‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.‘ – William Shakespeare
For celebrities, a name is everything that can either make people remember or instantly forget. Changing names or adding/removing alphabet is not a new thing. Some do it for astrology, some for numerology while the others for brevity. People trade their names for shorter or more-memorable initials. From VVS Laxman to APJ Abdul Kalam, here are 10 popular Indian personalities we refer frequently but probably are unaware about their original names:
V V S Laxman – Cricketer
Often referred as VVS, the stylish middle-order batsman’s full name is Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman. He was part of India’s famed ‘fab-four’ along with Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. His name got a new meaning after his great performance against Australia. In an interview, the former Indian cricketer confirmed that former Australian captain Ian Chappell named him ‘Very Very Special’ Laxman.
P T Usha – Athlete
India’s Golden Girl PT Usha’s real name is Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha. Associated with the Indian athletics since 1979, she is nicknamed as the ‘Payyoli Express’, as she was born in a village named Payyoli near Calicut in Kerala. In 1976, the Kerala State Government established a Sports School for women and Usha was chosen to represent her district.
A R Rahman – Music Composer
Born as AS Dileep Kumar, AR Rahman was introduced to Qadiri Islam in 1984 when his sister was seriously ill. He along with his family converted to Islam in 1989 and changed his name from RS Dileep Kumar to Allah Rakha Rahman. His contribution to film and stage earned him the title ‘the Mozart of Madras’ and his Tamil fans fondly call him ‘Isai Puyak’ meaning ‘the Musical Storm’.
R D Burman – Music Composer
Born to Bollywood composer Sachin Dev Burman, RD Burman’s real name is Rahul Dev Burman, pronounced in Bengali, his mother tongue, as Rahul Deb Bormon. He was nicknamed Pancham, because as a child, whenever he cried, it sounded in the fifth note i.e. Pa, of music notation. The word ‘Pancham’ means five in Bengali.
R K Narayan – Author
The popular Indian writer is popular for his fictional work Malgudi Days. His full name is Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami. In a career that spanned sixty years, the man has gifted us many gems of literature that is still close to our hearts.
C V Raman – Physicist
The Indian physicist CV Raman’s real name is Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. He was a scientist par excellence and became the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. He was so fascinated by the blue colour of the glaciers and the Mediterranean Sea that he decided to unravel the mystery behind the blue colour of the colourless liquid. He began a series of experiments on the scattering of light that led to what we today call as ‘Raman Effect’.
A P J Abdul Kalam – Scientist, Former President
The scientist turned statesman, APJ Abdul Kalam’s full name was Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. He came to be known as the Missile Man of India for the launch of vehicle technology and for his work regarding the development of ballistic missile. He was elected the 11th President of India in 2002 and was widely referred as the ‘People’s President’.
I K Gujral – Former Prime Minister
The 12th Prime Minister of India, IK Gujral’s real name was Inder Kumar Gujral. He was the third Prime Minister, after Indira Gandhi and HD Deve Gowda, to be elected as Prime Minister from the Rajya Sabha.
P V Narasimha Rao – Former Prime Minister
Often referred as the ‘Father of Indian Economic Reforms’, PV Narasimha Rao’s full name is Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao. APJ Abdul Kalam described Rao as a ‘patriotic statesman who believed that the nation is bigger than the political system’.
KK – Singer
Also known as Kay Kay, the singer has a broad vocal range and is considered as one of the versatile singers Bollywood has. KK’s full name is Krishnakumar Kunnath. He has lent his voice for popular songs including ‘Tadap tadap ke’, ‘Dil kyun ye mera shor kare’, ‘Sach keh raha hai deewana’, ‘Zara se dil main’ and ‘Tu he meri shab hai’, among others.
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