Thirty-thousand names at one place. Even the pickiest of young parents looking for what to call their bundle of joy would say: Here is Gods plenty. Put together by veteran editor M.V. Kamath and educationist Kalindi Randeri, the book contains old-fashioned names like Arundhati, Lopamudra and Tryambak; modish ones like Aarushi and Rabhya and Lasita, improbable ones like Aa (supposed to mean both Shiva and Lakshmi), Yujya (a masculine name meaning capable) and Tatama (one of many, masculine as well as feminine). The book has all the makings of a popular wedding present.
Kamath and Randeri make a basic assumptionthat most names in India are of Sanskrit origin. But the Sanskrit emphasis has led to the neglect of many authentic desi words and names of Persian and Turkish origin. So you do not find Moti(lal), Jawahar(lal), Bahadur, Fateh or Hukam, Shabnam, Shefali or Shireen. Which is a pity because they are all honest Indian names. After all, who could be more genuinely Indian than Lal Bahadur?
One chapter for which the authors claim special credit gives the names of ragas and raginis. Here, fortunately, the Persian taboo has been waived. But despite the authors high commendations, it is unlikely that we shall be encountering a Puriyadhanashri Sinha or a Jhinjhoti Srivastava. Nor a Todi Singh.