Removing the Shame of a Name

Girls hold certificates stating their official new names at a renaming ceremony in Satara, India, Oct. 22, 2011. Almost 300 Indian girls known formerly as “Unwanted” have traded their birth names for a fresh start in life. Photo credit: Associated Press
Girls hold certificates stating their official new names
at a renaming ceremony in Satara, India, Oct. 22, 2011.
Almost 300 Indian girls known formerly as “Unwanted”
have traded their birth names for a fresh start in life.
Photo credit: Associated Press

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Naming babies is a sacred affair in Indian Hindu culture. Ten days after a baby is born, the extended family conducts an elaborate naming ceremony known traditionally as Namakaran Sanskar. The name of the child is carefully chosen by a specific family member (which can vary regionally).

But what if the name your family gave you was, “Unwanted?”

Giving a daughter the Hindi name “Nakusa” or “Nakushi” (which means “unwanted”) is sadly not uncommon in India, particularly in Maharashtra state. Families often prefer boys, and are disappointed when a baby turns out to be a girl.

In a powerful, counter-cultural move, just this past weekend, 285 girls from Maharashtra state sought a fresh start in life by choosing a new name for themselves. Click here to read more.

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