No plain Jane
Don't change that beautiful Iranian name
By Amir Mohammadzadeh
December 10, 1999
If my children were to change their names when they grew up, I have
to say that I would be heart broken. I had very special reasons for each
name I picked; family, history, and good memories of those who deserve
to be remembered. A good traditional name is something to be proud of.
A lot of thought, love, pride, and hope goes into this once-in-a-lifetime
decision . What does it say about a person if they do not have confidence
to defend their own name?
Of course it would be a different matter if your name was a source of
ridicule. Everybody would sympathise with Mr T. Pot if he chose to alter
his name, but merely to dispose of one's national identity strikes me as
as odd thing to do. It doesn't make any sense for Fariba to call herself
Lucy in the hope of easier assimilation in the work place when every atom
in her body screams "I'M IRANIAN". Is she also going to have
plastic surgery. Maybe she should save some money for a good psychiatrist.
When I was at school, and didn't know very much about Iran, I admired
my friend's beautiful paisley print scarf . "What is all this paisley
nonsense?" she said. "This is an Iranian domkaj design. You people
pinched it from us." It is interesting to note just how many every-day
objects and ideas have come out of Iran and the East in general only to
The modern day bath ,would not have come to Europe had the Crusaders
not been so impressed with it whilst pillaging their way around the Middle
East. They also picked up carpets, silks, spices, fruits, medicine, philosophy,
art, polo, chess, garden design and ... anyway nowadays it is quite fashionable
to name a daughter Leila or Yasmin and Mariam.
If someone introduced Hezar-O-Yek-Shab (Thousand and One Nights) and
Ferdowsi's Shahnameh (Book of Kings) into the Western schools, I could
positively guarantee that you would have an army of little girls called
Shahrzad .Then of course my old school friend would say, "Vaay! Khejaalat
nemikeshid? Now you people are pinching our names as well?!"
How can anyone, having read Ferdowsi, Hafez, and Omar Khayam and not
want to keep names such as these alive? Amir, Annahita, Elham, Khosro,
Kamran, Farhad, Farzad, Turan, Tooraj , Bijan, Kambiz, Shahla, Shohreh,
Parisa, Parvaneh, Faranak, Sadeq, Madineh, Sina, Iran, Shokoofeh, Afsaneh,
Shirin, Sepideh, Farzaneh. These are fantastic names so who wants to be
a plain Jane?
What shall we call our Nanneh Turan, if she changes her name to Janet.
When I go to Iran it makes no difference what name shows in my passport,
I would be a fool if I thought changing my name would make me more acceptable
. Most people are recognized by their character long before anybody has
asked their name.
I'm not saying that no-one has the right to change their name if they
are really not happy. But they should have a good, considered reason, not
just because some ignorant person won't make the effort to learn to pronounce
a new name. I won't go on. I think my opinion is crystal clear. I am a
self confessed Iranophile.