Personal Names of Pakistani Muslims: An Essay on Onomastics


  • Tariq Rahman


This article discusses beliefs about personal names and naming practices in Pakistan. It also touches very briefly upon nicknames and how they are used in the society. The focus of the article is how names are connected with several societal variables such as identity, power and belief-system. They are related to rural and urban perceptions of identity; ethnic identities; level of religiosity and its type and social class. Names may be changed with a view to concealing a problematic identity or to integrate with a desiderated group identity. Moreover, changing trends in naming may indicate changes in belief-systems such as increasing Islamization, Arabization or Westernization. In short, names are important indicators of identity and changes in identity construction.