Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan had their first child on Tuesday. They named the child Taimur Ali Khan.
For the uninitiated, who thought Taimur was just an ancestor of the Mughals, as many on Twitter quickly said he was a cruel, bigoted king who had ordered the killing of hundreds of non-believers in Islam. Yes he did that, in the 14th century.
And these are the reactions it sparked on Twitter, and they don’t even cover the complete gamut of madness the naming of this baby sparked:
For every Taimur there are also bound to be Hindu conquerors, who also had blood on their hands and managed to have children named after them centuries later. Those children named after these historical people might be targeted in school due to their unusual names, but there is nothing to prove that they will do their best to live up to their namesakes.
Parents usually name their children based on famous people from history. They often pick conquerors, kings, victors and other prominent names from history. These aren’t necessarily based on why those people were prominent.
But parents can also be random in their choice of names and can pick a name purely based on whether they like the sound of the name. Which explains many odd Punjabi, Bengali and Malayalee names that make little sense, but appealed to their parents who were just recovering from the ordeal of childbirth and didn’t think better.
So there are plenty of Lenins and Stalins in south India but there have been no instances of them running riot like their namesakes. There may be Ashoks, but they aren’t necessarily messengers of peace and Buddhism.
So then why target Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor? Simple: He’s Muslim, she’s Hindu, they’re celebrities, he’s named his child after a Muslim conqueror and they’re easy to pick on given there won’t be any reprisal.
This has a deeper undertone, one that says that naming your child after an ancient Muslim ruler, especially one who may have been a brutal one, is wrong. One that hints that there is a correct naming culture and norms that parents have to adhere to. And that unless you stay within those norms of naming you’re wrong. This isn’t just humour, in many cases its just pure hatred and bigotry.
There will be children named after despots, dictators, murderers, terrorists, terrible political leaders and even random things like fruits or emotions. That is entirely the problem of the child, not society at large. To target parents over the naming of their child is the lowest level that a person can stoop to.
While Taimur is free to chart his own destiny like every human, thanks to him we at least now clearly know who the bigots in our midst are. And the irony is that they’re as bigoted as they are, despite their politically correct names.