Why do Muslims in South Asia use pre-Islamic Persian or Iranian names, but not pre-Islamic Sanskritic names?

Apr 2018
112
India
#11
Muslims in Bangladesh and West Bengal often have names with both Bengali / Sanskritic and Arabic / Persian components. For example names like Rezwana Choudhuri Bannya (famous singer), Zahiruddin Bishwajit Sarkar etc are very common. Same goes for Bengali Christians. Michael Madhusudan Datta is probably the most famous example. This is done quite consciously to keep the cultural identity distinct.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,039
#12
Note, if modern Muslims (and Christians) are more likely to use Sanskrit names these days, it is likely so they can avoid discrimination when applying for a job or school application other things. (Note, this concern doesn't have to be real to be motivation, just the potential worry they might face discrimination might cause them to use Sanskrit names.)

If they have a Hindu sounding name, a potential employer might think they are Hindu, and are more likely to hire them, and they would be more likely to escape trouble froom those seeking to attack non Hindus.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,052
India
#13
Note, if modern Muslims (and Christians) are more likely to use Sanskrit names these days, it is likely so they can avoid discrimination when applying for a job or school application other things. (Note, this concern doesn't have to be real to be motivation, just the potential worry they might face discrimination might cause them to use Sanskrit names.)

If they have a Hindu sounding name, a potential employer might think they are Hindu, and are more likely to hire them, and they would be more likely to escape trouble froom those seeking to attack non Hindus.
Muslims are not keeping Sanskrit names, many Muslims still use their former Hindu surnames like Bajwa, Chaudhary, Biswas, Patel etc. Christians are switching to pure/mixed Indian names, discrimination is not the reason, infact they have better access to education due reservation in Church controlled minority institutions. It has more to do with Indianization of Christian practices by including many aspect of Hindu culture in Indian Christianity. Many Goan and Mangalorean Catholics have switched to Indian first names but still keeping Portuguese surnames like Roshan D'Costa or Arvind Coelho.
 
Nov 2014
456
India
#14
Note, if modern Muslims (and Christians) are more likely to use Sanskrit names these days, it is likely so they can avoid discrimination when applying for a job or school application other things. (Note, this concern doesn't have to be real to be motivation, just the potential worry they might face discrimination might cause them to use Sanskrit names.)

If they have a Hindu sounding name, a potential employer might think they are Hindu, and are more likely to hire them, and they would be more likely to escape trouble froom those seeking to attack non Hindus.
Indian Christians, particularly the Catholics are more Indianising. Quite a significant number of Catholic women use bindi (dot) on their forehead. Erecting of large flag posts, identical to those in Hindu temples is a new trend.

See this brass plate covered flagpost gracing a church at Belthangady, Karnataka. There is a large cross as well. So one can be sure there is no attempt at hiding the fact that it is a church.
Google Image Result for https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/ST._LAWRENCE_CATHEDRAL_CHURCH%2C_BELTHANGADY.jpg

For comparison, here is one from Mahalingeswara Temple, Puttur, Karnataka:

mahalingeshwara temple - Google Search:
 
Jun 2012
7,037
Malaysia
#15
Many Muslims throughout history have used names of pre-Islamic Persian or Iranian origin, such as Pervez, Feroze, Farrokh, Jamshed, Javed, Jehangir, Shahrukh, Sohrab, Shaheen, Kamran, Khosrow, and many other examples. In fact, in South Asia these names are so strongly associated with Islamicate culture that the typical Indian Hindu probably thinks of them as "Muslim names," even though they aren't. For example, I have seen people attack Indira Gandhi for having a "Muslim husband" because they thought Feroze Gandhi was a Muslim due to his first name "Feroze." In reality, Feroze is a Persian name and is used by Parsis (Zoroastrians) as well as Muslims in historically Persianized lands. It is derived from the Middle Persian name Peroz, which was the name of several Sassanian kings as well as the name of the Persian man who assassinated Caliph Omar.

In contrast, I have never seen a single Muslim from South Asia who had a Sanskritic name. Obviously, names like Shiva, Vishnu, and Ganesh would not be used by Muslims because they are names of Hindu gods, but even secular Sanskritic names like Vijay, Vikrant, or Vinod are never used by South Asian Muslims. What are the reasons for this?
My guess is that Sanskritic names are/were kind of associated with Hinduism, Sanskrit hvg been the major carrier language of the Hindu faith. Kind of the same way those Persian names are/were kind of regarded by some Indians as associated with Islam, although they are actually pre-Islamic Persian. Likely becos modern day Iran is seen as largely a Muslim nation, and many folks can't separate modern times from ancient days.

But in Indonesia, AFAIK, many Muslim Indonesians still have names of very likely pre-Islamic Sanskritic origin. For example Sukarno (from Sukarna?), Suharto (from Suharta?), Prabowo (from Prabhava), Santoso (from Santosha?), Purnomo (from Puneema?), Wijoyo/Wijaya (from Vijay/Vijaya), Subroto (from Subratha?), Suparman (from Subraman/Subramaniam), Wikrama (from Vikram) etc.. Dharma is still quite a relatively common name among both Muslim Malaysians & Muslim Indonesians.
 
Likes: Kadi
Jul 2017
510
Sydney
#16
But in Indonesia, AFAIK, many Muslim Indonesians still have names of very likely pre-Islamic Sanskritic origin. For example Sukarno (from Sukarna?), Suharto (from Suharta?), Prabowo (from Prabhava), Santoso (from Santosha?), Purnomo (from Puneema?), Wijoyo/Wijaya (from Vijay/Vijaya), Subroto (from Subratha?), Suparman (from Subraman/Subramaniam), Wikrama (from Vikram) etc.. Dharma is still quite a relatively common name among both Muslim Malaysians & Muslim Indonesians.
Its true what you say about Indonesia and Malaysia

I think this is due to the way these cultures have kept the pre-Islamic heritage alive

I've heard (you could confirm or deny this) that the Pandavas from the epic of Mahabharata have been assimilated into the new set of beliefs by Indonesian muslims

So, in a way there is or was a harmonious process in motion even when people accepted a new faith in these cultures
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,990
New Delhi, India
#17
Note, if modern Muslims (and Christians) are more likely to use Sanskrit names these days, it is likely so they can avoid discrimination when applying for a job or school application other things. (Note, this concern doesn't have to be real to be motivation, just the potential worry they might face discrimination might cause them to use Sanskrit names.)

If they have a Hindu sounding name, a potential employer might think they are Hindu, and are more likely to hire them, and they would be more likely to escape trouble froom those seeking to attack non Hindus.
Not true. There is no discrimination in corporate world where they go by skills and not religion. That is true even for small scale employers. Hindu businessmen may have Muslims employees and vice-versa. My father-in-law's chief of labour (he was an iron merchant) was a Muslim who remained with him for 50 years, to be replaced by his son. He was so trusted that my FIL would leave his house in his care if the family had to go outside Delhi.
 
Likes: Kadi
Jun 2012
7,037
Malaysia
#18
Somehow, I do not believe that there is that much ethno-religionist discrimination as Bart Dale is saying in India, at least among mainstream Indians rather than the ultra-nationalist, ultra-religionist types. I mean, you see so many Muslim actors & actresses in Bollywood, and they do not seem to get any discrimination at all. Not now, not previously. And do not forget, the first president of India post-independene was in fact himself a Muslim.

BTW, there is no such thing as a 'Muslim name', strictly speaking. Only an Arabic name, which has become closely associated with Islam. In Lebanon, Syria & Egypt, you get many Christian Arabs named Muhammad, Abdullah & other typical 'Muslim sounding' names. It's no big deal for them, becos they hv always been Arabic names.
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,636
Western Eurasia
#19
BTW, there is no such thing as a 'Muslim name', strictly speaking. Only an Arabic name, which has become closely associated with Islam. In Lebanon, Syria & Egypt, you get many Christian Arabs named Muhammad, Abdullah & other typical 'Muslim sounding' names. It's no big deal for them, becos they hv always been Arabic names.
Really? There are commonly shared neutral Arabic names for sure, but can you mention any Christian Arab called Muhammad (unless he is a murtad, that is born in Muslim family and left it later)? There are many shared names, but they don't usually use explicitly islamic names (and Muhammad belongs to that group) and also have a tendency (esp in Lebanon/Syria) to adopt European, esp French names.
 
Jun 2012
7,037
Malaysia
#20
I wud say that a Christian Arab adopting a European name is more of a subtle but nonetheless snooty class 'consciousness' kind of thing, rather than anything else. Simply becos the original homeland of Christianity is not in Europe, but in West Asia. While if they're happy calling their God as 'Allah' in their church, then I do not see any reason for them having any qualms about bearing the Muhammad name.

The French footballer Zinedine Yazid Zidane, who is of Algerian ancestry, has not changed his name to a European name, and neither Zinedine nor Yazid to me is such a 'neutral' name. I believe that he is of Berber rather than Arabic descent, but he himself has disclosed that he has a close affinity with the Arab world.

I kind of remember vaguely that some time back there was a quite prominent Christian Arab named either Muhammad or Abdullah, but it has escaped my memory now.
 
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