Monday, July 10, 2006

Name, that matters

Many (thanks to social network services) asks me why did I change my name. To tell you that, let me give you a little of my back ground.

In India, there still exists thousands of years old hierarchical caste system in which there are 4 prevailing classes where topmost class is known as brahman. If you look in to history, brahmans are in fact not original indians, they are a clade migrated from Europe and conquered native indians (Dravidians) a long long time ago. A Recent rDNA Profiling evidence traces Brahman clade back to finland.

I was born in a hindu family, aristocratic and priestly as it has a tag of brahman. I remember when I was young, my grandma used to say we are living gods and goddesses and I have to be very reserved while making friends outside brahmans. She did not even care to touch low caste people, and this untouchability still exists in many part of greater India.

Brahmans are vegans, and I was brought up as a pure vegetarian too. Till I was 18 yrs old I never even tasted meat or fish or egg. Through all those years of regression and confinement, I started to dream a world of more freedom and intellectual integrity. It started at the age 18, through the age 21, much reading and thinking transformed me to an iconoclast, an upheaval from incarcerating stupidity. I bushwhacked dirty ideological bondage to the perfection, that I ever dreamed of. Listening to my heart's whisper became an impetus for decision making. I haven't read bible or koran or any of those supposedly sacred texts, as I need no other succor than my own heart. As a free thinker and pacifist, I believe all religions are preposterous, and till date there were not even a single moment I remorse this detest (Could anyone please tell me a month where NYT or BBC not reported bloody religious conflict, let it be Israel-palastine or India-Pakistan or Iraq or Afghan or thousands of dirty genocides in Africa?). Religion, what ever you name it, do no good than terrorism and strife (haven't you noticed? I have a reason why I never capitalize any religious words).

I have been attracted to ancient Egypt for several reasons, the reasons that I have explained elsewhere. Coming to the objective of this post, I changed my name because I would rather be known by a name best depicts me as a free thinking individual. I chose Felix as my first name because it resembles the name 'Felis', the genus of cats and as I like the animation "Felix the cat". I chose my sir name Bast to emphasize my love, devotion and reverence to my mother goddess, ancient Egyptian goddess of cats, Bast (some call her Bastet).

My godly faith is in 'Kemetic paganism'. As opposed to 'Kemetic orthodoxy' where humanoid priest- 'Netjer'-dominated church still exists, Kemetic pagans are not bound to any moral code of justice and we have no church. Kemetic pagans are segregated nature worshipers with only one thing in common, a deep sense of appreciation for the nature and the cult once prevailed on the banks of ancient Nile.

I was known as "Vadakke Madam Sreejith" till the age 24 in which the first two names refers to my brahman status and last, my hindu religion. I thought it is senseless to be known that way, especially given how much loathe hinduism or the archaic caste system. Being incognito in a society where the name matters much to earn respect, helped me immensely to boost my self confidence. It was tough, I was unable to convince my parents on the motivations. They opposed me, but I did not care because I knew it well how much matured I was then and how much needy this 'name change' was. Judicial proceedings was fortunately not that lengthy as I was expecting to be, and finally I have become Felix bast. The immense joy and confidence I experience while signing my name anywhere, even today, are ineffable.

I believe change of name is an inevitability to any freethinking person. Further, let me provide you with an excerpt from the talk I had with my friend Mr Haison Harold, during sometimes in my 3 yrs of stay at Hostel 4, IIT Bombay, India.

Me: man, why are you a catholic?
Haison: because my parents are christian
Me: Why is your name Haison Harold?
Haison: Because my parents named me so.
Me: Parents, parents... are you still fostered by the fetal placenta, you guardian vassal? If I where you I would have thought I have been enslaved by my parents.
Haison: *********


Haison can be contacted here to confirm the authenticity of this transcript.

Mr. Terumichi Kawanishi had recently organized a conference on "social injustice in India" where he felicitated my courage on taking such a rebellious step in my life. I believe his comments are relevant to this post. Excerpts:

"...Mr Felix has done something which not many of us ever do. His revolt against obsolete Indian system of social injustice is notable and let his decision to change his very name be an incentive to all who want to be pragmatic in this battle against racial prejudice..."


1 comment:

Vinu said...

Nice one...