Choice and fate both play a role in determining the name of a Sikh. The family crafts a name after looking to the Guru Granth Sahib to provide the first letter of the child’s name. The first name is followed by Singh for males and Kaur for females. Singh and Kaur are names universally shared by Sikhs as this exemplifies equality within the community by reinforcing that Sikhs are sovereign under one God.

Although certain prefixes and suffixes are commonly used, each name remains highly meaningful and defines a Sikh’s identity. The beauty of this concept, however, is being drowned in the perception that global acceptance and success are unattainable if one appears to be different from the masses. More are purposefully choosing to either modify their given names to shorter ones, westernize their names, or completely omit their middle names and replace it with their family names.

One of my favorite essays titled “The Concise Eloquence of Names” celebrates the idea of embracing our historical past and the blessing our name bestows upon us. Perhaps this may help us appreciate what lies within and move forward with our names intact and our heads held up high.

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