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Essay on “The Importance of Names” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Importance of Names

Outline: A name has an aura about it – the fallacy of “what is in a name?” brought out – it is not desirable to change the foreign names of streets and places -names of some persons are impressive.

Names have a mystic significance. A name has a subtle aura, an atmosphere about it which sums up the individuality of the person, place or thing it denotes. Names of persons and places are part of their history; they have clung to them for years or generations and are usually unalterable.

“What is in a name?” asks Portia in the Merchant of Venice and continues, ‘A rose, my lord, by any other name smells as sweet.” The charming Portia is, for once, wrong. There is everything in a name. Her illustration, beautiful as it is, gives away the fallacy of her proposition. She says that a rose by any other name, smells as sweet. We who swear by the importance of names agree that the physical appearance and qualities of a person or object remain unaffected by a change in his or its name. But a person or an object is not equivalent to his or its physical appearance and qualities. A person or a thing has an atmosphere and historical association which are certainly changed by a change of name. A rose by any other name may smelt as sweet, may look as pretty, but yet it will not be the same thing, as its associations are no longer the same. The word ‘rose’. for example, is associated with beautiful women, health and pleasure, and phrases like ‘a bed of roses’ and some well-known lines in poetry in which the word is used. If the rose were to be called ‘dog’ it might continue to smell as sweet, but it would lose all these associations which are an essential part of its charm and personality. So, Portia’s example does not prove her point ‘What is in a name?”

There is a campaign for Indianizing the names of streets. In some cases, this may be justified. But it must be remembered that foreign names of streets and places have a historical significance. After all, we cannot write off history by deciding to change names. Besides, frequent changes in names cause inconvenience and confusion to the people. It is not possible to think of Tergusson College’ or `Elphinstone College’ by any other name. The names are inseparably linked with certain traditions.

Names of some persons like Napoleon, Buddha, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Mahatma Gandhi are impressive in sound. It may be said this feeling is due to the fact that these persons achieved greatness. Yet, one feels that there is something intrinsically weighty about these names. Stalin, for example, was not the original name of the Russian dictator. His real name was common place, and he changed it to ‘Stalin’ which means ‘a man of steel.’ We can’t imagine people with commonplace names attaining distinction.

Difficult Words: Aura – halo. fallacy – falsehood. swear by – believe in. write off -cancel. intrinsically-inwardly.


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