Monday, March 23, 2009

Why "Aryan" isn't a great name for kids abroad

Why "Aryan" isn't a great name for kids abroad

Ramesh Chander

ARYAN, ALONG with Dev, Raj and Rahul has become one of the most used names in Bollywood movies. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in Indian parents who have named their kids Aryan.

Personally, I believe Aryan is a really nice sounding name. It has a great meaning in India. But what many Indians don’t realise is that the name “Aryan” has a completely different meaning abroad. In most Western countries, including America, the name “Aryan” is associated with Hitler, Nazism and race-supremacist. “Aryan” is a hate word in America and Europe (“Aryan Nation” is a notorious racist organisation here).

Unfortunately, most people in America don’t know much about Indian history; they don’t realise that “Aryan” and symbol “swastika” have completely different meaning in India.

When one of friends was making some greeting card on her screen, with a Swastika sign, her colleague stopped by and angrily asked her “What are you doing? Why is that symbol on your screen?”.
Only when my perplexed friend (who didn’t know the significance of swastika here), explained the meaning of the symbol in India, the colleague calmed down.

When my friend’s kid named “Aryan” joined a pre-kindergarten class with my son, the teacher practically refused to use the name. My friend had to personally meet the Jewish teacher and explain to her that Aryan was not meant to be the Jew-killing Hitler, but had a different meaning.

These incidents might be isolated, and indeed the Western world might become more aware of the different meaning of this word later. But think twice before naming your son “Aryan”. If your son is in America or Europe or ever visits there in his life, do you want your kid to ever feel down or feel different based on a still largely unacceptable name. (Remember the movie “Namesake”?)


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

All I wish to say is that Thank you for posting this blog.

With Regards From Sydney, Australia.

Rig-Jarl said...

The term "Aryan" is what the ancient people of what we today know as the "White" or more specifically the Nordic race called themselves. This was a herder/warrior people whom conquered everywhere they went.

The political corectness gone mad today, is only trying to make White societies weak and self hating. With deceit and lies, making a people distantiate to their native culture heritage, the mongrel (lower caste) races hope to achieve pollution of the pure mind.
This whole act is in fact seen as UN NOBLE by those who can see through the lies. Hence why this special ancient people came to call themselves the "Aryans" (Noble ones)

So it is still today not wrong to use the designation "Aryan" to an individual or a people composed of the same racial element as the ancient Aryans. One should break through this political correct madness.

Anonymous said...

White power to that, friend.

Saurab said...

Dear Sir

I had the same concern when I named by son Aryaan in 2006. Incidentally I was living in Vienna (Austria) then. Austrians hate neo-nazi Germany more than anyone else in this world. I had asked many of my Austrian and German colleagues and they loved the name. They all agreed no one with a proper frame of mind now a days equates this to nazi period or support of the same.

Since 2007, I had lived in US for 6 years and Aryaan went to school there which had teachers and students of all ethnicity and certainly jews. I did not see any issue with the name there as well.

While I think the theory of your argument is right, practically I do not think it happens this way. Relating Aryaan to nazis is as far flung as equating invaders with muslims in India. It is a very different issue with Swastika symbol which is viewed across Europe and US as symbol of nazi era.

This is my humble submission to this argument.

Thank You.

Aryan said...

Oh my god.. I have the name same as in this article on your blog.. I realy realy not understand for the meaning of "Aryan" out of Indonesia :( thanks for blogging this.. Salam..

Anonymous said...

Is it coincidence that two apparently unrelated peoples (nordic and 2nd millenia invaders of northern india) are called by the same name? Or do we infer that the nordic peoples are regarded as descendants of the ancient invaders of northern india?

Murali said...

aah.... by not defining the meaning of Arya: clearly, you have fed some ignorant.

Where is Aryan defined anywhere as "white"?
it's like saying horse-rider is Ghenghis Khan.

These terms were used to denote a person with higher social standing.(dont want to use caste, as it again can get misinterpreted)

German scholars who came to India got one type of interpretation and linked it with their pre-conceived notions.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect I think that is the wrong approach.

How far should we bend to appease the western people?

Indians should wear the name with pride. If they think an Indian is a White supremacist just because they carry the name. Obviously they are quite stupid.

Anonymous said...

Aryan is a great name, and Aryan culture is really fascinating. Don't let liberal American idiots scare you away from it: it's the CORRECT word for people of a certain descent. Of course, you know that, but the point is we shouldn't let Hitler and oversensitive Lefties put a perfectly good name or word 'off limits.' I will refer to Iranians as Persians, and Persians as Aryans, whether or not anyone likes it. Good style is more important than popular ignorance.

Kate said...

Sad to say, and perhaps too late, but you're very right. I am from the US and until today, didn't realize Aryan was used as a personal name (though I should have, since I knew Arian is a name - one people are warned against using for how similar it is to Aryan). That is to say, I didn't know it was used in legitimate ways, but I have known white supremacists to use it; famously there was a Neo-Nazi family here in the US that named their children Adolf Hitler and Aryan Race. Every other time I have heard the word Aryan, it has been in the context on the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. It's not a "PC" or "liberal" thing (and I would hesitate to take advice from any commenter who claims it is,especially one who identifies any human being as a "mongrel"), it's just the way things are here. Even, and perhaps especially, conservative people here would have the same association.

That doesn't need to dictate how you name your children, but it would be wise to be aware of it when visiting the US.

Unknown said...

This is a very, very brief summary/generalisation of the evolution of the original races. It is just designed to give a very quick to read idea of how we all came to be today.

The original Scandinavian race was the blonde haired, blue eyed, white skinned race (light featured) that originated from Scandinavia some 45,000 to 50,000 years ago.

The Scandinavian race evolved from the Black African race that migrated out of Africa some 125,000 years ago and settled in Scandinavia. 80,000 years of total isolation in Scandinavia and the original Black Africans evolved to the original Scandinavians.

The Indian race also evolved from the Black African race that migrated out of Africa and then settled in India. Tens of thousands of years of isolation in India and the original Black Africans evolved to the original Indians. (Indian = dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin, dark featured)
The Oriental race also evolved from the Black African race that migrated out of Africa and then settled in Far East Asia. Tens of thousands of years of isolation in Far East Asia and the original Black Africans evolved to the original Orientals.(Oriental = dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin, dark featured) The Australian Aboriginal race also evolved from the Black African race that migrated out of Africa and then settled in Australia. Tens of thousands of years of isolation in Australia and the original Black Africans evolved to the original Australian Aboriginals.(Australian Aboriginal = dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin, dark featured) 45,000 years ago there was a lot of movement as the Ice-Age pushed these Scandinavians out of Scandinavia. These Scandinavian spread out through Europe and into Asia and in Asia they mixed with the Indians, this formed the Arabic peoples (Indo-Scandinavians).

The Scandinavians also migrated into Far East Asia and mixed with the Orientals forming the Korean/Chinese/Japanese types.
Arabic peoples moved back West into North Africa and then up into Spain, Italy and Greece mixing with the Scandinavians that had originally settled there, this formed the original Spanish, Italian and Greek ethnicities. Oriental Scandinavians also moved back West and mixed with the original Scandinavians in Europe forming what we now know as ‘Slavic’ types. What with brown hair and brown eyes being dominant over blonde hair and blue eyes more Scandinavians in Europe became darker. Yes, Europeans are mostly Scandinavian race with varying amounts of Indian race and Oriental race in them which gives many these darker features.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, my family was friends with a Jewish family who named their eldest daughter Aryan.

Anonymous said...

I might be really late But here is an American teenager who has a much better viewpoint than this post !!

Seema said...

I have named my elder son Aryan! And I just love the name!

Anonymous said...

We named our son Aryan and we live in the US, its very sad to see that the name has a negative connotation in US, though we knew about hitler and the nazis and swatika, we never understood that the name "aryan" would be associated with this - world history was covered extensively in our school in India, but there was no association made between the nazi history to the word "aryan", probably because in india we know the true meaning and hence the history textbooks never associated the two together!!....
We love this name....and the meaning associated with it..."the noble one"!!

Sanjeet said...

Obviously people can be stupid, and children especially can be the cruelest of all. So imagine a poor child going to school for the first time and their name is linked to a white supremacist hate group. Why would you subject them to torture?

Anonymous said...

Indian people who name their kids arts or Aryan are basically white wannabes

Anonymous said...

How can they be white wannabees? What a ridiculous statement! Aryan is a wonderful name and having lived in the UK all my life, having sat through European History classes, and having a complete understanding of the connotations that the name can have, I still think it is a stunning name. Names have different meanings in different languages and as far as I can see living in a multi-cultural society has simply opened up peoples understanding of this.

Anonymous said...

Even though the name "Aryan" has a bad history behind in in other countries, it still is a pretty great name.

Anonymous said...

Our two year old son's name is Aryaan. I am from the southern part of the states and my husband is from Pakistan. We debated on whether his name would be an issue (we live in the states), but decided to give him the name anyway as we both really like it. We pronounce it Are-ee (as in bee)-on (as in lawn) with the stress on the last syllable instead of Air-ee-an and assume he may end up being called Ary. He is light skinned and has dark reddish hair, so doesn't really look like he's of Pakistani decent, but his last name should be an obvious indicator that he's not of white supremacist with swastika tattoos decent either lol. I am a junior high school teacher and have had more than a few students with the female version of the name- Ariann and Arianna... over the years and never witnessed any problems. Hopefully, it won't be an issue.

Raja Thatha said...

Aryan is a sanslrit word meaning "gentleman".AAryaa is the female version meaning lady