Some time ago, I went to a function where I was stopped by an Uncle Ji. He said to me, "It is incorrect to call Guru Sahib "Guru Nanak Dev Ji". Hindus have corrupted us and added the name "Dev" to claim Guru Nanak Sahib Ji was a Hindu. Instead we should call Guru Sahib - Guru Nanak Sahib Ji or Baba Nanak... Look even Muslims call Guru Sahib - Baba Guru Nanak, not Guru Nanak Dev Ji."
Considering this Uncle Ji was a zealous preacher of the Sikh Rehat Maryada document and would probably have different interpretations to any Gurbani I quote, I thought I would reply back using the Sikh Rehat Maryada document. So I said, "Uncle Ji, the Sikh Rehat Maryada, in the first chapter where it defines a Sikh, states Guru Sahib's name as "Guru Nanak Dev Ji"." He replied, "The scholars at the time the Sikh Rehat Maryada was made were not aware of these things. This is a new discovery by the present day modern scholars of the Panth." I had already guessed who these "modern scholars of the Panth" are, who are more wise than the all the scholars, saints and respected Sikhs from Guru Sahib's time till now.
He continued, "Look "Dev" is a Hindu name. What does it have to do with Sikhi?" I replied, "What about "Guru Angad Dev Ji" and "Guru Arjan Dev Ji"?... Gurbani also mentions Guru Nanak Dev." He replied, "Where "Dev" is mentioned with the Guru, it means "Daivee Shaktee" (possessor of Divine-Power), not "Dev" as a Hindu name that makes the Guru into another Devta (god) of the Hindus." I was thinking, if he accept that "Dev" means the possessor of divinity or divine-power, then what's the problem!
I replied, "Guru Ram Das Ji named his son, "Maha Dev". The third and fourth Gurus' name have "Daas". Guru Nanak Dev Ji's and Guru Ram Das Ji's sons had the name "Chand" in their names. Following your logic, all these names are linked to Hindus names and therefore must be rejected." He replied, "No, you are not getting what I am saying. You are not trying to understand. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji sounds much better than Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Baba Guru Nanak or Pir Nanak, sounds better than Guru Nanak Dev. Guru Nanak Dev is only a modern invention."
The conversation cut short and did not continue. But it made me thinking, how much of a Hindu-phobia some people have that they are coming up with weird theories to reject things that are supported by Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Dasam Bani, the writings of Bhai Gurdaas Ji, and other Panth accepted sources of Sikh history. What next - Hindus drink water, so we have to stop drinking water?
Before getting caught up in anyone's argument, we should always check to see if what the person is saying matches Gurbani. Now, when we read Gurbani, you will realise that Guru Arjan Dev Ji calls the first Guru - "Guru Nanak Dev". See below:
ਕਬੀਰਿ ਧਿਆਇਓ ਏਕ ਰੰਗ ॥
kabeer dhiaae-o ek rang ||
Kabeer meditated on the One Lord with love.
ਨਾਮਦੇਵ ਹਰਿ ਜੀਉ ਬਸਹਿ ਸੰਗਿ ॥
naam-dev har jeeo basehi sang ||
Naam Dev lived with the Dear Lord.
ਰਵਿਦਾਸ ਧਿਆਏ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਅਨੂਪ ॥
ravi-daas dhiaae prabh anoop ||
Ravi Daas meditated on God, the Incomparably Beautiful.
ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਰੂਪ ॥੮॥੧॥
gur naanak dev govind roop ||8||1||
Guru Nanak Dev is the Embodiment of the Lord of the Universe. ||8||1||
(Raag Basant - Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Ang 1192)
Someone else on the Internet claimed, "Look, Guru Sahib it referred the majority of the time as "Guru Nanak" in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. So, even if it "Guru Nanak Dev" is mentioned once in Gurbani, we should "Guru Nanak" instead." Using that logic, makes no sense. What appears more often "Nanak" or "Guru Nanak"? The answer is - "Nanak". So does that mean, we should not say "Guru Nanak", and just refer to Guru Sahib as "Nanak"? I am sure, everyone with some sense would say "no".
Furthermore, there is another Shabad in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, in which Giani Harbans Singh translates the word "Dev" to be attached to the name of Guru Nanak Ji:
ਮਿਲੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜਗਤ ਗੁਰ ਕੇਰੈ ॥੨॥੧॥੩੪॥
mil naanak dev jagat gur kerai ||2||1||34||
Please come and meet (Guru) Nanak Dev, the Guru of the World. ||2||1||34||
(Raag Kaanraa - Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Ang 1304)
If people have such a "phobia" with the name "Dev" then what will they do where it says "Guru Arjan Dev" in Gurbani?
ਜਪ੍ਯਉ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਦੇਵ ਗੁਰੂ ਫਿਰਿ ਸੰਕਟ ਜੋਨਿ ਗਰਭ ਨ ਆਯਉ ॥੬॥
japayo jinh arjun dev guroo fir sankatt jon garabh na aayo ||6||
Whoever meditates on Guru Arjun Dev, shall not have to pass through the painful womb of reincarnation ever again. ||6||
(Svaiyye Mahalla 5 - Bhatt Mathura - Ang 1409)
Then if study Bhai Gurdaas Ji's Bani, it is clear that he refers to Guru Sahib as "Guru Nanak Dev" as well. In Vaar 1, Bhai Gurdaas Ji clearly gives the title "Guru Nanak Dev Ji" to the first episode relating to Guru Sahib's life:
੨੪ : ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ
24 : gur naanak dev jee daa pahilaa prasang
First episode of Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Then in Vaar 26, there are episodes or Pauris that are given the title of "Guru Nanak Dev":
੨੧ : ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ
21 : guroo naanak dev
Guru Nanak Dev
੨੨ : ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ22 : guroo naanak dev
Guru Nanak Dev
੩੦ : ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ30 : guroo naanak dev
Guru Nanak Dev
Then the second Kabit of Bhai Gurdaas Ji, it says Guru Sahib's name as "Nanak Dev" three times:
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ॥satigur naanak dev, paarbrahm pooran brahm ॥1॥2॥
Vahiguru (Lord) who is transcendental and immanent in the form of Guru Nanak Dev.
ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ॥੨॥੨॥
paar-brahm pooran brahm, satigur naanak dev ॥2॥2॥
Satgur (True Guru) Nanak Dev is the immanent form of God.
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਦੇਵ ਦੇਵੀ ਸਭ ਧਿਆਵਹਿ ।satigur naanak Dev, dev devi sabh dhiaavehi ।All gods and goddesses contemplate on the True Guru, Guru Nanak Dev.(Pauri 3)
One can respectfully refer to Guru Sahib as "Satguru Nanak Ji", "Guru Nanak Paatshaah Ji", "Guru Nanak Sahib Ji" or "Guru Nanak Ji". However, if someone criticises someone for respectfully saying "Guru Nanak Dev Ji" and saying it is wrong to say it, then it is pretty clear from the above, that the person claiming such a thing is ill-informed. No modern-day Sikh, irrespective of how much a scholar they may claim to be, can be wiser than Guru Arjan Dev Ji or Bhai Gurdaas Ji.