What is in name?
-- Rajendra Chaddha,www.hvk.org
What is common between Daya Shankar, Dinesh, Sunil, Nirmala, Deepak, Kirti, Shakti Singh, Bhanu Pratap, Vivekenanda, Kapil, Manohar, Vidyadhar, Arvind, Shanti Prasad, Premchand, Vimla, Anand, Vinod Kumar, Jyoti, Rajni, Jai Shree, Yashwant, Shalini, Ajay Singh and Ajat Shatru?
These are Hindu names, seem to be the only common factor between the above mentioned words. Prem Chand was the great Hindi writer, Vivekananda the Hindu saint, Kapil (Dev) the cricket player, Bhanu Pratap (Shukla) a media commentator, Yashwant (Sinha) India's Finance Minister and Ajat Shatru the Tourism Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The rest names like Dinesh, Sunil, Deepak, Manohar, Arvind, Anand, Vimla, Vinod and Jyoti are the most popular Hindu names. What else could be the common factor between the above mentioned names and hundreds of similar names?
These are Christian names according to the book "Hindi Christian names" published by the priests and brothers of the Society of St. Paul who "proclaim the Gospel through the modern means of communication". A team of Christian theologians under the Hindi Catholic Literature Committee has compiled the names.
These names have been meticulously selected by the Christian missionary organisations as the Hindi version of the Christian names to be used during their evangelicalisation process in the Hindi belt. The existences of similar text for other regions of India like Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the West Bengal could not be ruled out.
"The present list of Christian names is not exhaustive; still care has been taken not to omit any name commonly used in northern India. Where this was not feasible, the translation has been made to sound as like an existing name as possible," says the forward of the book published in 1990.
This the Christian whose name should have been Abraham becomes 'Kulnath' having the same meaning of "father of the multitude." Absolem meaning the father of peace is given the Hindi name of Dayashankar. The Chrtistian name Adelbert meaning nobly bright becomes Dinesh in the Hindi heartland. Deepak one of the most common names of this part of the country is the Hindi equivalent of Albert meaning illustrious. Similarly a Christian having the name Agatho which literally means good and kind is popularly known as Sushil.
Adam, another Christian name, which means red earth, is known as Prithviputra. The real name of Vir Singh, a Christian convert, is Amos meaning strong and courageous. Bhanu Pratap is the Hindi convert of Apollonius, Kirti the Hindi of Augustina meaning Exalted and consecrated and Rajendra and Bhupendra in fact really is Basil meaning Kingly.
The Christian missionaries have changed Bertram into Vivekenanda and Gyanachandra. If Bruno, meaning brown, in Hindi has been given the name of Kapil and Bhurelal, Callistus, meaning beautiful, becomes Manohar and Sudershan.
The names Vidyadhar, Budhi Chandra and Gyan Chandra has been chosen by the Christian missionaries as Hindi equivalent of Conrad, meaning bold in counsel.
A baptised Erasmus is named Lalit and Sunder, Justin becomes Sunita, Joseph becomes Buddhi Chandra, Joel becomes Anant Prakash, James becomes Vikrant, John becomes Anugrah, Josue becomes Mukti Sagar and Imelda becomes Dev Raksha.
The compilers of the book say that the Hindi names have been chosen with similar meanings. "In finding an Indian, or rather Hindi, equivalent the normal procedure has been to choose an existing Indian name having same meaning," the forward of the book points out.
Thus Leander, meaning lion-man, is known as Shakti Singh; Lucy meaning light as Jyoti; Margaret meaning pearl as Mukta; Martin meaning dedicated to Mars as Mangala; Martha meaning ruler of the house as Malika; Matthew meaning gift of god as Ishwarprasad and Dev Prasad; Mercedes meaning ransom as Neha and Monica meaning lonely as Manika and Rani.
The Hindi name of Paula is Vinita and Anima; Peter becomes Shilalnanda or Shila Chandra; Philip becomes Ashwaghosh; Rebecca as Rupa or Manjula; Richard as Narendra; Rita as Swati; Roderick as Yashpal; Sabina as Manish; Samson as Surya Kant; Sarah as Rajkumari; Sabistian as Shradha Kumar and Silvia as Vipin Kumari.
The book has also tried to give a rough guideline about giving names. "Indian names ending in Anand should normally be taken by priests or religious only; wherever such names occur, another equivalent has been provided for general use," it observes.
According to the book the real name of Muktimani's should have been Stephen; Jugal Kishore and Yugal Kumar as Thomas; Dev Das as Timothy; Vijay Kumar as Victor, Jayanti as Victoria; Shanti Bala as Wilfred and Mukti Prakash as Xavier.
It is no surprise that Swami Mukti Prakash is a Christian leader.