Choosing Indian baby name for western tongue

Indian baby name

Choosing an Indian baby boy name or baby girl name is one of the most important activities for new parents. Overseas Indians who migrate and build a life in the US or anywhere outside India still want to retain the cultural ties with India, and prefer to choose Indian-sounding names.

This creates a strange phenomenon where an perfectly western-sounding child has an Indian name.

While on the one hand, new parents wish to name their children with beautiful and culturally rich names, on the other hand, they have to remember that their boy or girl is going to grow up in the western world. As such, they need to look at names are are Indian, yet are easy on the western tongue.

Here’s a list of top names that mostly meet this criteria and is based on the US Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of most popular names in the US.


  1. Aryan
  2. Rohan
  3. Arnav
  4. Arjun
  5. Armaan
  6. Suraj
  7. Arya
  8. Deven
  9. Rahul
  10. Neil
  11. Kabir
  12. Rishi
  13. Aarav
  14. Ishaan
  15. Nikhil


  1. Anya
  2. Ashna
  3. Shreya
  4. Nisha
  5. Riya
  6. Arna
  7. Ruhi
  8. Anjali
  9. Kavya
  10. Diya

You can also see the following names from the SSA’s records which are most popular among NRIs and overseas Indians living in the US.


  1. Devin
  2. Deven
  3. Amir
  4. Jay
  5. Neil
  6. Aryan
  7. Samir
  8. Arjun
  9. Nikhil
  10. Aditya
  11. Pranav
  12. Arnav


  1. Maya
  2. Nina
  3. Aniyah
  4. Tara
  5. Anya
  6. Anika
  7. Sonia
  8. Aria
  9. Aisha
  10. Chaya
  11. Saniya
  12. Amiya
  13. Kaiya
  14. Raina
  15. Mira
  16. Mina
  17. Anita

However if you are looking for some western names for your children, then here are some of the most popular names based on the SSA list.


  1. Jacob
  2. Mason
  3. Ethan
  4. Noah
  5. William
  6. Liam
  7. Jayden
  8. Michael
  9. Alexander
  10. Aiden


  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Isabella
  4. Olivia
  5. Ava
  6. Emily
  7. Abigail
  8. Mia
  9. Madison
  10. Elizabeth

 How to pick a name for your baby

Having a baby is the most wonderful event in your life, and you are busy preparing for the arrival of the baby.

Just like other preparations, choosing a baby name needs discussion and research. Think about all the aspects about the name but first have a discussion with your partner.

Make a list of your favourite names. Ask your spouse to prepare their list too. See if you can discuss and agree on a common name.

There are many websites that provide a comprehensive list of baby names for boys and girls. Consult the list. Also take the opinion of your parents if it matters to you.

The first and most important consideration while choosing a baby name is the sound of the name.

How does it sound to your ear? What images does the name bring up? See if it rhymes with your family name. In India, parents often try to pick up a baby name that rhymes with father’s first name.

While this practice is understandable where father’s name is used as middle name for children. But this practice is disappearing, and as such it is better to see if the baby’s name rhymes with the family name, instead of father’s christian name.

In some parts of south India, family names are really long. In such case, you would do well to choose a shorter first name.

Also, as an Indian living in a foreign land, consider how easy the name is to pronounce for westerners. You don’t want to pick up an exotic Indian name which is extremely difficult to pronounce in a western country.

Secondly, consider how the name is pronounced in English. Think twice before picking a name like Hardik, for example.

Also consider the possibility of nick names. Would a shortened name be flattering?  You wouldn’t want your child to be teased in school and college for a weird name.

Third, is the name unique? You don’t want another John Smith, or Prashant Sawant or Jignesh Patel out there. This is especially true if your family name is very common like Singh, Patel, Swamy, Sawant, Kapoor. Try to find a unique baby name so that it stays in the mind of the person meeting your child for the first time.

However, don’t pick up a weird name or a name that’s difficult to pronounce. Ideally, a name that begins and ends with a consonant is easier to pronounce in most cultures.

Check with your parents and extended family. Word of caution, if a really close relative suggests a name that you don’t like, don’t be tempted to please that person. It’s your baby. Feel free to reject their suggestion. You owe it to your baby.

People are often tempted to continue a name that’s been in the family, such as the name of a grandparent. Similar temptation arises with the name of your favourite actor or sportsperson or writer. Please resist the temptation, if the name is old-fashioned or doesn’t meet any of the criteria discussed here.

Check how the name looks when its abbreviated. We all know the famous names like D K Bose, Joe B Carvalho and so on. Beware of such issues.

Finally, does the name bring a smile to you? If it does, it will bring smile to other people too.

Image credit: Rajiv R Gupta


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