Now that Jonty Rhodes named his kid India in April this year we will give him the key to the country. While just a couple of days ago we handed the rusty ‘chain’ to Taimur because it drove so many of us into paroxysms of rage.
When the editor of Firstpost asked me if I could do a piece remarking on how this April announcement would largely be received like a benediction I burst out laughing and said half the Caribbean cricket team is of Indian origin, is it a big deal.
It is a nice thing, good show and all that, happy for the Rhodes (whose name might well have been given after Cecil of Rhodesia ) but not earth shattering in any way. We tend to get so carried away by names and associations that whether it is rage or praise, there is an out of bounds reaction. It is questionable but does it have something to do with a shortage of self-esteem. Why cannot all this be in the normal course of things instead of constantly looking like we are needy for approbation and endorsement.
Not that Jonty is the first. There have been some before him and Aussie star Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) actually wanted to call his son Indiana (after Jones) but since the baby was a girl they lopped the ‘a’ off. That’s all.
And before we get too excited about it let’s take stock of the fact that as a favourite name it has dropped from 297 position in the Top 1,000 to nowhere on the list in 2011 and now supposedly at 927 or thereabouts.
It is a sobering thought that George Bush called his cat India which kind of puts things in perspective. And while we are on sobering thoughts India is actually derived from the Indus river most of which flows through Pakistan territory from its origins in Tibet.
I don’t think Jonty or anyone else intended to praise us as a people or extol our virtues, he just liked the sound of the name. Like the people of Dakota didn’t fall about because the Channings called their daughter that. But we will go overboard, make it look like we have been given a certificate of merit. Brooklyn, Camden, Austin, Alexandria, Sydney, Virginia, ask Paris Hilton or Savannah, it is not exceptional.
Famous people named India include India Hicks (English royalty and fashion model); India de Beaufort (British actress/musician) and that is about it.
This inclination we have to hug to our bosoms anyone with the Indian connection and set it to music like we had been awarded some accolade is pretty childish.
How quick we are to link up with someone who was remotely Indian in the distant past. VS Naipaul told us to buzz off and we still would not let up. We ran after Hargobind Khurana but we could not catch up. Vijay Singh putted us out and we still want to act as if he is Indian. Bobby Jindal won’t even admit it.
Oddly, Prince William, heir to the British throne has been found to have Indian ancestry and if he gets crowned one day we will have an Indian king in London and won’t that give us cheap thrills. Believe his DNA testing showed that the India part in his saliva is believed to originate from Williams’s great-great-great-great-great grandmother Eliza Kewark.
According to the Mail: “Although often described as Armenian, DNA analysis has revealed that she was at least half-Indian and is known to have lived in the country’s western region.”
Maharashtrian, Gujarati, khem cho, Willyum?
First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 21:45 IST