|—Photo by Shiraz Hassan|
If you do not have a couple of universities, a national scheme, a road, a 'chowk', an income support program or at least a couple of highways named after you, you are basically a nobody in Pakistan.
So, to save myself from any further indignation, I have legally changed my name to “Minar-e-Pakistan”.
Now nobody can stop me from saying, I feel humbled by the government’s decision to name a national monument after me.
My wife, “Super Highway”, has already planned a celebratory party. I am sure both my children, “Food Street” and “Baagh-e-Jinnah” are really proud of this honour bestowed upon their father.
Also read: What’s in a name?
The point is, if you have nothing named after you, you could totally name yourself after places, anything from "Lahore Fort" to “Frere Hall” or “French Beach”. Christopher Nolan is sure to run right up to you with the script of 'Inception 2' the moment you upload a selfie titled “French Beach at French Beach” on Instagram.
If the beach is not your thing, there are always cities. If David Beckham could name his son ‘Brooklyn’, why can't one of our kids be a 'Lyari', a 'Phase-VIII', an 'LoC' or a 'Macchar Colony'?
I have anticipated your question — worrying about gender, aren't you? Well, you shouldn't. Our forefathers foresaw this day and duly gave our cities gender specific names: Thatta, Multan and Mardan are boy names while Ghotki, Swabi and Larkana are girl names. The clues are in the names themselves — Larkana literally translates to “boy no”.
An amrood of a great poet of Sindh, who was affectionately called 'Shaikh’s pear' even said:
“What’s in a name? That which we call rose is actually Mahrose beauty parlour.”
Read on: Did you know Burnes Road was named after a British spy-doctor?
I especially support the decision to have universities named after people, like the engineering university in Karachi which named itself after the Game of Thrones protagonist, Ned Stark. Now that's how you name an institution, kudos to them.
I say, do away with all the weird acronyms and name all universities after people, preferably politicians. At least people would know what to expect when they enroll in the 'Shaikh Rasheed School of Biology' and specialise in ‘how to spot manufacturing defaults’.
And how about 'Asif Ali Zardari School of Financial Management' or the 'Nawaz Sharif school of Home Economics?' I would love to enroll in there. Although not my field, the 'Rehman Malik School of Time Management' and the 'Pervez Musharraf School of Constitutional Law' both sound equally tempting.
For foreigners, we could have the 'Bilawal Bhutto Department of Urdu Language' offer special courses. For locals, there is always the Meera School of English Language.
Take a look: From Nehru to Jigar Muradabadi: A road renamed
I mean, the growth options are simply mind-boggling.
For the fantasy-loving types, there'd always be Mamnoon Hussain School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — where you walk right into the wall of President House and simply vanish.
So let's have a countrywide renaming frenzy, shall we? Off the top of my head, let's rechristen the National Museum of Pakistan to “Zubaida Apa” from now on, while the Nanga Parbat can be simply called "Veena Malik”, a surefire way to give our tourism industry a much needed boost.
Let's rename everything in Pakistan after people, just for laughs, if nothing else.
If not me for me, do it for Pakistan (if we are still calling our country that). We could potentially save our economy by annually allowing the highest bidder to have their name as the name of the country for a year.
For coming up with this brilliant idea, I think it is only fitting that for the first year, Pakistan should be named after me.