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‘Unwanted’ No More; Hundreds of Indian Girls Shed Their Undignified Names

By Meredith Carroll |

Aishwarya

Some girls renamed themselves after Bollywood star Aishwarya

A new survey revealed that at least 8 percent of parents regret the names they bestow unto their children. Not known, however, is the percentage of kids who shake their fists at their parents for giving them names they’d have rather walked without through life (think Pilot Inspektor or Tu Morrow).

In India, 285 girls renamed themselves in a joint ceremony yesterday, according to Fox News, but not because they superficially hoped to be called something on a top baby names’ list. Instead they changed their names because the Hindi meaning of their specific names — “unwanted” — was just too undignified in the first place.

It’s no secret that girls in India are less desirable than boys — from the increased abortion rate for girl fetuses to sex change surgery for baby girls, there is no doubt that girls are second class citizens. But some parents are so disgusted and disappointed with their newborn girls that they name them Nakusa or Nakushi, which means “unwanted.”

A ceremony in Maharashtra state was held on Saturday with girls beautifully dressed and holding small flower bouquets so they could rename themselves after Bollywood stars or Hindu goddesses or even just “traditional names with happier meanings.”

The hope coming out of the ceremony was that new names for the girls would help restore dignity for them personally as well as fight the larger gender discrimination pattern that is leaving India with way more boys than girls. A census this year showed India’s sex ratio had dropped in some areas to 881 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6.

The gender gap is attributed to abortions, and in some cases, neglect leading to death. Girls are unfavored in part because of the wedding and dowry expenses a girl’s family incurs when she marries.

Indian officials have offered incentives like free food, cash and education for families who take care of their girls. Yesterday’s naming ceremony was the brainchild of a health officer in Satara.

Could you even imagine giving your child a name that means “unwanted?”

Image: Wikipedia

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About Meredith Carroll

meredith-carroll

Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “‘Unwanted’ No More; Hundreds of Indian Girls Shed Their Undignified Names

  1. Meagan says:

    Couldn’t they outlaw dowries?

  2. bob says:

    Nakusa needs to be added to the rotation of tropical cyclone names, amirite?

  3. bob says:

    Our place is across the street from a popular Halloween neighborhood, and we’re left out of most of the action. Would replacing our traditional jack-o-lanterns with a giant lit Snickers sign look desperate?

  4. bob says:

    Blast, wrong thread.

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