not these external trappings.

Please allow everyone to freely choose how to name their kids. Please don’t criticize. Thank you.

6 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Ghazni Ali Khan would have sounded as good. 🙂

PS: As the name connotes Taimur the Langda, if the kid has tough time in his kindergarten class, please don’t write blog posts complaining about sensitivity etc.

6 years ago

Zach, Appreciate you adding some details about Taimur the conqueror for ready reference. It doesn’t bother me that the kid got a muslim name though he has 3/4 Hindu blood. We do not have to weigh things that parochially and deterministically. Jawahar was a muslim name and nobody paid any attention to it when a Brahmin had it.

What I wanted to point out was when parents give unimaginative names which approaches parental abuse.

6 years ago

I think parents have a right to name their child whatever they want. But personally, I like the name Faiz better than Taimur. Faiz Ahmed Faiz was one of the greatest Urdu poets ever (certainly of the 20th century).

I don’t think “Jawahar” is a particularly Muslim name. It simply means “jewel”. My mother wanted to name my younger brother Jawahar, but was shot down because people started saying “Jawaharlal? As in Nehru?” (This was in Karachi in the late ’80s).

6 years ago

If I had a son, I would name him Faiz (after the poet) or Jahanzeb. For a daughter, I prefer Zeb-un-Nissa or Mehr-un-Nissa (you can see the Mughal trend).

On the Nehrus: the father’s name was Motilal (Moti meaning pearl) and the son’s name was Jawaharlal (Jawahar meaning ruby). I don’t see what is really Sanskrit about that 🙂

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