Monday, May 19, 2014

What's in a name...

Whats in a name... so said Shakespeare. Nothing... good for him and those who share his thoughts.
Surname.... Raises some different questions all together.

In India, a woman is expected to take her husband's surname after marriage by default. No questions, no assumptions, thats just how it is. 

Why? Because..... isn't that obvious?? Thats the way things have always been. Didn't your mother and grandmother take their respective husband's name? So say the 'Shastras'. Women changed their Gotras and hence the name change... Is there even a question??? Why do you think so much??? Just follow what has always been done. If you have to act so feminist, take dual surname, just append your husband's surname.

I somehow, have never been able to digest these views. For me, this is nothing but discrimination. And I can't help thinking on why should a girl change her surname. Why is a girl questioned if she doesn't change her surname. On the contrary, if a guy some day decides to adopt his wife's surname, that would raise all the eyebrows and start gossips. This question always manages to draw "nice" words from me, some times openly and usually just a smile in public.

But, what burns me completely is all the forms that we are supposed to fill. Driving licence, aadhar, ration card, everywhere.
Fathers/Mothers/Husband's name:

I scream everytime, WHY!!!!

Everybody is expected to write their father's name before marriage. You can write your mother's name if needed; an option that hasn't been there for long. However, men are supposed to continue this all their life. Women on the other hand are expected to write their husband's name after marriage. This is something that I find more intolerable. Why isn't their a spouse name option? Why is it only husband's name? Why are you interested to know if I am married or not and oblivious if my husband is married or not!!! 

I still continue to write my father's name in this section, despite being married for several years now. Yes, I am hypocrite in the sense that I don't write my mother's name, but I have been that way since long. My husband and I have argued several times on why do I act so stubborn. But, I just can't convince myself to bow down to this discrimination. Somehow, I fume with anger every single time I see this option. Every time I feel like questioning who designs these forms and the reason for this question. It will be a long time before I come to peace with this.

I am reminded of a line from "Animal Farm":
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

I hope someday we truly are an equal society!!!