Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Am I ?

An Indian from the southern part generally has an identity crisis, when it comes to filling up forms etc., Right from our schooldays, we try and maintain our given name. Our full name consists of our given name and the father's name. So, the father's name becomes our "Initial". Many of my fellow tamilians, have grown up with the school recording their father's name as their name and the own given name being reduced to an initial! I have managed to solve most problems on the internet space, by using the initial as the 'First' name and the given name as the 'sur' name (in India) or the 'family' name.
In India, most family names denote their profession( many ancestors ago) or village. The brahmin from the tamil speaking state of TamilNadu, opressed by the politicians in the State since the last six decades, has given up using his community or caste name. So, we generally go through life with several 'identity' crises.
A recent mail from Wall Street Journal, however, takes the cake...

My mail to the Wall Street Journal in response to their mail below:
Dear Sir,
The unfortunate aspect is that you tend to believe that every human being on the earth has a first name, a middle name and a family me.
I happen to be a part of a small universe of Indians, who have only one name. It is the given name. We generally prefix it with an initial, which is the first alphabet of the father's name.
So, as you can see, my name is Balakrishnan. My father's name is Ramasubramani and in my entire life of 55 years and more, I have been known as R.Balakrishnan.

I face this problem almost everywhere and fiercely believe in my identity. I cannot adopt an appendage, merely to get admission in to a spatial community.
I look forward to your response.

With best wishes
Yours truly

R. Balakrishnan

-----Original Message-----
From: Journal Community []
Sent: 26 March 2010 21:02
To: R Balakrishnan
Subject: Re: (KMM23321398I72L0KM)

Dear R Balakrishnan,

Thank you for contacting The Wall Street Journal Online regarding The
Journal Community.

The Journal Community encourages thoughtful dialogue and meaningful
connections between real people. We believe that the quality of
conversations can deteriorate when real identities are not provided. The
Journal Community requires the use of your full name in order to post

Please be advised we cannot accommodate your request to post comments
under with your first name as the initial R. If you would like to
participate in Journal Community respond to this email with your full
name and we will be happy to update your profile and grant you access to
The Journal Community.

Please contact customer service at the
e-mail address below, if additional assistance is required.

Best Regards,

Wall Street Journal Online Customer Support
Please email your comments or questions to:
email address:


Jayashree S Kumar said...

Awaiting Wall Street Journal's response eagerly...

RS said...

We face another peculiar problem in Mumbai: my father's name is inserted as a "middle name" in all official forms, whether I want it or not. I have tried arguing that my name does not include a "middle name", but they look at me blankly at first, and then shake their head in disbelief and dismay...!!!!