There’s a lot in a name

Young parents sometimes name their children after sportspeople hoping some of the magic might inspire the new generation.

Rohan, Sunil Gavaskar’s son, carries the name of four great players, Rohan (after Kanhai), Jaivishwa (after M. L .Jaisimha and Gundappa Viswanath), and of course his own father.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

You can put up a statue to a cricketer, as they have in Indore, to C. K. Nayudu, Jamnagar (Vinoo Mankad) and Pune (D. B. Deodhar). You can name a traffic junction after one, as Bengaluru has with the Anil Kumble Circle.

Former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has a fish named after him, while the late Jayalalithaa has a marine worm named in her honour. So a spider named after Sachin Tendulkar should come as no surprise. The only question being why it took so long.

Stephen Colbert, the American TV host, had asked the scientific community to name something cooler than a spider after him, and they obliged by giving his name to a diving beetle. Tendulkar is unlikely to have problems with Marengo sachintendulkar, the spider named thus by a research scholar at the Gujarat Ecological and Research Foundation. He might not recognise it unless it came to him labelled, but that is not what such recognition is about.

Young parents sometimes name their children after sportspeople hoping some of the magic might inspire the new generation.

Sunil Gavaskar’s son carries the name of four great players, Rohan (after Kanhai), Jaivishwa (after M. L. Jaisimha and Gundappa Viswanath), and of course his own father. It is a rich mixture, but Rohan Gavaskar did play one-day cricket for India, and more importantly, turned out normal, which is what most parents actually pray for.

The number of youngsters named Sachin or Rahul or Sourav who didn’t make it must be large, although Kerala’s Sachin Baby has gone farther than most. Lokesh Rahul wasn’t named after Rahul Dravid who was 18 when Rahul was born, and however promising he might have been, parents aren’t like national selectors, picking a world beater at that age! According to a popular story, Rahul was named thus because his father misheard the name of Gavaskar’s son! Bhagwat Chandrasekhar named his son after the son of his hero, the singer Mukesh.

Few sportsmen have had celestial bodies named after them, though. Chess star Viswanathan Anand has a minor planet between Mars and Jupiter named after him, called 4538 vishyanand. It is 7.2km across. Don Bradman, Roger Federer, Rafal Nadal and Anatoly Karpov are some of the others who have asteroids or minor planets named after them.

“My wife sometimes says I seem to be from some other planet,” Anand was quoted as saying when he heard about it. “And now it turns out to be actually true.” The grandmaster is also an astronomy buff.

Flowers, pies, field placings have all been named after cricketers, but not a spider, as far as I know, and that makes Marengo, to address the special one by its first name, special.

What’s in a name said Shakespeare who might not have been as celebrated had he been named Suresh, for example. There is a lot in a name, and a Tendulkar in its name is as much an honour for an arachnid as it is for the cricketer.