Many Bengalis in both West Bengal and Bangladesh have two given names: a bhalo nam (lit. "good name"), which is used on all legal documents, and a dak nam (lit. "call name" or "Nick Name"), which is used by family members and close friends. The two names may or may not be at all related; for example, a man named Anoop Saha may be called by his dak nam (e.g. Bablu) at home and by his bhalo nam (Anoop) elsewhere. Many people also have a shortened version of their bhalo nam (e.g. Deepu for Deepak, Faru for Farhana, etc.) in addition to their full bhalo nam and their dak nam.
Recently, many Bengalis have begun to add their dak nam to the end of their full official name, resulting in names like Saifuddeen Chowdhury Kanchon, where "Saifuddeen" would be the man's bhalo nam, "Chowdhury" would be his family name, and "Kanchon" would be his dak nam. In these situations, this man would be correctly addressed "Mr. Chowdhury", not "Mr. Kanchon".
Muslim family names
78% of the people of Bangladesh are adherents of Islam, and because of this, they mostly use Arabic names. Native and foreign names are also used, as long as they are not strictly related to other religions. Among Muslims of Bangladesh, there are several different naming conventions. There is no fixed scheme for the structure of names. Many people do not use a family name, so members of a family can have different last names, where double-barreled Arabic names are split to make two names:
Mujib Al-Rahman --> Mujibur Rahman, Sadiq Al-Amin --> Sadiqul Amin, Abd Al-Qayyum --> Abdul Qayyum, Khayr Al-Nisa --> Khayrun Nisa
Common traditional Muslim (Persio-Arabic) surnames include -
- Hasan/Hassan/Al Hasan
Muhammad or Mohammad is a common prefix used before the name of many Muslim males, and it is not considered as the name used to refer to the person. In many cases, the "Muhammad" prefix is shortened to "Md.", or "MD.". Other common Muslim prefixes include Gazi, Kazi/Quazi, Khan, Syed, Sheikh and Shah. The prefix often serves as the first name and the given name appears as the last name/surname.
Hindu family names
Bengali Hindus are traditionally considered by two main regions: Bangal (native to East-Bengal, now Bangladesh) and Ghoti (West-Bengal). The following surnames are Bangal surnames.
- Goswami/ Ghoshwami
- Palash Roy
^Same as above
Christian family names
Common Christian surnames include -
Buddhist family names
Buddhist Bangladeshis have several common last names, such as Baruah, Mutsuddi etc.
- Understanding Communities:Bangladeshi Community, Cheshire County Council, October 2003.