285 Indian Girls Shed ‘Unwanted’ Names

Chaya Babu, San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2011

More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean “unwanted” in Hindi have chosen new names for a fresh start in life.

A central Indian district held a renaming ceremony Saturday that it hopes will give the girls new dignity and help fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls.

The 285 girls–wearing their best outfits with barrettes, braids and bows in their hair–lined up to receive certificates with their new names along with small flower bouquets from Satara district officials in Maharashtra state.

In shedding names like “Nakusa” or “Nakushi,” which mean “unwanted” in Hindi, some girls chose to name themselves after Bollywood stars such as “Aishwarya” or Hindu goddesses like “Savitri.” {snip}

“Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy,” said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. {snip}

The plight of girls in India came to a focus after this year’s census showed the nation’s sex ratio had dropped over the past decade from 927 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6 to 914.

Maharashtra state’s ratio is well below that, with just 883 girls for every 1,000 boys–down from 913 a decade ago. In the district of Satara, it is even lower, at 881.

Such ratios are the result of abortions of female fetuses, or just sheer neglect leading to a higher death rate among girls. The problem is so serious in India that hospitals are legally banned from revealing the gender of an unborn fetus in order to prevent sex-selective abortions, though evidence suggests the information gets out.

Part of the reason Indians favor sons is the enormous expense of marrying off girls. Families often go into debt arranging marriages and paying for elaborate dowries. {snip} Hindu custom also dictates that only sons can light their parents’ funeral pyres.

{snip}

Other incentives, announced by federal or state governments every few years, include free meals and free education to encourage people to take care of their girls, and even cash bonuses for families with girls who graduate from high school.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    Yet the femi-nazis still attack white males at every chance.

    Who helped women’s rights the most? Mexicans? Blacks? Muslims?

  • Anonymous

    Fewer females mean fewer babies in the future, which is a good thing, if one is considering the population problem of India and the world. But reality rather says that the men would migrate to the West and look for non-Indian brides elsewhere. So it’s best for this awful Indian cultural practice against females to end.

    Soon, the glaciers that feed the Ganges River will be gone. Just watch the mayhem when that happens.

  • madison grant

    Once again Third Worlders treat women like dirt while white feminists utter nary a peep.

    But let a white man make a mildly sexually explicit joke and these same loudmouths will be howling in outrage.

  • John H.

    “dowries. … funeral pyres.” Once more, tradition and custom trump common sense. While pragmatism may not be the best philosophy to guide your life, there are times it certainly has it’s uses.

  • Anonymous

    Hinduism is so anti-female. Learn about its attitudes towards women and you will find it is the most anti-female religion on earth. Have you ever wondered though why feminists and social justice do-gooders give hinduism a free pass? ‘Cause they love Indian food and the Beatles were Hindus for a while!

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with that but,guess what? We’ve got our own problems. The Feminist Big Brother loves to stick its fat nose into allthe worlds problem with “girls”. We need to worry about OUR people.

  • Anonymous

    About thirty years ago I heard a self-identified feminist in the USA say that the abortion right she was fighting for so hard in the USA should be rescinded in India, because it contributed to abortions happening for no reason other than the fetus was female. That was thirty years ago, and I haven’t heard it said since. That makes USA feminism nationalist, which one can argue is good or bad, but that USA feminists think of themselves as internationalists is part of the way USA feminism went off the rails long ago.

    Often, perhaps usually, I’m not fit to evaluate one culture over another. I like the taste of French food but not the portion size, while I like the portion size of Russian food but not the taste. Which is better? In other matters, such as the devaluation of women in Hindu and Muslim nations, the answers are more clear cut. The valuation of women in the West is better, and that’s the end of that.

  • the Guru

    White females just throng over Indian men since they don’t treat them badly like white men do. Seriously most white men are after looks unlike Indian men who see past that. Men overall in America need to treat women like ladies and at the same time women need to behave like ladies. Just sayin!

  • Eva

    I’ve hardly met a man who would not prefer a son to a daughter.

    And let’s not be hypocritical: most countries in the west permit abortion for any reason at all. Is it more acceptable to kill a fetus because a pregnancy is inconvenient to one’s lifestyle, than to undergo an abortion for sex selection?

  • Simon Jester

    Once again Third Worlders treat women like dirt while white feminists utter nary a peep.

    Indeed, and this is only the tip of the iceberg of Indian men’s brutalization of women. Google “kitchen fires” and “India” to see what I mean.

  • SunnyvaleSal

    In Sunnyvale there are a lot of Indians. An Indian clerk who I worked with was very eager to point out to me the customers who had names that made it clear that they were unwanted by their parents. (This was an interesting semi-scandal for her.) They were male as well as female. Her theory was that they came from poor families with too many kids or that they were conceived at inopportune times.

    I cannot remember the names in the various Indian languages, but translated they meant things like Garbage, A Source of Sorrow, Mistake, etc. Perhaps the Indian commentator from Cupertino will write in with his thoughts as to whether this is also occurs with males and give examples of the names and their meanings.

  • duke

    In feminist America it is boys who are considered worthless and unwanted but there is never any mention of the anti-male bigotry of our society.

  • S.L. Cain

    I propose that the H1-B visa be renamed the “Nakusa Visa”.

  • The Bobster

    White females just throng over Indian men since they don’t treat them badly like white men do.

    _____________

    This only happens in every freaking sitcom on the air right now. (Why does every sitcom have to have a happy Hindu?) Real White women don’t want a skinny, little brown thing from the upper castes of India who treat everyone like dirt when they get a chance.

    ___________________

    Seriously most white men are after looks unlike Indian men who see past that.

    __________

    Hindus don’t see past that. It’s just that the ugliest American women is better looking than the prettiest snake charmer, so any American woman is an upgrade.

  • Anonymous

    the “Guru” said…

    “White females just throng over Indian men since they don’t treat them badly like white men do. Seriously most white men are after looks unlike Indian men who see past that. Men overall in America need to treat women like ladies… ”

    …but it is the other way around.

  • Nick K.

    The strong bias against having female children is only one part of a much larger misogyny in that culture. Woman are treated very poorly in India, both in and out of the home. Violence against women there is- like in many countries- an under-reported problem. I assume that Guru/#8 was kidding with his remarks that Indian men are somehow ore desirable for any women, let alone white women, because they are so much kinder to women. Much of this misogyny has to be traced back to the influence of Hinduism. Not surprising, really. After all, its origins are almost five thousand years old, and attitudes toward women have improved in that time. Well, at least in the much-maligned West.

    It is funny- that is, irritating- that so many of the gender-bending lefty feminista types are so critical of male treatment of women in the West- where women are more equal and more valued than anywhere else in the world- but often uncritical of how women are treated in non-white cultures. I guess it all goes back to that unspoken, but very real, multicultural-liberal supposition that brown (and therefore “oppressed”) cultures are morally superior by dint of their long victimhood.

  • Epiales

    I thought about AmRen, and Sureesh in particular, as I wrote about this topic last weekend. Indians behave very differently outside India than they do in their own country.

    Why do Indian brides pay a dowry when there are more young men than young women? If anything, the young men should be offering money and gifts to get a lady.

    http://goo.gl/G2aN3

  • Lygeia

    Are they just not smart enough to elope?

    If elaborate marriages are too expensive, then stop doing it.

    Why is better to kill your girl children or not “want” them, instead of just rationally deciding you can’t afford to marry them off in an expensive wedding?

    We were able to figure this out in the West hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Why do the Indians lag so far behind us in common sense?

  • Crystal Evans

    Personally, I think that there are things in the Indian culture that will change because of skewed male to female sex ratios in many parts of India. One of these things is the Dowry marriage, how can a groom’s family demand a dowry when there are more men than women? Some of the castes in India had a custom called the bride price, where the groom’s family paid the bride’s family to marry their daughter. This custom had been abandoned due to the popularity of dowry. Also, I can see many Indian men looking overseas to marry Indian women from other countries such as the UK, US and Australia due to the shortages in marriageable women in India.