In India, gender discrimination is a big problem. So big that female feticide (the abortion of female fetuses) “is killing upwards of one million females in India annually.” And many of the girls who are born end up with names like Nakusa, Nakoshi, and Nakushi, all which mean “unwanted” in Hindi.
Federal and state governments in India have been battling the discrimination with various incentives (e.g. giving money to the families of girls who graduate from high school). As part of this effort, the Satara District in Maharashtra recently held a renaming ceremony. On October 22, nearly 300 “unwanted” girls got the chance to choose new legal names for themselves.
They chose names such as:
- Aishwarya – for the Bollywood star
- Ashmita – Hindi for “very tough, rock hard”
- Savitri – for the Hindu goddesses
- Vaishali – Hindi for “prosperous, beautiful, good”
I love this idea of a group name-change. It’s such a simple thing to do, and yet think of the impact it will have. Each of those girls gets a fresh start now.
Hope this catches on in other areas of India…
- 285 Indian girls replace names meaning ‘unwanted’ to rise above gender discrimination
- Ahmad, Nehaluddin. “Female feticide in India.” Issues in Law & Medicine 26.1 (2010): 13-29.
- My Name is Unwanted – Times of India