Soviet-inspired baby names in India

Moscow isn’t just a city in Russia. It’s also a village in Kerala, India. Communist supporters changed the village name in the 1950s.

Many babies born in the state of Kerala — especially those born during the Cold War decades — were given Soviet-inspired names as well. Some examples:


One man named Gagarin was born the same year as Yuri Gagarin’s famous flight. He said “his name inspired him to a keen interest in astronomy.”

Another, named Pushkin, works as a bank employee. He said his named embarrassed him as a child:

His friends had names like Sathish, Unni and Ramesh.

“It was only later that I realised the importance of having such a name,” he says.

“None of the 25,000 in my bank has a non-Indian name. I am well known because of this name.”

Names like these are rare nowadays, but “[m]any still name their sons after Lenin.”

Source: Raman, Sunil. “Stalin and Lenins reunite in India.” BBC News 1 Nov. 2005.

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