I knew it was too good to last – my wholehearted admiration for the Mayor of Chennai when he had distributed saplings at his son’s wedding.
I had read in the papers the announcement made by him much earlier that babies (born in Corporation hospitals only) who were given pure Thamizh names would be rewarded with gold rings. We had all laughed then. But the first set of rings was distributed last week.
I have nothing against Thamizh names – they are as good as any other.
First, as Juliet famously asked, ‘What is in a name?’
Second, it is not the love of Thamizh that has motivated parents to give their children Thamizh names. Only the thought of a gold ring at the end of it - which, I am sure, will be hawked, pledged or sold to meet different expenses of the family, including the father’s visit to the local Tasmac (state sponsored wine) shop.
Lastly, the babies are now reduced to being equated with films – Thamizh films with Thamizh titles/names are exempted form entertainment tax.
Anyway why make this distinction among babies?
And why gold rings, which the babies can neither enjoy nor appreciate!
Why did not the Mayor give them all a special scholarship to see them through their school days. Education may be free, but children need books and uniforms. A fund for this would have been better.
Anyway we had better prepare ourselves for a generation of youngsters who may not even pronounce their names properly. The zha sound in ‘thamizh’is difficult for many to pronounce and is often pronounced as ‘l’, (which is why I suppose the British mutilated it to 'Tamil’).
We will have hosts of Thamilselvans and Thamilselvis, and not Thamizhselvans or Selvis.