There’s a lot in a name in India, where the christening of a newborn is a massive occasion. Families are known to carefully choose their child’s name, sometimes even taking into account the alignment of stars and other extra-terrestrial happenings.
In such a sensitive milieu, A-list celebrity couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor he hails from the royal family of Pataudi in northern India, and she belongs to the oldest and most illustrious family of Indian cinema came under heavy social media fire over the name they chose for their newborn son, Taimur.
The hashtag #Taimur trended on Twitter all of Wednesday and generated more than 3 million impressions. Still counting.
Taimur, born on Dec. 20 in Mumbai, shares his name with a barbaric figure from medieval history, and Indians lashed out at his Oxford-educated father for his perceived carelessness.
I wouldn’t mind some twat from Owaisi clan naming his son Taimur. The thing is one expects better from a man of Saif’s education.
Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) December 21, 2016
Taimur Lang, or Tamerlane, was the founder of the Timurid Empire in 14th century Persia and he continues to live in Indian folklore as a true-blue villain.
He, of Turkish-Mongol ancestry, had invaded the country in 1398 and brought down the Delhi Sultanate. Various historians believe that his military campaigns across Islamic empires in India, Persia, Syria and Ottoman Turkey, led to the slaughter of 17 million people, amounting to nearly 5 percent of the world population.
Taimur is also known to have beheaded his mother at the age of 18.
Much of the criticism came from Indias right-wing commentators whose disgust seemed to stem from the fact that Taimur Ali Khan Pataudis parents, Khan and Kapoor, had an inter-religious marriage, still considered an aberration in this part of the world.
And they tweeted out a list of Taimurs atrocities to remind the couple of their supposed faux pas.
So Saif Ali Khan’s son and a Pakistani missile have the same name: Taimur.
Both inspired by a mass-murderer who slaughtered Hindus.
Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) December 20, 2016
Atleast folks are now learning about Taimur; something which NCERT failed 2 teach!
God bless Saif&Kareena
May their next one be named Qasim!
Harpreet (@CestMoiz) December 21, 2016
Meanwhile, the couples relative and veteran Indian actor Rishi Kapoor, slammed the Twitterati for their relentless outrage over the name.
Why are people so bothered what the parents want to name their child please?Mind your business,it’s got nothing to do with you.Parents wish!
Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) December 21, 2016
Popular Indian politician Omar Abdullah seemed to concur.
The only people who get to decide a baby’s name are the parents of said baby & the ones they ask. Why should opinion of the rest matter?
Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) December 20, 2016
There were others who drew comparisons between Emperor Taimur and the Greek invader Alexander the Great, whom history remembers more flatteringly.
Taimur was a villain. He invaded countries, razed cities, killed many. Alexander was a hero. He invaded countries, razed cities, killed …
Ashok Malik (@MalikAshok) December 20, 2016
Some tried to rationalize.
And some went with sarcasm.
“on the day he was born in breach candy hospital, taimur ali khan trended on twitter,” begins a horrible millennial salman rushdie novel.
Supriya Nair (@supriyan) December 20, 2016
Taimur was just a humanitarian conqueror – the real killer is demonetization
The Bad Doctor (@DOCTORATLARGE) December 22, 2016
Dear Sanghi bhaiyyon, we know its not the taimur that bothers, its the love jihad that hurts the most
Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) December 21, 2016
And unsurprisingly, India’s obsession with Bollywood celebrities continued its march to social media domination.