It all started 48 years ago when Mariquin Sequeira gave birth to twins. Her husband, Felix John Sequeira, was a die-hard Congress supporter and had a friend who was affectionately called Nehru. So, while the family wanted to name the twins Anthony and Alvarinho, they honoured Felix’s wish by using Nehru and Gandhi as their middle names.
Nehru, named after India’s first Prime Minister, continued the tradition when he named his son Rahul, while Gandhi— the other twin—followed suit by naming his son Rajiv and daughter Indira. That’s not all. Libania, their sister, married die-hard Congress supporter Socorro, and when they had their first child, they combined words from their names to name their daughter Sonia.
“’So’ is for the first two letters of my name, while ‘Nia’ are the last three letters of my wife’s name. Combined, we had Sonia,” explained Libania. Priyanka was the “most obvious” choice for their second daughter, Priyanka.
But that’s when the tradition hit a roadblock. “We didn’t find any other worthy name from the Nehru-Gandhi family. Who could we have named the kids after?” asked Socorro Fernandes, Priyanka and Sonia’s father.
When Priyanka gave birth to a baby girl two years ago, the family did mull over Maneka but that didn’t find favour with Socorro. “Maneka is from BJP. That wouldn’t be acceptable. If it was a son, Varun is another name that could have been considered, but he is from BJP too. I remember the name of Sanjay cropping up (earlier) but he was too controversial, making news for all the wrong reasons,” said Socorro.
Sonia ended up naming her daughter Snaion, while Priyanka chose Ziah—which means the first rays of the sun—when she gave birth to a baby girl last year.
“Everywhere we are identified as supporters of the Congress. BJP guys don’t even visit us while campaigning, and sometimes pamphlets are just scattered outside our doorstep,” said Nehru, who is now employed with a manufacturing unit in London.