Basically, the Indian baby names are based on religion and caste. There are wide variety of language and religion in India. As a matter of fact, most religion has a huge following in India like Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus.
Many Indians believes in birth name. Now, the birth name is totally different from the given or first name. Using horoscope, they can determine an auspicious number. The number is use to help find the best birth name. The given or first name is the official names. It is the name that is use to call someone. In a legal and official document, it is mandatory to use the given or first name.
The caste system is made popular thru Hinduism. The caste system tells the hereditary classes in Hindu society, social stratification, and prestige. The Indians from upper caste uses the village names, occupations, honorifics, title, and clan as the last name. The sub caste last names are the descriptions or characteristics of the sub caste.
Parts of the last name are the caste or sub caste. For example, Iyer, Iyengar, Gounder, Nair, Naidu, Reddy, Gouda, and Shetty are several last names with caste or sub caste. The caste can tell the occupation. For example, the Gandhi is a caste which sells perfumes. Mohandas Gandhi is from the caste of Gandhi. The concept is similar to Gardiner (takes care of the garden), and Sawyer (saws wood) in English baby names.
The Sikhs has adapted the Singh. It means lion. Most of the time, the Singh is use as a suffix for male. For example, Veejay Singh (golf master) and Dr Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister) uses the Singh. The female counterpart of Singh is Kaur which means princess or lioness. However, Singh is not a caste name. In Sikhs, there is no caste.
On the hand, the Hindus have caste. The castes on the last name are often Jain, Thakurs, and Rajputs.
The Kar on the name tells the origin of the baby name. For example, Gavaskar (town of Gavas), Tendulkar (town of Tendol), and Pawaskar (town of Pawas) tells the town of origin.
The Wala on the Indian baby names tells the type of profession or merchant. For example, Screwala holds the screw, and Cyclewala sells the cycle.
The social ranks on the Indian baby names are common practice as well. For example, Talukdar means the landholder, Tehsildar means the revenue administrative officer, and Tarafdar means the land manager.
In the past, the locals of South India use only first name which is village name, family name, or both. Rarely, you will see middle name, family name, or initials. In fact, the Telugu locals use the hometown or profession as the first name. However, the Tamil Nadu and Kerala locals use the first name of the father as the second name. For example, Ajith Krisma means Ajith son of Krisma. Suppose Ajith produce a son, the Indian baby name is Minesh Ajith. It means Minesh song of Ajith. The wife usually gets the name of the husband. For example, Jilana Krisma is the original name which means Jilana daughter of Krisma. She married Rajesh. The name of wife becomes Jilana Rajesh which means Jilana wife of Rajesh.
The initials on the last name are use for the same baby name. So, someone can tell the difference from another name. For example, Ajith Rajesh looks like R. Ajith, and Ajith Santhum looks like S. Ajith. The initials always start before the first name. For many westerners, they easily makes mistake on expanding the name. For example, S. Ajith may expand as Santhum Ajith. That is wrong, because Santhum becomes the first name.