Name-changing isn't game-changing

Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 13:00 IST | C Y Gopinath

To believe that changing of names improves luck and brings good fortune, you must suspend clear thinking and reason

Name-changing isn't game-changing
Horary astrology is where an astrologer answers a question by casting a horoscope for the exact time at which the question was asked and understood by the astrologer. Pic/Getty Images

C Y Gopinath I am struggling in my life. I would like to come out of my problems. I want to really come up in life. What should I do? Should I change my name from m.sukumar to a.m.raajasugumaar?

Sukumar would neither be the first Indian to seek name-change to improve his luck nor the first one uncomfortable with his birth name. Last week, I wrote about my mulish attitude towards changing mine from Chitoor Yegnanarayan Gopinath to something more digestible like Gopie Naraayn.

But Dharam Devdutt Pishorimal Anand, Inquilab Srivastava, Shree Amma Yanger Ayyappan, Jaikishan Kakubhai, Hrithik Nagarath, Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia and Shivaji Rao Gaekwad all threw in the towel, finding fame and fortune as Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Sridevi, Jackie Shroff, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth.

Let's ask the question: would they have flopped if they had not changed their names? Do talent and hard work matter? Is this science or another pseudo-scientific Vedic rip-off?
Here's the reply Sukumar received from an online "lucky name" expert called Kannan M. In bold are the words designed to separate Sukumar from his money.

You must not attempt to change your own name. Self-medication is bad. You should seek expert help.

Your suggestion for a new name is worse than the original name.

You have to change your name as per my system of name numerology, if you really want to enjoy a lucky, prosperous and successful life with happy marriage and good children.

Only one number and its vibration will suit you best and give best results. It must be found out by expert calculations and measurements. . .

If you want, I can correct your name scientifically . . . and also confirm its accuracy by horary astrology with scientific measurements by Lecher Antenna.

Charlatans trying to pull the wool over your eyes will use certain tricks known to ensnare the gullible.
1. Establish his work as an area of special expertise.
2. Assert that he and only he has a working system.
3. Imply that complex mathematics and precise measurements are involved.
4. Introduce unfamiliar disciplines and instruments, which on scrutiny turn out to be unproven or, worse, irrelevant.
5. At some point, claim to cure cancer.

Let us dig a little. Your birth number is calculated by assigning numeric values to the letters in your name. But which name? And which language? Chitoor Yegnanarayan Gopinath as on the Aadhaar Card or C Y Gopinath as in the famous mid-day column IMHO? Or in curly letters of the Tamil alphabet? And while adding the numbers of the date of birth, should we take the English May, the Tamil Vaikasi or just the number 5? And while at it, why not go for the time as well — in my case, unknown? And should the time be when the head triumphantly squeezed through or the moment of vagitus, my first scream? When competing methodologies, all unproven, each claims to be right it's a red flag.

It is not known whether Vishal Devgan's career took off before or after he became Ajay Devgan or Devgan was tweaked to Devgn, but according to the latest Times CelebX list of January 2018, he only ranks #13 among Bollywood stars — and was #1 just once five years ago.

Horary astrology is where an astrologer answers a question by casting a horoscope for the exact time at which the question was asked and understood by the astrologer. We're already in muddy waters: since Sukumar's question was emailed, is the time of asking when he hit Send? When it reached the numerologist's Inbox? Or when the man read it? Who decides?

The Lecher Antenna on which Mr Sukumar was promised scientific measurements is not a periscope used by peeping Toms. Invented in the 1920s by German physicist Ernst Lecher, it is used in quantum medicine to measure environmental and biological radiations that could affect human health. Add a medical antenna to a mystical astrological system based on when a question is asked and join it with a mysterious method where letters, only of the English alphabet for some reason, are assigned life-changing numbers — and you have all the elements of a cosmic rip-off with millions of unthinking, unquestioning, paying adherents.

Numerologists get away with attributing your good fortune (if any!) to their name-changing expertise — only because you have no way of proving that it would have happened anyway even without the name change. You cannot prove superiority without something to compare with.

Be like my friend Indro, who changed his name from Indroneel to Indroneil because his boss thought it was a good idea, but cleverly kept his passport and Aadhaar card name unchanged, thus getting the best of all possible worlds.

His wife abandoned Geita for the best possible reason — to stand out in a world of plain vanilla Geetas.

Here, viewed from there. C Y Gopinath, in Bangkok, throws unique light and shadows on Mumbai, the city that raised him. You can reach him at
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