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Sunday, February 3, 2013

 എന്റെ ഫോട്ടോ
 Rajesh from Karippal is a brilliant former student of the Department of English, Payyanur College.  He took his masters from Calicut University and then entered teaching profession.  He worked in Mali for some years and is presently in UAE.  Here in this article he looks at the ideological aspects of names and naming.This is an article from his blog.  Please visit:

Gender Male
Industry Education
Occupation Teacher
Location Al Faseel, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
Introduction i'm going to begin from the beginning
Interests reading, listening to music
Favorite Movies A knife in the water, The Pianist
Favorite Music Ghasals
Favorite Books Heart of Darkness, Love in the time of Cholera, If on a winter's night a traveller

2012, മാർച്ച് 31, ശനിയാഴ്ച

What's Your Name?

"What's in a name?That which we call a  rose                                                                                        
By any other name would smell as sweet."
(William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene ii)

Juliet attaches no importance to a name. The rose would smell sweet even if you call it by another name. It’s not the name but the person who is important.

A jump cut to Alex Hailey to find out how invaluable the name is. The protagonist in The Roots is Kunda Kinte who eschews the name given to him by his slave master. He is not ready to give up his identity. His name is deeply rooted in his clan, his culture and his individuality. “What’s your name”? The question is put to Kunda Kinte with the cracking of the whip and he stubbornly refuses to be baptized as Toby. The name embodies everything.

The name is given in a language. Language and name are inextricably interwoven. When an African name like Kunda Kinte is changed into Toby, he loses his identity.

The days of racial segregation still hovers around the black people. The days of apartheid are over, no one can denigrate them as niggers, kuklux Klan can no longer terrorize them.

The little black boy, as in William Blake’s poem, realizes that he has become black due to over exposure to the sun. The sunlight is God’s grace. Unlike his white brother, he has received God’s love in abundance. That’s why he has become so black! 

The slave masters were transformed into colonial masters. Language was used to subjugate the colonized. Names were attributed freely to humiliate the indigenous people. Empires were formed mixing blood with words.

The language of the master played a pivotal role in history because language is power. The symbiotic relationship between the two can never be overlooked.

Literature employs language. Hence it is impossible to ignore the way the language is used in fiction, poetry and other genres. Language is not an innocuous tool to create aesthetics. It is a political manifestation of the dominant powers and their hegemonic ideology.

The Red Indians have a language which they lost in the process of colonization, the Maoris were forced to learn English and there are umpteen examples in history where the extinction of language paved the way for the extinction of culture. Language, it is said, is the road map of culture.

What about a society with multi-cultural and polyphonic background? There is no one dominant language, rather languages and cultures. Even in such a scenario, it is quite ostensible that the dominance of the hegemonic ideology is apparent.

As Ngugi Wa Thiongo observes in his Decolonizing the Mind, “Bullet was the means of physical subjugation, while language is the means of spiritual subjugation”.

Don’t you think that there are so many things involved in a name?