Umashankar Tripathi used to be a man until the British cut his compound name into two pieces. Now Uma S Tripathi is clearly a woman, going by the name that is. A proud woman nevertheless – because s/he has a middle name now. Ever since we had discovered a correlation between fair skin and middle names, Indians, en masse, butchered their names. The skin complexion did not change, though. Worse, by this process of name-cutting, people like Umashankar, Vishnupriya and Ramanimohan apparently changed their gender!
Even when the temptation of changing onet’s gender is not there, it’s difficult to resist a middle name. Manmohan Singh always wanted to have a middle name, and he got one now, by being Man Mohan Singh. This did not change his gender, but put an emphasis on his gender. How many people on earth have a first name of Man or Woman?
Some Indians may not know how to get the glory of having a middle name. BCCI is there to help some of them. Sourav Ganguly had always been Sourav Ganguly. Just that. Until one fine morning when he got himself registered with BCCI as a cricket player; he had to swallow his dad’s not-so-modern name as his middle name. He became Sourav Chandidas Ganguly. Ironically, his father writes his name Chandi Das Ganguly and not Chandidas Ganguly!
May be it’s time we give the middle finger to such middle names. If we really have a middle name, it’s well and good (Like First Singh Last, or names involving village names, birthplace, parent’s or relative’s names). But the people that do not have one, need not manufacture a middle name.