Crisis identity

One of the most famous Indians is Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Hindu-majority country’s independence and known for using civil disobedience to fight British colonizers.

Many of Gandhi’s followers adopted his name, including the husband of another prominent Indian personality, Indira Gandhi, the first female prime minister of India. The latter is not a relative of Mahatma though. Her hubby’s surname was Gandhy, and he changed its spelling to Gandhi in honor of the national hero.

While many Indians carry the name of their idols, some were inspired by dark events in their country’s history.

The 47-year-old son of opposition politician Ram Tej Yadav recalled that his father was arrested on 26 June 1975 when then prime minister Gandhi placed the country under a state of emergency.

That year, constitutional rights were suspended, press freedom was curtailed and many opposition leaders were jailed, according to BBC News.

“My father told me that he gave me this name so that people would not forget about this sad, dark period in India’s history,” BBC News quoted Emergency Yadav as saying last week on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

Pawan Kumar from the small village of Khukhundu in Uttar Pradesh state recalled that his son was born in 2020 when it “was very hard to find a vehicle to take my wife for delivery,” and “many doctors were unwilling to attend to patients,” because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown imposed by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Thankfully, my son was born without any complications,” Kumar said of his two-year-old son he named Lockdown Kakkandi, according to BBC News.

Another Indian child’s name exceeds the crises of the 1975 emergency and 2020 pandemic lockdown. Mounitha Roy from the Andaman Islands gave it to her son in 2004.

“At around 11 p.m., I delivered my son in the dark on top of a rock, without any assistance or medication,” she recalled, BBC News reported. “My son was the only good thing that happened that day.”

Roy was referring to her 17-year-old son Tsunami, who was born on 26 December 2004 when a tsunami struck the Andaman Islands and other coasts of countries circling the Indian Ocean, killing more than 200,000 people, including 10,000 Indians.

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