Keralites’ love for Russian and Latin American names is well known. Move around and you can still meet many Breshnev, Khrushchev, Lenin, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the countryside. But JP 77 is a little different.
Five years ago, when JP Seventy Seven went to Dubai for a trip, airport authorities had a tough time and asked him repeatedly to reveal his full name. He convinced them with much difficulty that it was his real name. Despite such minor irritants, JP 77 basks (on his Aadhaar card it is JPseventyseven, he says space was missing in true Aadhaar style) in the glory of his name. Though his father was an ardent fan of late socialist Jayprakash Narayan his 43-year-old son belongs to the BJP camp. He is the party candidate from one of the wards in Kayanna in Kozhikode district in north Kerala.
Now, how did JP 77 get his name? “I was born in 1977, the year emergency was lifted. My father was a big fan of Lok Nayak Jayprakash Narayan. It was the beginning of a new dawn after the dark days of the emergency so my father was keen to join both, emergency and JP, as a result I was named JP 77,” he said.
JP 77 works in the marketing department of Janmabhoomi, the mouthpiece of the BJP. He said he’s known in his area as JP and 77 does not bother him much these days.
“When I grew up many people advised me to change my name but I stick to it as it was fondly given by my late father T V Ramadas. More than one’s name, a person is known by his work, behaviour and attitude,” said JP 77. He’s locked in a fierce three-cornered contest in the local body polls. He said in the last local election the BJP came a close second and his mission is to bridge the small gap and emerge victorious.
At least 30 km away from his ward, Brasilia, a former councillor of the Muslim League, is trying her luck again in Kozhikode Corporation (north Kerala). An ardent fan of the Brazil soccer team, she was named after the Brazil capital by her soccer-crazy uncle. Kozhikode’s football craze is well known. During the soccer World Cup many fans wear the jersey of their favourite player and they are known after their player till the tournament is over. And they also love to name their newborn children after their favourite soccer teams or players.
Last year, the Idukki district Congress Committee had called a meeting of those who bear the name of Gandhi to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. At least 100 ‘Gandhis’ from various parts of Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu responded to the invitation. Naming after all-time greats and plays is prevalent in many parts of the world. According to NBC News, more than 4,500 children in United States were named after the characters of the Game of Throne (American fantasy drama series) in 2018.