Kashmir Files: Names do matter

After yesterday’s Part 1 learning from Kashmir Files, here goes the second most important message that I took away after watching the movie, this is definitely not a review, but just like Part 1 of yesterday, this is a takeaway from watching the film.

Names matter, because among everything else, it is a mark of our identity in this world and they evoke emotions much stronger than words can explain. So to put it simply, Vivek Agnihotri evoked emotions through the naming of the characters in his film. A name is much like a mantra – specific sounds or vibrations which have effects on the body and mind. Just like mantras when either chanted aloud or repeated silently can create a desired effect in any area of our physiology or life, it’s the same with names. Look at the number of times a name will be said or written in one’s lifetime to realize its importance! For example, my name – Manjira, an Indian musical instrument, usually used in kirtans. Because of my name, “life ne mera bajaaya aur main bhi sabka bajaati hoon”.

But to get more serious, there was a time when in our culture, our names had meaning and a lot of them were names and derived meanings of kings, queens, warriors, rishis, sanyasis and various other characters from history, each standing for a certain value or trait. People didn’t name children in order to be different. Infact people took naming a child so seriously, that some parents refrained from naming children after sanyasis because they didn’t want the child to leave “sansaardharm”, or material life. Of course, naming also had to do with one’s birth charts, but I will leave that part out for the purpose of this article. However the names parents kept for their children, always carried a piece of cultural, familial and historical connections.

Cut to the present. People in a rush to be different, have started keeping weird names that they deem to be stylish, from all over the world. Everything from Egyptian to Italian to Greek to Iranian, anything but Bharatiya. I just remembered a friend of mine who had told me why she hadn’t named her daughter as per our culture – because such names are kept by maids and drivers! Such is the influence of soft power of Western nations, if you come to think of it. But this movie has characters that are replete with Durga, Sharda, Shiva, Krishna, Lakshmi, Vishnu and Brahma. The name Pushkar Nath of Anupam Kher’s character was the actual name of Kher’s father., and that’s a little trivia as a sidenote. But all the names in the film represent various facets of our culture through the deities that are worshipped – knowledge, wealth, power, to name a few, that can give rise to debates on which is more important but none can ignore as any of them being inconsequential. We should take a message from this and get inspired to grow out of the names that somewhere got Bollywood and Hollywood inspired, and start keeping names maids and drivers kept for their children. Think of a name as a mantra and the perspective changes! Do you want to manifest and leave behind a Vidya, or a Satya for our Vasudha?

Thank you for this beautiful learning Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri and team!

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