Renaming Indian Girls, From Unwanted to Beautiful and Good

International   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Oct 23, 2011   |   6:57PM   |   New Delhi, India

Many people think that sex selective abortion is only a problem in China where the one-child policy forces couples to limit themselves to one child.  Unfortunately sex selective abortion is rampant in other countries that do not have a one-child policy.  In places like India where girls are often seen as a burden to the family, the ratio of girls to boys born is appalling.  Some places in India are even paying couples to have girls because the excess number of single men is a demographic nightmare.

I often wonder how beautiful girls that grow up to be life-giving women could be seen as a detriment instead of the wonderful asset that they are.  I don’t understand a culture that does not value women and the procreative power that we hold.  I also do not understand how parents could name their girl a name that means “unwanted.”  Apparently, in India it happens and Associated Press reports on a ceremony where Indian girls are changing their names:

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.” Some just wanted traditional names with happier meanings, such as “Vaishali,” or “prosperous, beautiful and good.”

Good for these girls.  I hope their attitude begins to change their culture’s view of women.  Forget “sugar and spice and all that’s nice,” I like “prosperous, beautiful and good” because that is exactly what little girls are! Note: Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for five years and has been interviewed on EWTN radio on topics from stem cell research and cloning to voting pro-life. Taylor has a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of San Francisco with a national certification in clinical Molecular Biology MB (ASCP).