What’s In A Name?

A Non-Sikh friend of mine recently asked me about the namingconventions in the Sikh religion. She was wondering why “deep” and “jit” were so common at the end of Sikh names, and did this take away from a person’s individuality. (Like Joe Smith?) I thought it was an interesting point, but personally I don’t feel my namedefines me. My uniqueness comes from my personality, the pursuit ofmy own path and growing through my experiences. Although I do feel I have grown into my name, and it does hold significance for who I ambecoming as a human being.What is amazing about our names is the depth of their meanings, the interchangability of parts of the names to create a new meaning, and that they are epicene names. When I do tell Non-Sikhs what my name means, the response is always “Wow, that is so cool!”.

A new pattern emerging these daysis theshortening of the name and/or being creative with the way it is spelt. It is inevitable changes will happen as weassimilatetothe western world we live in,and withthe generational changes that are happening. Peopleused toput faithwith the Guru Granth Sahib and the first letter thatwas chosen, at random,became the starting point for naming a new baby. Is this a tradition that is being utilized today?

We have such an immense choice of names, and I have yet to find a culture that holds deeper meanings for their names, however common they may be,than ours.

I pose this question to you all: What does your name mean to you?


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12 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Suzy Kaur says:

    My full name is Surinder Kaur, but I like Suzy, which is what everyone has called me since I was a little girl.

    Nicknames have always been part of Indian/Punjabi culture. I like both traditional names but I think its OK to have a non Sikh/Punjabi first name too. When I have kids I'll have a mixture of Punjabi and Western first names.

  2. Suzy Kaur says:

    My full name is Surinder Kaur, but I like Suzy, which is what everyone has called me since I was a little girl.

    Nicknames have always been part of Indian/Punjabi culture. I like both traditional names but I think its OK to have a non Sikh/Punjabi first name too. When I have kids I’ll have a mixture of Punjabi and Western first names.

  3. Mewa Singh says:

    Although I understand why people use nicknames such as Suzy, Harry, Garry, etc, for some reason I am not a fan. In Canada (especially Surrey), large segments of our community have abandoned Sikh names altogether. Pick up any newspaper and you will hear about Benjamin Bajwa, Marisela Mann, or even Preston Purewal. And whether I like it or not (and generally I don't), unfortunately I do see Surrey as the vanguard of the challenges and trends faced in the Sikh diaspora.

  4. Mewa Singh says:

    Although I understand why people use nicknames such as Suzy, Harry, Garry, etc, for some reason I am not a fan. In Canada (especially Surrey), large segments of our community have abandoned Sikh names altogether. Pick up any newspaper and you will hear about Benjamin Bajwa, Marisela Mann, or even Preston Purewal. And whether I like it or not (and generally I don’t), unfortunately I do see Surrey as the vanguard of the challenges and trends faced in the Sikh diaspora.

  5. Muzumdar says:

    We have such an immense choice of names, and I have yet to find a culture that holds deeper meanings for their names, however common they may be, than ours

    Christian culture? Jewish culture?

    You need to get out more.

  6. Muzumdar says:

    We have such an immense choice of names, and I have yet to find a culture that holds deeper meanings for their names, however common they may be, than ours

    Christian culture? Jewish culture?

    You need to get out more.

  7. Camille says:

    As someone whose name is similar to a Benjamin Bajwa or Preston Purewal, I'm much less "afraid" of Sikhs opting for non-Sikh-Punjabi names (and honestly, I don't think it happens as often or quickly as we assume). My parents still used the same naming process (SGGSJi, first letter, etc.), and my siblings certainly have "traditional" Sikh-Punjabi names. I like my name because I know a lot of thought and intention went into it. I know that other parents from other backgrounds also think about the meaning behind their children's names, but I do appreciate that my parents chose scriptural names that inspired them and made them feel their children were connected to a religious history.

  8. Camille says:

    As someone whose name is similar to a Benjamin Bajwa or Preston Purewal, I’m much less “afraid” of Sikhs opting for non-Sikh-Punjabi names (and honestly, I don’t think it happens as often or quickly as we assume). My parents still used the same naming process (SGGSJi, first letter, etc.), and my siblings certainly have “traditional” Sikh-Punjabi names. I like my name because I know a lot of thought and intention went into it. I know that other parents from other backgrounds also think about the meaning behind their children’s names, but I do appreciate that my parents chose scriptural names that inspired them and made them feel their children were connected to a religious history.

  9. kprincess says:

    As far as religion goes, technically if you have a Kaur or Singh in your name, then it shouldn't matter. But I guess it's always nice for your first name to represent your religion, culture, language, or history. When I hear a name like Garry, Larry, Marcelia, I picture a white or Latin person, not a Punjabi/Sikh person. I think there are English names that might make sense, like Harmony or Faith, as they would connect to the values of Sikhism. So I guess it depends.

    Personally, I would give my child a name that represents her religion/language/and culture. Actually, I've chosen names for a number of babies – all were Punjabi. There are a lot of unique Punjabi names out there, that are easy to pronounce & also represent our language and Sikh history.

  10. kprincess says:

    As far as religion goes, technically if you have a Kaur or Singh in your name, then it shouldn’t matter. But I guess it’s always nice for your first name to represent your religion, culture, language, or history. When I hear a name like Garry, Larry, Marcelia, I picture a white or Latin person, not a Punjabi/Sikh person. I think there are English names that might make sense, like Harmony or Faith, as they would connect to the values of Sikhism. So I guess it depends.

    Personally, I would give my child a name that represents her religion/language/and culture. Actually, I’ve chosen names for a number of babies – all were Punjabi. There are a lot of unique Punjabi names out there, that are easy to pronounce & also represent our language and Sikh history.

  11. Joolz says:

    I like it when Sikhs choose first names according to their own desires. If we're living in the West, we're part of the West, and as long as Singh and Kaur remains, the first name doesn't matter. We should be proud of they hybrid cultures we create and our names reflect that.

  12. Joolz says:

    I like it when Sikhs choose first names according to their own desires. If we’re living in the West, we’re part of the West, and as long as Singh and Kaur remains, the first name doesn’t matter. We should be proud of they hybrid cultures we create and our names reflect that.