Published on Sunday, March 16, 2014

The love birds across the world, in past half a millennium, have been vouching with "What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;". But the name did matter then as it does now also.

Very recently Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry has banned 50 names. The ban was justified by saying that the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or were foreign, or inappropriate. The names fit into at least three categories: (1) those that offend perceived religious sensibilities, (2) those with royal connotations and (3) those that are of non-Arabic or non-Islamic origin.

'Abdul Nabi' (worshiper of Nabi), 'Abdul Rasool', 'Iman' and 'Rama' (Hindu God) etc. fall under category-1. Under category-2 comes names like 'Amir' (prince), 'Malika' (queen), 'Sumuw' (highness) etc.. For category-3, one can cite the names like 'Alice', 'Linda' & 'Elaine' etc..

So, henceforth no new born child can be given any of these 50 names in Saudi Arabia. However, it was not made clear about the fate of these 50 banned names which are already in use in the kingdom. Anything is possible in Saudi Arabia. It may not hesitate to follow George Orwell's 1984 to clear-up the records as if these 50 names did never exist in Saudi Arabia.

There is another bit of confusion. The banned 50 names do not make an exhaustive list under above mentioned three categories. As for example, the 'perceived religious sensibility' may call for inclusion of many other names in banned list in future. Similarly there may be dozens of names with royal connotations which have not been banned. And so far words of non-Arabic and non-Islamic origin are concerned, the list is simply never ending and choosing a few for the list of banned names will not serve any purpose.

Surprisingly, a number of names appeared in the banned list do not necessarily fit into any of the three categories. It is therefore not clear as to why those were banned. Names such as 'Binyamin' and 'Abdul Naser' are not particularly offensive to Arabs. Binyamin is believed in Islam to be the son of Prophet Jacob (Yaqoub) and the brother of Prophet Joseph, but it also happens to be the name of the Israeli Prime Minister. Abdul Naser, similarly, is the name of the famous Arab nationalist ruler of Egypt, who was at odds with Saudi Arabia.

On lighter side, further confusion has come up as to what will happen if any foreign national with any one of these 50 banned names visits Saudi Arabia? Will he/she need to use some alias while in Saudi Arabia? I am concerned about the fate of Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami of BD. Poor chap; he has to change his designation now as per the whim of his Arab masters.

One wonders about how far Arab stupidity can go in 'name' business for the supposed sake of Arabic culture, religion and royalties. The Arab slaves of BD will try to follow Saudi masters and start cleaning Bengali very soon. Such weird act confirms the vulnerability and intolerance on the part of Arabic culture, religion and royalties. Let us see how long the US infidels can protect this rich and fat human zoo.

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