Indian-American Baby Names

February 24th, 2011

 

Neeta is due any day and seeks an Indian name that works well in an English speaking world.  Let ‘s help her out.

 

I’ve been following your blog for a bit now, and was wondering if you could help me out in my own naming quest.  My baby will be half Indian (from India!) and half-American, and I’m looking for a name that represents both cultures – or at least one that is easy to pronounce in both languages!  Growing up in the U.S. with an Indian name, I know the difficulties of having an “ethnic” name – people pronouncing it incorrectly or claiming it’s too hard to say – and honestly, I embrace.  It’s the price of carrying something of my culture as part of my identity, and I don’t mind gently correcting people.  My husband, on the other hand, grew up with a basic all-American name and experienced the other end of the spectrum – the awkwardness of not wanting to pronounce someone’s name for fear of getting it wrong, and the ambiguity in terms of gender that often accompanies foreign names.  He’s also worried about putting our baby through the teasing or bullying that might go along with an Indian name, especially when he or she might not look very Indian and won’t have an Indian last name!

So to win him over I’ve been on the hunt for an Indian name that looks easy to pronounce and won’t scare my poor husband away.  Names that are either common enough in the U.S. so that many people will already know how to pronounce it (we live in a big city with a relatively large Indian population) or one that is easy enough to guess phonetically.  The biggest problem I’ve come across is the difference in how a name looks like it should be said vs. how it’s actually said.  Case in point: Ravi is a really common Indian name, but most people in the U.S. pronounce it Rah-vee when it’s actually Ruh-vee.

A couple that match the criteria (aka asking hubby how he would pronounce a name corresponding to how I would pronounce it) include Shreya, Leena, Rohan, Neil.  Hubby really likes Maya, but I have a little cousin with that name.  One that I really like is Naina, but it makes poor hubby cross-eyed every time he attempts it.  Are there any Indian names that you can think of that you have found easy to say?  Or any advice in choosing an ethnic name?  Our last name is two syllables, and starts with an H.

Thanks so much!
Neeta

 

Neeta, thank you so much for this incredible challenge!  I fear I’m not *entirely* up to the task, as I read not a lick of Sanskrit, nor any other language native to India, but– I’m not afraid to try.  Here are some names that seem like they would work fairly seamlessly in English?  My criterion was simply that they be attractive (to me) and relatively simple.

Hope you find a gem in here.  Please let me know which names would not be pronounced the same in both countries, and as always readers, we welcome your ideas.*

 

Amala- Sanskrit, “clean, pure.”

Anjali- Sanskrit, “offering.”

Asha- Sanskrit, “wish, desire, hope.”

Avani- Sanskrit, “earth.”

Indira- Sanskrit, “beauty.”

Kala- Sanskrit, “art form, beauty.”

Kumari- “In the Hindu epic ’Mahabharata’ Kumari is the wife of the warrior Bhima. This is also another name of the Hindu goddess Durga.”

Mina- Sanskrit, “fish.”

Mira- Sanskrit, “sea, ocean.”

Priya- Sanskrit, “Priya.”

Sashi- Transcription of Shashi, which refers to the moon and literally translates to “having a hare.”

Sundara- Sanskrit, “beautiful.”

Yamuna- Name of an Indian river.

Veena/Vina- Sanskrit, “lute.”

 

Akash- Sanskrit, “open sky, space.”

Amar- Sanskrit, “immortal.”

Anand- Sanskrit, “Happiness, bliss.”

Lochan- Sanskrit, “the eye.”

Mahesh- Sanskrit, “great lord.” Another name for Vishnu.

Raj- Sanskrit, “king”, “prince.”

Rakesh- Sanskrit, “lord of the full moon day.”

Sunil- Sanskrit, “very blue.”

Vasant- Sanskrit, “brilliant”, “spring.”

 

*All meanings from Behindthename.com

For more like the image above, please see my Scavenger Hunt at my other new blog, The Itsy Factor.

155 Responses to “Indian-American Baby Names”

  1. catherine Says:

    I know an Indian man whose name is Nikhil, but he is usually called “Nik” (like “Nick” from Nicholas).

    His (also half-Indian) son is named Rajan, pronounced RAHJ-n (like the first half of Roger + n).

  2. Kelly P Says:

    Great suggestions! I have a couple more to add as I have some dear friends who are Indian and live in the US and have chosen beautiful names for their kids. They named their daughter Pritika. I’m assuming it’s a traditional Indian name and I’ve always thought it was lovely and not hard to pronounce or understand. Their son is Rajvir (nn: Raj) and I love that too. Incidentally his name is Pawan, also easy to pronounce and a very nice name.

  3. Elisabeth L Says:

    I grew up in an area with a large Indian population, and I know some of my friends had an easier time with getting their names pronounced correctly than others. My friend Geetanjali got so tired of people mispronouncing her name that she went by Joey.

    Here’s some names that I remember that were typically pronounced correctly:
    Meera
    Devika
    Lina

  4. Liz Says:

    What About Bodhi for a boy? One of my all-time faves!

  5. Amber Says:

    I worked with an Indian-American woman named Nandita, I don’t think anyone ever had trouble with her name. Looks like it means “happy”.

  6. Tara Says:

    I’m half Indian half Swedish, and was given the Indian name Tara. Super easy for everyone, although Americans often initially pronounce it “Tera” as opposed to “Taara” with longer A. After the first correction though, not a problem!

    Some of my half-Indian cousins and Indian friends with easily understood names are: Rakesh, Arjun, Rohan, Nikhil, Prashant, Kiran, Manish, Aroon/Arun, Rumi, Anita, Melalie, Kavita, Priya, Meena, Divya, Anima, Nina, Uma, Lali.

    I don’t think you should be too worried about Ravi either. Random people may not instinctively get the “Ruh”, but people you interact with more than once will be fine with it if you tell them how to say it. Got a cousin by the name and he’s doing fine!

  7. Oscar Says:

    Padma?
    Bindi?

  8. Awkward Turtle Says:

    I know a pair of Indian sisters called Pun@m and Ann@. Does Anna have any connection to India? Maybe Harpreet, nn Harper would work if that’s your syle.

  9. Sarah A Says:

    While I am not Indian, my husband and I are cross-cultural too so this is a topic dear to my heart!

    From your list I really like Neil. I went to high school with an Indian boy named Neil and he loved it.

    I have a friend from India named Neha, what about that? She doesn’t have any problems with her name, though you could respell it Neyha for further clarification. I do see your reluctance to use a name that will not be pronounced correctly; I have a colleague (male) named Nanda and people are always mispronouncing his name to rhyme with ‘nan’ like ‘Nancy’ or ‘Amanda’ when it’s really a long ‘ah’ sound like the word ‘on’. Now I’m just babbling, sorry!

    I also like Liz’s suggestion of Bodhi, that’s an awesome name! And Indira for a girl is just gorgeous. Good luck :)

  10. Ever Says:

    How about Monika, Shona, Hana for a girl or Hari for a boy? Good luck deciding, and congratulations!

  11. Julia Says:

    I grew up in a fairly jewish and catholic part of New York state. I didn’t know many American Indians but those I did know, I absolutely love their names.
    Vipin and Rupi, siblings, obviously abbreviated versions of their much longer birthright names.

    Julia

  12. Jennifer Fuss Says:

    I love Indira. I find it incredibly beautiful! And it has the adorable nn of Indy.

  13. Green Angst Says:

    I have a half-Indian friend named Anjuli, nn: Ani. Her sis is Sonia. I think both names (and the nn) are beautiful. They grew up in a tiny rural town full of mostly white folks, and I think Anjuli was hard for their community to pronounce, so she became Ani. Shouldn’t be hard in a metropolitan city with a large Indian population though.

  14. Nina Says:

    Naina is beautiful. I also like Leela, which apparently means “playful” or “divine play”. Also like Priya, Mira and Raj. I must say, I find many Indian names so lovely.

  15. millymom619 Says:

    I think Amala, Mina, and Mira are the most American-sounding names listed. Amala would be great with the popularity of Amelia and Amalia on the rise. I think Asha is a great name, and know several Priyas, so that name would probably be easily recognized.

    I really like Leena and think Neil is very familiar.

  16. kristen Says:

    Some of my favorite easy-for-Americans-to-say-and-perhaps-a-bit-American-sounding girl names (pardoning my limited knowledge): Padma, Uma, Ojal (and Opal?) Pia, Soma, Prem, Sabal, Anju, Viveca, and Selma.

    for boys: Bir, Dev, Sabal, Vir, Eka, Prem, I’m a fan of one-syllable and really simple names.

    and what about just an Indian word-name? So many Hindi words *sound* like beautiful names to me. Some meanings that I’d, personally, be interested in to see the translation and whether it’s name worthy: dream, bloom (and other nature names), bear (and any other beloved animals.)

    Aren’t there Persian linguistic influences in Hindi? I *really* love the Persian meaning of Julep: water on roses. I think it’s even (pardon the pun) sweeter that it’s a syrupy American drink, but then I have child named after a fruit. This is a stretch, isn’t it? I just so love this name.

    I love for boys names like: Sabal Augustine, Vir (or Bir) Leopold, and Prem Augustus.

    For girls, names like: Pia Jane. Uma Evelyn, Padma Clementine, Viveca Heloise, Sabal Amadora, Opal Luella, and Selma Cleone.

  17. Julie Says:

    Another American here, with no real connection to India, but I was thinking about some of my husband’s old T.A.s and which names seemed easy for our western tongues…

    Chanda Sarika Kalpana Gita Nila
    Naveen Yash Arun Dev Manu Mohinder Kamal Jai Vijay

  18. Laura S Says:

    I completely empathize with your situation! My husband has a somewhat ethnic and gender ambiguous name, which is currently impacting our naming process…

    Friends, classmates and colleagues of mine with Indian names include:

    Girls:
    Roopa (doesn’t this name / girl just sound like fun? she is!)
    Priyanka (or Priya) – so pretty!
    Gauri (pronounced Gori, yes?)
    Bhawna (pronounced BahV-na?) Maybe easier for Americans if it were spelt more phonetically – Bhavna?
    Nidhi (really like this one too! this woman is very elegant and stylish)
    Pallabi (valedictorian of our class- lovely lady!)
    Sahira (reminds me of the Sahara desert…)

    Jhumpa – author of, The Namesake – I think she’s pretty well known here, yes?

    Boys:
    Vivek
    Ameay (pronounced A-may-ah?)
    Varot (this might actually be Thai, though?)
    Vijay
    Ravi
    Ajay

    Rumi – after the poet (who, was a man), but another naming site says this is Japanese, a girls name, and means ‘beautiful’ – Liz?
    Gogol – from the movie, The Namesake

    IMHO, I think these names are fairly easy to pronounce and some definitely sound more / distinctly masculine and feminine (though, that is truly a stereotypical thing to say – that vowel / softer sounds are feminine and harder / rough sounds are masculine – I’m cringing that I actually even typed this!) However, I think my favorites are (f) Sahira and (m) Ravi. Congrats on your pregnancy and all the bests with your name search!

  19. Siobhan Says:

    I love Elisabeth’s suggestions of Amala, Anjali, Asha, Avani, Indira, Mina, Priya, Amar and Sunil. I also love some other readers suggestions including Pritika, Lina, Uma, Selma, Sahira, Ravi, Rumi and Naveen. So many beautiful names to choose from…

    I used to babysit a little Indian girl named Prashani, and I always loved her name as well.

    Good luck with your decision!

  20. Carey Says:

    Great suggestions! I grew up with a girl named Asha who had a very common Irish last name (I believe her mom was Indian). I think that’s a beautiful name and I also love Priya. My favorite boys’ names are Rakesh and Vasant. Also, two of my husband’s co-workers are Rajat and Ravneet. Good luck!

  21. Neeta Says:

    oh, wow! Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! We’re leaning towards Leena for a girl, but I really like the sound of Asha. Asha Bhosle is a famous Indian singer, and a great person to be named after :) Boys have been harder, but Akash sounds pretty good. Neil would be easiest, but I’m not particularly fond of it.

    Elizabeth, thank you so much for your suggestions – you’ve happened to stumble upon one of my favorite girl names, Anjali, but unfortunately, it’s not pronounced anything like it looks :) It’s pronounced un-jal-ee, rather than the angel-ee that it probably would be mistaken for. You’ve also found some of my cousins’ names (Mina, Mira, Priya), which are all easily pronounceable but we obviously can’t use (this is what happens when you have older cousins/siblings! They take all the good names :) ).

    Amar, Anand, and Avani have the same issue as Anjali- the a’s are supposed to be pronounced more like a u, basically an “uh” sound. So Amar would be uh-mur. A’s are hard… so are t’s, because they are meant to be pronounced “th” – like in my own name, it’s pronounced nee-tha, or even nee-thuh, though the difference in sound between the -a and the -uh ending isn’t very prominent.

    I will definitely keep you all updated on which name we choose (only a few more days now!), and if anyone else has suggestions, please feel free to add on to the list!

  22. Neeta Says:

    aww, Geetanjali is a hard one! I hope my little one doesn’t reject our choice, but I’d understand if he/she felt the need to go by another name to fit in. Lina (spelled Leena) is one of our top choices, and Meera would be as well, if I didn’t have a cousin with that name :) Great suggestions, thank you!

  23. Neeta Says:

    Nandita is very pretty, but it’s definitely not pronounced how it looks: nun-di-tha. T’s and A’s generally don’t cross over between the two languages :(

  24. Neeta Says:

    I love your name! May we steal it? :) It honestly is quite the perfect mix of slightly American but also slightly Indian. Kudos to your parents!

    You’re right in that most names just take a gentle correction before people accept it, but I’ve definitely had people say flat out to me “I can’t pronounce your name, do you have a nickname?” …and I’m pretty sure mine’s not all that hard, lol. Love your suggestions, I will definitely go through the list with DH! Thanks!

  25. Neeta Says:

    Neha is a great suggestion! I will definitely add it to the list – it’s simple and I don’t think it will be mispronounced in either culture. Thank you for your suggestions!

  26. Neeta Says:

    Sonia is one we considered and DH rejected because of a girl he knew with the same name in elementary school – apparently it wasn’t a good memory. Anjuli or Anjali is one of my favorites, but as you mentioned, it’s a bit difficult to pronounce. Thanks for your suggestions!

  27. Neeta Says:

    haha, great idea to pull out old TA names! I’ll definitely run some of these by DH :)

  28. Neeta Says:

    Love your suggestions! And your pronunciations are dead on – especially Bhavna/Bhawna/Bhauna, which are all variations of spelling the same name (one of my aunt’s names, actually :) ).

  29. Betty Says:

    Drawing on my teaching experience – I knew my memory of kids’ names would come in handy one day. Here are some names I can recall: for the girls, Priya is a lovely name, as is Mina. But the girl I knew was Meena, which I think is kind of cute. Leya, Amritha (I think the h was silent), Yasmina. For the boys, Bodhi, Deven, Venu (Vuh-NOO), Rohan (Ro-HAN). None of their friends or teachers seemed to have any problems pronouncing these.
    All the best at this exciting time!

  30. Betty Says:

    Ooh I just remembered – Arpana, Radha and Chandra (girls) and boys Manu and Arun.

  31. youcantcallitit Says:

    And I love so many of the A names!

    Glad you’re finding some that you like. Too bad your family swiped so many of the good ones.

    I used to work with a girl named Anjali and we said it something like AHN-jah-lee. Guess that wasn’t quite right, but I always loved saying her name. Sundara was another favorite of mine on a girl that I worked with, but she wasn’t Indian.

  32. Candy Says:

    My friend’s daughter was in the same situation as Neeta. They now have three daughters: Inara Rain, Ananda Jordan and Krisha Faith. I love all of their choices. They are pregnant again, one last time, with a boy due in May, and are totally stumped this time. They want to follow the same desire as Neeta describes, to come up with and Indian name that is American friendly. The husband is Nik (Nikhil). I love the suggestions for boy’s names in these comments and am passing them along to this couple.

  33. SkyeRhyly Says:

    My favourite Indian boy name is Shalya.

  34. Sydney Says:

    There are a few people of Indian heritage at my school, and overall they have really great names! Here are some (sorry for any repeats):
    Girls -
    Shivani
    Anisha

    Boys -
    Naveen
    Raj
    Pavan

  35. Katy Says:

    I have almost nothing to add either, not being Indian and probably mispronouncing every Indian name. I have a friend named Neelesh and I don’t think he ever had too many issues with pronunciation in our very non-multicultural hometown. His brother Nandan, did though. If you don’t like Neil, maybe Neelesh?

  36. Gadget Says:

    I’m sure most anything I could say has been suggested, but I didn’t find the name I’ll be suggesting:

    Aishie

    It’s a take on Aisha or Asha, not certain, but I haven’t actually seen it anywhere other than on a friend who is half American and half Indian :) For us Americans it’s pretty easy to guess: AYE-she. :) And she says she hasn’t had many problems with it :)

    I grew up in a largely Caucasian area and these were the names I did encounter:
    Girls: Areefa, Rujuta, and Anuja (aside from Aishie)
    Boys: Raj (I think it was short for something, but I’ve never seen what) and Debu

    As an American, I was able to get Raj, Areefa and Debu correctly the first time. The other two female names…well…they still sort of stump me.

    Hope it helps!

  37. Stefanie Says:

    I also have a friend with the name Neelesh, and I don’t think he’s had too many pronounciation issues either. Its a lovely name.

  38. J Says:

    I think my favorites are Indira, Asha, or Leena (for a girl).

    By the way, I really do like Avani, especially when it has that nice “uh” sound at the beginning–I think I’d prefer it to a long a sound.

  39. So Says:

    I’m also a south asian married to an American! We named our daughter Maya Siri :)

    May I suggest Sarala, Ekhta, Ashira, Sashi or Insha for a girl?

    Dev, Rahul, or Rajiv for a boy?

  40. Alex Says:

    How about Dylan for a boy? In Sanskrit, the meaning of the name is “The Sea”. I think it would work really well for an Indo-American baby.

  41. Alex Says:

    Alright, I came across a bunch more names that are Indian in origin:

    Girl:
    Aaliya, meaning High or Tall, Towering.
    Amala, meaning Clean, Pure.
    Asha, Hope.
    Charisse, meaning Like a cherry
    Esha, meaning Desired.
    Gwenith, meaning Beautiful, wonderful.
    Harper, meaning A harp player
    Indira, meaning Beauty.
    Kyra, meaning Princess
    Lavenia, meaning Purified
    Lorena, meaning Crowned with laurels
    Pasha, meaning A bond.
    Zara, meaning Little, petite.

    Boy:
    Brandon, meaning Broom covered hill.
    Bryn, meaning Hill.
    Corey, meaning Servant of god.
    Drake, meaning Dragon.
    Kent, meaning Bright
    Leon, meaning Lion.
    Omar, meaning life, long living.
    Xavier, meaning New house.

  42. Laura S Says:

    Thanks! Bhavna is a lovely name! So is Neeta : )

  43. Jenn in Canada Says:

    I haven’t seen these mentioned, so I’ll throw them in there.
    Ruchi – this is the name of one of my friends. I really like it and I don’t know of anyone who has trouble saying it.
    Sarita – I’ve always loved this name. I think it would only take one correction (and she could Americanize it to Sara if she ever felt the need to.)
    Nisha – I think this is really pretty and easy to pronounce too. I know a girl with this name and I don’t think she’s had any problems with pronounciation.

  44. Brooke Says:

    I’m on my phone so forgive me for being repetitive. I love Neha. Priya seems like a fitting choice. I’ve also heard Priyanka. Seems easy enough because it’s like Bianca. But this is coming from someone who is familiar with the culture.

  45. Carey Says:

    I was watching Big Bang Theory last night and the main character’s girlfriend is Priya. She is sister to another character on the show named “Rajesh Koothrappali.” :)

  46. Candice Says:

    Difficult situation! I know all about it since I’m French Canadian and husband is Arab. Names gotta work perfectly in 3 languages! I’m not worried about people pronouncing the name perfectly in Arabic as long as it sounds good in French and English. It will be pronounced perfectly in Arabic when we are in Egypt or talking to Arab family members. Of course this is coming from my perspective as the non-Arab but my husband is OK with it. Maybe you can give another chance to names that sound great in their messed up English pronunciations and focus on how th names do sound Indian and will get correctly pronounced when with Indian family?

  47. Sabrina Moran Says:

    My Indian friend recently named her beautiful baby girl Sayli, pronouned Sigh-lee (I had to be corrected). I think it’s beautiful!

  48. Sarah Says:

    Neha! I have a very good friend from southern India and her name, while pretty common (we live in Portland, OR and there are a lot of south Asians in this area), is easy to pronounce and really beautiful! Sometimes it’s mistakenly pronounced Nee-ha, instead of Nay-ha, but I think both ways sound nice. Best of luck!

  49. Rupa Wong Says:

    I’m Indian-American and my hubby is 4th gen Chinese-American and we live in Hawaii. So, for my son, since he was going to have a Chinese last name and there aren’t too many Indians out here, I wanted to have an Indian name that was easy to pronounce by people unfamiliar with Indian names. We named him

    Nikhil (Nik or Nicky for short). Other names we considered:
    Raj
    Naveen
    Taj
    Kiran
    Jai
    Sai

    For girls, I liked:
    Tara
    Asha
    Meera
    Meena
    Neena
    Leena
    Divya
    Maya – so popular!

    But, alas, looks like #2 is a boy as well, so I won’t be going with my fave name of Asha for this one. My name is also very easy to pronounce and I grew up in North Carolina! My brother’s name is Vijay, which does often get pronounced VJ, but still has a great meaning. The one bad thing with Nikhil is that if often gets pronouced Ni-KEEL instead of NI-kill, but overall, not too bad. And, I loved the Namesake, which is what I named him after.

  50. Catherine Pai Says:

    My husband is Indian and I’m Irish- catholic. We always said if we had a girl she’d have a name similar to me and a boy would be Indian. We had our little girl and both loved Charlotte. But now I am pregnant with a boy and the name we loved was getting so mispronounced, Talin (Tall-in) but everyone remembered it as Talon, that I have to find something else. It’s hard to find that name that respects his culture but my family can pronounce and understand. And I like them to sound somewhat like brother and sister….tall order.
    Names we found:
    Karsin- one who attracts others
    Ravinder
    Kanin- born to a young wife
    Rochil
    Taran- raft; heaven

    Girls (if I was having one):
    Lila
    Lola
    Amaya
    Ameera

  51. Nina Says:

    I like Ravinder, which evidently means “sun” and “king of angels”. Ravi for short is way cool. Charlotte and Ravi also sound great together. Good luck, Catherine!

  52. Umang Says:

    Hey

    I just came across this website, and I thought I would try my luck here.

    My name is Umang Vaish (100% indian). I am going into college in the fall, and I am thinking about changing my name (probably not legally.. more like a nickname) so people I meet over the next four years will be able to pronounce and remember my name.

    First of all, should I bother changing my name or not? If so, what names do you think would fit well with my last name?

    I currently have three names in my mind, but I have no clue if they work with my last name or if theyre great for collegelife.
    -Neil
    -Akshay
    -Rohan

    If you don’t like any of the three, or they dont work with my last name, what would you suggest?

  53. Chelsea Heard Says:

    My boyfriend is Indian, and I am completely American so I wanted something Indian-American, too :) I wanted something that meant something like sunshine or happiness, and I though of “Sunrei/Sunrae”? Both sides of the family could pronounce it without too much trouble, and I think it sounds really cute! I guess the American side would pronounce it more like “SUN-RAY” but I like “Soon-reh-ee.” I talked to my boyfriend about it, though, and he just doesn’t like it! He wants something more modern and common. (But I like unique names.) Ah, we’ll see! Good luck with your search!

  54. Holly Goswami Says:

    It is so hard to choose a name anyway, then through in the 2 cultures and it gets near impossible. My Indian husband and I have been together for 14+ years. We have 3 children with a 4th due within the month. Their names are:
    Anamika, nickname “Mika”,
    Krishen, which sounds like “Christian” to most Americans, and
    Chandra, which most Americans are also familiar with.
    Now we need another girl name.
    Some names we are considering are:
    Ayanna
    Devina
    Indira
    Leena
    Lakshmi
    Maya
    Nina
    Rekha
    Raveena
    Vidya
    Ugh, it’s always a struggle!
    Good Luck!

  55. Holly Goswami Says:

    What happened to you Neeta? When did you have the baby? What name did you finally choose? I’m American and my husband is Indian and our 4th child is due in less than a month. Our 3 children are: Anamika (Mika), Krishen, and Chandra. Haven’t decided on the 4th, yet.

  56. Sophia Says:

    One of my favourite names ever ever ever is Priya. So beautiful! You forgot to put the meaning though (beloved). I know a little girl called Priya whose sisters are Lily and Wren, gorgeous sibset I think :)

  57. Rachelle Says:

    I am American Married to a man from India and we named our son an English First Name and an Indian name for his Middle Name. If you do as I did, you may find the Indians will prefer to call him by his middle name Only as if it were his 1st name, but then my in-laws are racists. You are the one who will be repeating the name over and over again so pick what YOU Like. :-)

  58. Vandana Says:

    My suggestion, Umang — don’t change your name. Believe me, I TOTALLY know the feeling of having a hard to pronounce Indian name and having to say it four times before somebody even gets close to saying it right (or just gives up all together), BUT that being said, I went by a nickname for a long time and eventually just decided to go back to my given name.

    I think it’s good for people to hear names that are unfamiliar and get used to pronouncing them. Like I said, I know it’s tough, but in the long run I think it’s worth it. Also, it gets confusing later in life when some people call you one thing and others call you something totally different.

    Besides, it’s college — you never know what kinds of crazy adventures you’ll have that will generate fun nicknames that will carry better memories than a name you just picked randomly.

    Good luck!

  59. teal Says:

    Hi – I’m a bit late to the post;but hopefully it’s still relevant. I’m a first generation Indian in the US and names are extremely important. I remember being a kid and no one being able to pronounce my name…

    Here are some newer and modern Indian/Hindu names:
    Girls:
    1. Shaila
    2. Tara
    3. Layla
    4. Nisa
    5. Jasmine
    6. Maya
    7. Aria or Arianna
    8. Samiya
    9. Eva
    10. Neva
    11. Riya or Ria or Reya

    Boys:
    1. Jaiden or Jayden
    2. Shaan
    3. Shailen / Shaylen
    4. Shayen
    5. Jayen
    6. Kamren
    7. Arav
    8. Arman
    9. Avi
    10. Rehan / Reyan

    Hope this helps!!! :)

  60. teal Says:

    Oops – forgot 2 names:

    Boys:
    11. Deven
    12. Dilan

  61. Deena Says:

    I named my daughter Riya. I’m expecting a boy and we like the names: Saavin, Ravi, Krish, Rohan, Shaan, Rishaan, Rayan, Milan. So hard!

  62. Deena Says:

    I LOVE your list. One of the best I’ve seen!

  63. Kumar Says:

    I love the boy name suggestions in this thread. Our baby is due in less than 3 wks and we are finding it really difficult to agree on a name. Good news is that we have it narrowed down to 2 names and I wanted to get your opinion on which one is better than the other. The top contenders are:

    JAI and RISHI

    Thanks!!

  64. Seema Says:

    My parents named me Seema. Very easy to pronounce indian girl’s name.

  65. Reisa Says:

    I named my daughter DAYA (pronouced Day-ah). Very easy to pronouce and has a beautiful meaning in Hinduism (one of the 5 virtues of life – Compassion). We are having a boy in the next few months and are having trouble finding a good Indo-American name that is not too common (we know too many Dilans and Devons it seems)…Great list Teal! Any other boy suggestions would be great!!

  66. Hari Says:

    I’m going to have a baby boy soon, so I’ve short listed these names –
    Rajiv / Rajeev
    Veer
    Aryan
    Krish (or Krishna)

    Still can’t decide :)

  67. PP Says:

    We are in the same situation and have decided to name our boy Vivek Daniel

  68. T.J. Says:

    I’m an American married to an Indian and speak a fair bit of Hindi. “Bodhi” in Hindi means a cowlick that makes your hair stick up at the crown! So might not work too well in a Hindi-speaking crowd! :)

  69. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    *Awesome*

  70. Belle Vie Says:

    I think these are cute and easy to pronounce!
    Reva
    Kirra
    Rani

  71. Lira Says:

    This really caught my attention! I have two cousins who are sisters named Neha and Neeta. :)

  72. papillonaceous Says:

    I’m from India and my husband is a blonde haired blue eyed jewish american and we’re expecting a baby girl at the end of this month. Finding a name was so difficult for us because while we like a lot indian names (including Anjali) we were afraid his family wouldn’t be able to say the name or she would be teased since she might end up not looking Indian at all.

    Our current list of names include:

    Meena
    Meera
    Lila
    Lyra
    Asha
    Maya
    Keira
    Sheila

    Right now we’re leaning towards Lyra…

  73. eBirdie Says:

    I love Lyra. Good luck!

  74. Sita Says:

    How about Suma? It is a pretty and pronounceable. I have a sister named Suma, and everyone can pronounce her name. My name, Sita, everyone pronounces correctly.

  75. AlwaysAwesome Says:

    How about an Indian name with a nickname? Or a more american name that still sounds amazing with the Indian pronunciation? I know a few people called Salena, Pia and Amandha and for a boy there’s Jay or Neal. Or my name Ruthika which in america is pronounced Rue-tee-ka instead of Ru-the-ka. I go by Rue. So basically an Indian name but with an american nickname. Or I have a friend Thanvi whose mother put an H in her name so her name would be pronounced correctly. =D

  76. Pari Says:

    Renee which mean reborn

    Amber or Umber- sky

    Aliya or Aaliya- sorry not so sure abt meaning but sure its good.

    Bela- Beautiful

  77. Pari Says:

    Raina- mean night…

  78. Dr. Ram Says:

    Most the names in India originate from Sanskrit one of the oldest languages of the world. Also many nams that one might see is the result of the blend that India went through since 3 B.C. the time Alexander the Great came to India. The name India comes from the word Indus (Indus Valley Civilization). So we Indians are a blend of Greek, French (settled in Pondicherry in South India), Portugese (settled in Goa), the Jewish (Southern most part Kerala and has the oldest Synagogue in the Commonwealth), and of course the English, Scottish, and Irish who came to India in 1612. I am half American (mix of English and Swedish) and half Indian. My name is Ram .

    Names like Rita, Anita, Sheela, Asha are all Indian but very much used in Israel and by the Jewish.

  79. Bhuvna Vaghela Says:

    I really can’t decide for our baby boy’s name. He is due in Sep 2012. I and my husband both are Indian but we would like to name our baby that is easy for both countries. I do have a boys name list:

    Anuj
    Arjun
    Dave
    Veer
    Viraj
    Akash
    jaidan
    Arman
    Rishi
    Rajvir
    Ravi
    Krishna
    Abhijeet
    Rajiv

    Naming baby is super hard. :( .

  80. amruta Says:

    Ah finding the perfect name is pretty hard…
    I have searched for names a lot of time…and these are the shortlisted names
    some of you might want to pick one of these

    names for baby girls

    Raahi – traveller
    * Saloni: Beautiful
    * Sinjini: Sound of anklet
    * Svara: Goddess of sound
    * Naisha: Special
    * Neharika: Dew drops
    * Nishka: Honest
    * Chhavi: Reflection / photograph
    * Ihita: Desire
    * Ipsita: Desire
    * Rishima: Moonbeam
    * Ruhi: Soul
    * Urvi: Earth

  81. Monica Says:

    What do you guys think of the name ‘Daksh’? It means- skillful / competent.

  82. Monica Says:

    What do you guys think of the name ‘Daksh’ for boys? It means- skillful / competent.

  83. Shay Says:

    These are some names that are indian but don’t sound indian and are actually pretty normal.
    Girls- Jasmin (as in Jasmine flower), Bela (another name for jasmine flower, pronounced as Bey-la), Ivy (a creeper plant), Lily (a flower)
    Boys- Krish (short for Krishna), Glen (Dweller of valley), Anu (an atom), Adi (sun, short for aditya), Devan (like a god)

    Hoped this helped!
    BTW: I am indian american and my name is Shayla, but I go by Shay.

  84. Shefali Says:

    Hi! This has been helpful, thanks! We are embarking on trying to find the right Indian-American first name for children who will have a British last name.

    I am from the DC suburbs and wanted to give a shout out for my own name:
    Shefali. (sha-fa-li)

    It’s mostly been easy. Substitute teachers would mostly get it right on the first try. I do usually have to spell it out for people, but so do a lot of people with American names that aren’t perfectly traditional that I know. When I get a call center in India, I am golden! ;)

    I’ve been very happy with my name, but it would be weird to name my own daughter the same name (at least for me), but I hope someone else can enjoy it!

  85. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    Shefali is new to me, and it’s quite lovely! Thank you for sharing.

  86. Priya Says:

    I just stumbled on this list. So helpful.I am Indian American married to a caucasian. I’m expecting #2 and we have a little boy, Deven. We get SO many compliments on his name. Names we’re leaning towards (expecting a girl):

    Serena
    Diya
    Zara (love this but it’s a STORE)
    Mira
    Lyla

    Our boy name was already picked out: Dilan Jai

  87. Neha Says:

    I love Sprha – Wish
    and Prachi

  88. Sonita Says:

    Hi all ! Great website and I need your help! I’m 7 months preggers expecting a baby boy. I’m Indian and my partner is English, blonde hair blue eyes. We are looking for an Indian first name, which is easy to pronounce, unique and not too common, a lovely meaning and would fit in with Westerners and Indians. We liked the name Aryan but have decided against it because of negative connotations regarding the hitler race. Need ideas!!!! Pleeeease help! Times running out and need to get this sorted so I can relax!

  89. Anaya Says:

    Janaki
    Anaya
    Aryan

  90. Anaya Says:

    Cason

  91. sheetal Says:

    hi i am an Indian living in Perth, Australia..i search some baby girl names for my new born..sharing it with u guys
    laila
    rose
    sana
    siya
    mia
    jiya
    sarah
    sanvi
    tanvi
    suhan
    koel
    zinat
    kamna
    mahi
    fiza
    jhanvi
    zoya
    mandy
    asin
    gayatri
    devika
    kamya
    mala
    gori
    heer…
    but still confuse what to choose…
    hope u guys help me..??

  92. Olga Says:

    My husband is from India and I’m Polish. We are facing same problem as all of u. We are also searching a name that is going to be easy to pronounce in both countries, either simple Indian name or an international name that will go well with Indian surname (and will be easy to pronounce wherever we live). We decided a girl is going to be Olivia or Priya but we cannot find anything nice for a boy. I find Indian boys’ names too complicated from Polish point of view. And my husband doesn’t like any of my international suggestions..
    My husband’s cousin is married to a British and their daughters are Vaari and Suri. Very nice and pretty names and no problem to pronounce anywhere :)

    The only Indian boys’ names that I like are Rahul and Aditya but both already exist among very close family members.

  93. Anjali Says:

    Well my name is Anjali, and it’s kind of awkward because my family pronounces it AN-juh-lee and my friends and teachers and everyone say an-JAH-lee. That’s one of the reasons I don’t wanna be famous or anything.. Saying my name is just awkward. Any advice lol..

  94. cheryl Says:

    Great Site, I am looking for an indian baby girls name that sounds english. I quite like Ellora. Any other suggestions?

  95. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    Look no further, Ellora is beautiful!

  96. Person Says:

    How about Nitya, for a girl, it’s simple, beautiful and not at all hard to pronounce.
    For a boy, Ryan will work because Rian is an Indian mythologicial character.

  97. Emily Says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this page!
    Just wanted to say a big thanks for all the suggestions, it’s a huge help.
    I’m half Aussie (Caucasian) / half Chinese and hubby is Indian (Fijian, but grew up in Australia) and are trying to find names that are both indian and english.

    So far, I’m liking Keera (kyra / kirra) for a girl and deven (devan) for a boy.
    My favourites are actually Jaiden and Asha but these have already been taken!!

    good luck to all the ladies on here, hope you find your perfect names :)

  98. astha Says:

    i used anjali for my doll it is a nice name

  99. Roopa Says:

    My name is Roopa! And I suppose I’m fun :)

    I’m stumped for a good South Indian (or any Indian) name for my son who is arriving in a few months. The names I like are names of relatives/close friends, and it would be weird to name my son any of those names.

  100. Roopa Says:

    That’s my brother’s name and I just love it.

  101. MV Says:

    We are an Indo–American couple and expecting our first in less than a month!
    Still undecided on boy names and here are the top contenders:
    Rishi, Neil, Ashwin, Aadi, Aditya, Rohan
    Any suggestions or thoughts?

  102. Ganesh Says:

    How about “Mudita” meaning selfless joy as a baby girls name.

  103. Ashley Says:

    Chandini. Pronounced just as it’s spelled. Beautiful! Or Chaaniyaa. Both are lovely.

  104. Chaithra Says:

    How about Kavana and Shresta for a baby girl. It is easy to pronounce and meaningful.

  105. Anna Says:

    I am having a problem with naming my second little one. When I was pregnant with my first one, I picked out with my partner the perfect little girl name. And then we found out that we were having a boy, so we changed it. But naming the first one was easy. We knew we wanted something unique, something not American, but something that wouldn’t lead to bullying. We settled on Arimet Raiden. Or, Ari for short. But with this second one, we seem stumped. We want this ones name to be just as unique, and just as non American. We don’t want Peter, or Jacob. And we don’t want it to start with an A. We’d be a little A overrun. Can anyone help us with some suggestions?

  106. Jaya Says:

    Reisa, if u r trying for a boy name with D, please try

    Deepak (light)
    Dinesh( nn: dinu)
    Dev
    Darek( gifted ruler)

    Very less number of names with D!
    All the best :)

  107. Jaya Says:

    Hi Sonita,

    Hope these would be helpful

    Rajeev or Jeev
    Abhi or abhinay
    Ashok
    Yuvraj
    Rehaan
    Prathap
    Avinash
    Sandeep
    Anil
    Nithin

    All the best!

  108. Jaya Says:

    Great going guys!

    I need your feedback on this name

    Riti (meaning wealth and protection)

    How does this sound? Planning to name our baby so! I liked it very much, but still doubting.. So plz leave ur suggestions. Would be of great help!

    Thanks!

  109. Jaya Says:

    Hey MV,

    Rohan is quite an old name and been named by many parents till now!

    Why don’t you go with Ashwin..? That sounds really cool and looks like a rare name too!

    All the very best :)

  110. Jay Says:

    Hi Sonita,
    How about Krish (as in Krishna), or Rishi (as in Rishikesh) both are alord Vishnu’s names still easy to pronoune. Good Luck !!

  111. Priya Says:

    This site has been really helpful! I am Indian and my husband Italian but we are struggling to find an Indian boy’s first name that will be easy to pronounce and sound good in Italian. Any ideas? I’m so stuck! Thanks!

  112. Bhawna Says:

    Great suggestions!

    I am an Indian American and have a difficult to pronounce name. I wanted to make sure my daughter had a meaningful and easy to pronounce name. We settled on ‘Sahana’ it means goddess lakshmi, the virtue of patience and is a raaga in Indian music. My daughter is three now and absolutely loves her name.

  113. Sej Says:

    My name is Sejal which is a common Gujarati/ Indian name. But I call myself Sej (as in Sage) which is easy for most people here! So it works :)

  114. Lauren Says:

    I used to have an indian friend from a 100% indian family and her name was Sheena. I’m not sure if it was Indian but it was still a pretty name.

  115. Kandi Says:

    Hello,
    How about Anjani or Nisha? try to stay away from Ria (also spelled Rhea) as it is very common these days. Congrats & good luck!

  116. Akshaya Says:

    My names Akshaya and most people call me Shay so it works both ways :)

  117. Sash Says:

    Veena, suma, seema ,nidhi, sia,pia,diya,deepa ,varsha,are some names that come to mind. What do you think of shriya?is it something ppl in the west can pronounce?thinking of this for our baby

  118. perplexed father Says:

    is kiran a boy’s name? someone told me it was a girl’s name (i don’t think so) but i really like it for a boy. just want to be sure…

  119. perplexed father Says:

    what name does everyone like better: neil or devan?

  120. Shay Says:

    It’s unisex. I know both male and female Kiran’s (although I tend to think of it more as male)

  121. VS Says:

    I really like the Indian boy name Jaiden or Jayden. Does anyone know what it means in hindi or sanskrit?

  122. indianamerican andproud Says:

    Seriously, look for modern Indian names that are easy to pronounce in a book or website. Why are you looking at names from our patents generation. Even people in India don’t do that these days old TAs names are pretty horrendous. Also jayden isn’t Indian. It’s the name of britney spears son..

  123. Sonny Mujumdar Says:

    I adopted my own middle name to Sonny when it became too tedious to spell the name Sanjeev on the phone since I was in sales. But Sunny is the Indian version (and used to be my nickname in India)…and I made it to Sonny in America to sound more Italian. So that might be one name that fits your needs. :-)

  124. Sonny Zoom Says:

    We are both Indian Americans and my wife is pregnant. We’re trying to find a name for a boy and girl (we don’t want to find the sex of the baby) that IS BOTH an Indian name AND an American name (spelling doesn’t matter but pronunciation does). The most widely used name that fits this category is Neil (spelled Neel for Indian names) but I know so many Indian parents that have named their kids Neil that in 10-15 years every Indian American in the news will have that first name. :-) )

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. Good luck to all the moms and dads on here that are trying to find names or have found names already. :-)

  125. Shweta Says:

    Stumbled upon this site .. i guess i am little late .. but just wanted add a few of my suggestions
    Girl:
    Miraya
    Leela
    Reena
    Trisha
    Monisha
    Jiya

    Boy:
    Viraat
    Sameer
    Om
    Vihaan
    Nishant
    Sandeep
    Sanjay

    Hope this helps :)

  126. shirley Says:

    rayna and alena are nice girls names!

  127. Emily Says:

    Hi! My husband and I are in the same boat but the opposite; he is Indian and I have blonde hair and blue eyes. We’re just wondering what your baby ended up looking like. We are pretty sure ours will have brown or black hair and brown eyes but that’s about it.

  128. Netra Says:

    How about “Parth” for a boy?

  129. Ravi Rawat Says:

    I m an indian…but i would be in u.s for my postgraduation after 3 yrs…i will tell yu all the indian name…wait for me guys,,.i cant live alone in foreign country….i need yu…..my name is RAVI …it means SUN.

  130. Lakshmi Reddy Says:

    Sej and Shay are awesome. We named our daughter Annika – who knew it would become one of the most common names in our neighborhood in NYC. I also gave my list to my friend, because I am surprised that is it so difficult to find an Indian baby name with a nice meaning that would be easy for kids. I realized that others may be interested and posted the list of 100 names at http://www.saffluence.com/100-indian-baby-names-that-your-neighbors-can-pronounce/

    Good luck!!!!

  131. anahita Says:

    Anahita! its different and very easily pronounced

  132. AAM Says:

    Both me and my husband are recent immigrants from India. We are looking for names for our child who will be born in the US. We are considering Siddharth or Aadhi. What do you think about the “dh” sound in these names? For example will Aadhi become Aadi. Can native english speakers get the “dh” sound right if corrected once. “dh” here should be pronounced as the “th” in the words “these” or “either”. Your advice on this from an Indian American/ American perspective will be help us in deciding the name for our baby. If this sound is very hard for them to grasp then we might reconsider the names. Thanks.

  133. AAM Says:

    Hi Lakshmi, I read your blog in saffluence. Nice one. Need some advice. Both me and my husband are recent immigrants from India. We are looking for names for our child who will be born in the US. We are considering Siddharth or Aadhi. What do you think about the “dh” sound in these names? For example will Aadhi become Aadi. Can native english speakers get the “dh” sound right if corrected once. “dh” here should be pronounced as the “th” in the words “these” or “either”. Your advice on this from an Indian American/ American perspective will be help us in deciding the name for our baby. If this sound is very hard for them to grasp then we might reconsider the names. Thanks.

  134. Kati Says:

    This is a beautiful name! Can it be used as a unisex name? I’m thinking of putting it on my short list for boy names. Kind of reminds me of a friend’s name, Tejas (or Tej).

  135. Banmala Says:

    So, I’m Punjabi Sikh. It my culture, we have a custom called hukum. Basically the first sound you hear our of our sacred book is what you name your child,. My Dad really wanted to name me Mala, but a ‘B’ sound came out, so to apease my Mom, he decided on Banmala. Even within the Indian communities that I lived in (London, NYC, Phoenix and, now, Hawaii) I have never heard another one like it. Even with a nickname like Mala, it would still get butchered. I’m over it now, but recall being in a room of stephanies and ashleys and feeling very odd because my name was soooo unique.

    I’m married to an Irish/French American who has really embraced my culture and seems to like names that arent too Catholic (his religion)

    Here is my shortlist:
    Girls
    1. Amberley
    2.Jasmina
    3.Ishwarya
    4. Zara
    5. Karisma/Charisma
    6. Anthea
    7. Riku
    8. Sonali
    9. Jasleen
    10. Divya
    11. Luvleen
    12. Narayana
    13. Nora/Nura/Noor
    14. Lalitha
    15. Sanjana

    No boys name yet though ( Can you guess which team I’m on..lol)

  136. Natasha Bailey Says:

    We are having a boy. Any suggestions for boy names that start with or has “Ray” in it? We really like that as a nickname.

    We had chosen Sara (means precious) for a girl.

  137. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    Raphael
    Raymond
    Raul
    Rayburn
    Radek
    Reginald
    Raleigh
    Randall
    Efraim
    Ingram
    Riordan

  138. Dipal Says:

    We named our son Raynav.

  139. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    Ooh, I like. Congratulations!!

  140. Sapna Says:

    This is the best resource I have found for my baby’s name. Thanks so much for starting this thread! I am also Indian American, my husband is Dutch American. Here are the names we have “narrowed” it down to. I put the meanings where I knew them, but some of these are Dutch derivation, not Indian:

    BOY:
    Akash
    Alok
    Cody
    Finnegan
    Kaleb/Caleb
    Keson (or Cason)
    Keval
    Krish(na)
    Niam (God’s gift)
    Rakesh
    Sachin                                 
    Taj
    Tavner
    Tiel
    Tenzing
    Toshan (Satisfaction)
    Zaan
    Cameron
    Carson
    Devin
    Dillon                                 
    Kai
    Kai(lash)
    Lincoln
    Lochan (pronounced Lock-ahn)
    Malcolm
    Marshall
    Nathan
    Pace
    Rijn (Rine, Rhine, Riyne)
    Steen

    GIRL:
    Anamika
    Anjeli (this is Anjali, but I want it to be pronounced right)
    Annika
    Colette
    Ellora
    Emmanuelle (nn Emmy)
    Indira (beauty)
    Jasleen
    Julep
    Kahvni (small poem)
    Katje
    Keshni
    Kutch
    Lakshmi
    Marjan
    Melalie
    Priyanka
    Pyara (love)
    Ruchi
    Sashi
    Savannah (nn Savi)
    Sejal (nn Sej or “Sage”)
    Sinjini
    Zoe
    Aravali
    Devin
    Janaki (pron. Jahneki)
    Kalindi
    Kamini (beautiful girl)
    Kessel
    Kitale
    Koel
    Lissander
    Melissande
    Ria
    Ruthika (nn Rue)
    Sabien
    Sachin
    Sayli (pronounced Sigh-lee)
    Shefali
    Shivani
    Zadie

  141. Jess Says:

    Did you have your baby yet? My husband is Indian and I’m blonde/green eyes. Our daughter ended up with dark brown eyes and very soft/silky ight brown hair (almost dirty blonde in the sun.) We named her Karina. I liked that it was easy for Indians, Americans, Spanish, Russians, etc. We wanted an international name.

  142. Jessica Says:

    Wow, this is the best thread I’ve found on this topic yet, and that includes when I looked three years ago before the birth of our first! Thank you all! Although both my husband and I were born in the US, his family is from India (mine of various European origins), and thus we’ll choose Indian names which work in the US. We’re expecting our second any time now (don’t know boy or girl), and we’re still narrowing down our choices. We’re close, but I thought I’d share our “long lists” in case anyone gets any inspiration!

    Girls:
    Amrita
    Anika
    Anjali
    Anjula
    Chandrika
    Daksha
    Kamala
    Lekha
    Meena
    Neha
    Priya
    Sapona
    Sameera
    Sonika
    Shefali
    Sohni
    Sonali
    Tanuja
    Shreya

    Boys:
    Akash
    Amrit
    Anil
    Anuj
    Ashwin
    Dakshi
    Dhilan
    Dinesh
    Kautik
    Kiran
    Neil
    Nishant
    Rohan
    Rohit
    Rishi
    Samir
    Sunil

    Our son’s name is Ravi. Our top choices for our second are Sonika or Priya for a girl, Nishant, Kiran, or Sunil for a boy. (We already used Nikhil for our son’s middle name, or we would have chosen that as our boy name this time around!)

  143. Natasha Says:

    I’m full indian and I haven’t heard my name mentioned which is both Russian and Indian: Natasha

  144. v1ps Says:

    Agree, great list !

  145. Eric D Says:

    As I think was suggested by someone above, we’ve seen that certain non-Indian-origin names actually can work well in an Indian context (i.e., with relatives, etc), if they SOUND right:

    Up here in the Western (Indian) Himalayas where we’ve spent a decade (Me: mixed German-Swedish-Semitic American, Wife: Indo-Burmese Tribal!) the Hindu priests determine from astrological charts the basic consonantal sounds that the child’s name should contain – not always arriving at very convenient combinations – so we’ve been asked a few times for suggestions from struggling village parents. I came up with “SELEENA” for one such neighbor girl – though unknown here, the parents liked it, and they get a lot of positive comments on her name now, too, despite its Greek origin (ironically, Alexander’s armies moved nearby here at one time, and by the looks of these local hill-folk, some who finally went AWOL likely deepened the gene pool a bit).

    Secondly, our (Indian) landlord has spent enough time with foreign tourists over the years, so suggested NATALIA (Russian, see above post) for the girl of another village neighbor, which has also been well accepted. And then there’s the boy here with the surprisingly popular “Indian” name, “BOBBY” (all it takes is one popular Bollywood film)!!!

    We struggled with our own son’s name, and ended up with JAISON, after seeing it on an Indian naming site with a somewhat strained definition: “Son of Victory”; also had the Greek hero and the minor (but perhaps admirable) Biblical figure in mind. The kids in the village say it easily, but being unusual, older folks have trouble remembering it, and I could wonder whether “Jaiman” could’ve worked a little better.

    With my wife’s own eastern-side minor language group being really unique and unusual-sounding both here and in the U.S.,, there is hardly hope for complete naming compatibility, so we didn’t even try!). Son’s middle name left to her & in-laws: “Lalvenhima” (meaning, in the Mizo tribal language, “protected by God”), or Lal-ven or Vena for short. Actually “Lal” and “Vena”, though of different origins / meanings entirely, are coincidentally legitimate in Hindi / Sanskrit, so those could work in some form here in North India, too (though not in N. America, which is where “Jaison” should serve him well enough).

    Anyway, seems a bit affirming to come across so many names in the above posts that I’d also had in mind for our second-born son, who’s a month old now and still waiting (we were kind of expecting a girl, which would’ve been SO much easier!): Anyway: Armaan, Nikhil, Rehan, Tejas, Milan, Kiran, Roshan, Rohan, Vikram, Ameya, Amar, Aarya, and Araan (which I think is actually of Hebrew origin [Aaron, Aran, Aharan, etc], as I could hardly find distinct Indian meanings on any site, but the Hebrew meaning fits, re: the mountain associations). I liked “KAANAN” (“forest”) a lot, too, but seems that in India (vs. Azerbaijan) it’s hardly ever used for boys. Anyway, think I’m on the right track. If I can just convince my wife of any of these!

    A few more in consideration, but not noted elsewhere in the thread, I think: Rikhil, Santosh, Deep, Jeet, Ajeet, Nikash, Arav, Sannath, Ashay, Tanay, Aayansh. I suspect that some meaningful Hebrew names I found could also work here: Ashriel, Arnan, Adriel, Ariel, Adiel, etc.

    BTW, Ellora indeed sounds nice for a girl. Someone above mentioned KEERA, but as far as my Hindi allows (and depending on pronunciation), that could mean either a cucumber or a worm, so I’d say don’t go there (unless of course it is used in some other part of India with a more favorable meaning).

    Many thanks to all who contributed. This has been tough and very time-consuming… But better to spend the time up front. An American couple in the area liked the Hebrew name “Machaiah” (sp?) for their daughter, and Hindi-speaking friends said it was fine. After everything was legalized, they found out that in the local hill dialect, it means, “he/she/it killed”. Ouch.

    -Eric

  146. Nameless Says:

    I’m Indian with a supposedly easy to pronounce name, Seema, but people still can’t say it or remember it properly. After I tell them my name, there’s the initial shock of hearing something foreign. Then when I clearly enunciate my very easy name a second time, I get parroted back: Zeena? Zima? Shima? Basically anything but Seema. Unfortunately, I think no matter what, people don’t make an effort and you may have to use a fake English name.

    (I still plan on naming my half Indian kids Indian names though)

  147. Louisa Says:

    I am German and my boyfriend is Indian (His name is Aashish, but friends in America call him Aash).
    We aren’t expecting a baby but we have spoken about it and would both like an Indian sounding name. Living in the States it needs to be easy for Americans to pronounce, but as my whole family is in Germany, I’d like to have that reflect in the name as well.
    So I’m thinking we might make up some creative names that are a blend of the different cultures. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
    Boy:
    Krishan (pronounced Krishawn). I know the Indian version is Krishna, but Krishan is somewhat common in Germany as a nickname for Christian (In German Christian is 3 distinct syllables: Chris-Tee-Ahn, so Krish-An is in fact shorter).

    Yulian (pronounced Yu-lee-ahn). Pronounced like the very common German boy’s name Julian, but my in-laws can call him Yul, which is perfectly Indian:-)

    Girl:
    Maleen (pronounced MAH-leen, emphasis on the first syllable). In German “Malin” (Mah-leen) is a common girls name, but we could indianize it by using the double ee. It is then somewhat similar to the Indian name Maliha (which I also really like).

    What do you guys think? Is it inapproriate to “screw up” real names and making new blends? Or do you think it’s OK?

  148. Astavakra Aniruddha Says:

    Real Indian names have a meaning (preferably in Sanskrita) and they should not be titles that have to be earned (Rishi=sage, Acharya=very learned teacher=professor, Rajan=king, Yuvraj=crown-prins, etc, etc) and the meaning of the name should not be silly (Anuj=younger brother) but a source of inspiration and/or a goal to aspire too. So a name that only ‘sounds’ Indian is therefore not Indian.

  149. Astavakra Aniruddha Says:

    Seema means boundery,border, limit.

  150. Astavakra Aniruddha Says:

    May I suggest a few names:
    male:
    Suresh

  151. Astavakra Aniruddha Says:

    male: Neil = blue (Sanskrit), champion (Gaelic, English)
    Anand = bliss, joy
    Shiva = The coolest childout God amongst Gods (Sanskrit),
    seven (Hebrew)

    female: Sharada = Goddes of learning, music and creativity (Sanskrit)
    Padma = lotus
    Uma = tranquility, splendour

  152. Astavakra Aniruddha Says:

    I know some Sanskrita, and I can assure you that Natasha has no meaning in Sanskrita. But ‘na’ means no. So yours names could mean ‘No tasha’ :) .

  153. shikha Says:

    saanvi
    sharvi
    noor
    baani
    are some of the girl names i like as an indian

  154. Daniel Says:

    I have a similar problem. My wife and I are trying to find a western sounding Indian/Mexican/Jewish name. I’m 1/2 Indian 1/2 Jewish and my wife is Mexican so it’s been a difficult task. My Niece is named Maya which we would have used. Can’t use Monica because a cousin has the same name. Any advise?

  155. You Can't Call It "It"! Says:

    What a fascinating conundrum! Assuming you know it’s a girl, Lila, Lina, Mina, Mira, Reena, Riya, Sheela, Tara, Veda, and Vina are all Indian names that translate well to other languages. Perhaps not Hebrew per se, but they work as well as Maya I should think.

    Some Hebrew names I could see working include: Dinah, Leah, Miriam, Sarah, and Shifra. Good luck! I’m loving the Miriam/Mira possibilities, and I bet Dinah means something in Sanskrit. Oh, just looked it up. Dina means “day” in Sanskrit. So those two get my vote. :-)

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