My Name

Alexa Khan is the name I have taken up for this blog (after Masud Khan*, a Pakistani British psychoanalyst). I’ve used other names before. I’ve changed my name so many times now, I hardly know my real name anymore.

“I like it,” is how I used to explain it. It’s probably a bit more complicated than that, as your name is also a part of your identity. But I never had much of an identity. 

Anyway, I came upon the Czech writer, Milan Kundera. For the Paris-based author, identity is one of the most pressing themes- not that remarkable for a man who went into exile to flee the Soviet-era communism that ruled his own country at the time. 

Kundera emphasizes the difference between the public and the private self. For him, the life of the individual is the very ground of our existence. This obvious fact should be acknowledged, he thinks. And not forever obscured by lyrical dreams of the transparent glass house we’re supposed to live in, or the one we’re made to believe in by our social media pundits. For Kundera, it’s the value we must defend above all others. Somehow, this explains a lot about name-changing to me.


 *) Psychoanalyst Masud Khan (1924-1989), a legend in the international Psychoanalytic community for his analytical and literary work, also a longtime collaborator with the most famous child analyst of the 20th century, D.W. Winnicot, was both highly controversial, as well as one of psychoanalysis’s best and brightest.
His mentor, Anna Freud, used to insist Khan understood her father’s work better than anyone else.
His last book, ‘When Spring Comes,’ published in 1988, caused him to be thrown out of the Psychoanalytic Society- plus his affairs with his students.
Yet all of his work is still compulsory reading; a brilliant 
study of the pathology of us, humans. Read it, and be in awe!