Why were Dalits Assigned Bad Names? Brahminical Scripture Manusmriti Has Answer


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Manusmriti not only laid down the rules prohibiting untouchables from getting the education, punishing untouchables and women for not following the rules of Manusmriti, it also defined how community divided into the castes should name their children.

I have many times wondered why names of Dalits (especially Dalits of my parents’ generation) are bad and sometimes derogatory such as Manga (Begging/Beggar), Jalah (one who doesn’t know anything, kind of retarded), Kachra (Rubbish) (remember famous movie Lagan’s Dalit character’s name?) etc. I am sure older generation can surely bring worse names than what I have mentioned here and were assigned to Dalits.

I also remember my father telling me that Dalits were not allowed to name their kids’ good names as were so-called upper castes. Still, you can hear backlash news if some Dalit names his/her kid “differently” than what society accepts. Many a time, Dalits are even killed for having the same name as of some so-called upper caste person.

Caste Kills, Manusmriti

A low-caste Dalit boy has been killed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for sharing a name with a man of a higher caste

I always knew there must be something in the Brahminical scriptures that prohibits Dalits from having good names. Today, I stumbled upon the following verses from the Manusmriti, law book of Hindus that guidelines how society should have names/surnames and no wonder Brahminical society followed –

II – 31. Let (the first part of) a brahmin’s (denote) something auspicious, a kshatriya’s name be connected with power and a vaishya’s with wealth, but a Shudra’s (express something) contemptible.

II-32. (The second part of) a brahmin’s (name) shall be (a word) implying happiness, of a kshatriya’s (word) implying protection, of a Vaishya’s (a term) expressive of thriving, and of a shudra’s (an expression) denoting service.

Check the names of people around you and compare and see the difference. If you find the differences, let us know in the comments section.

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Read also – 

Some Excerpts from Manusmriti – Law Book of Hindus

Casteist Verses from Manusmriti – Law Book of Hindus

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  1. 1
    Harsh

    My mom’s surname was Verma in her schooling but in her 10th standard her class teacher change her surname to rani that’s quite shocking for my mother and she ask her teacher not to change her Verma surname to rani but the teacher refuses and say it is better and my mother doesn’t argue much.Its quite ironical that rani means queen in English but as their is no community of rani and it directly shows whenever some one get to know her surname that she must belongs to minorities and to hiding her she is using this surname.
    The teacher upbring her bramanical mindset above her profession and she doesn’t digest that how a Dalit girl is getting education.
    But the time changed and my Mother is highly qualified and working as a assistant professor in govt inter college 😊

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