Post the birth the first real gift the parents give to the child is the name. A gift reflecting their love, blessings, concerns and to an extent expectation. Parents/ elders take as much pride in selecting the name for a girl child as they must be taking in case of the boys. Why is it then that most girls are expected to be just surnames after marriage. The maiden name which their parents had given with so much love, the name they had lived with pride till then is lost somewhere between the so called responsibilities and the routine of life. In some communities the girls are given a new name post the marriage, a symbol of starting life afresh. (Are they expected to forget whatever they had done or achieved before that?).
Name is the first real possession over which a child has exclusive rights. It gives every child the unique identity, the surname/ family names are inheritances which come thereafter. A surname on it‘s own does not carry much meaning whereas the name conveys its desired meaning on its own. It does not require any external support. Still a majority of us take pride in displaying our surnames preferring to convert the name to mere initials. People are ready to do anything blindly for the sake of family name and honour, not bothering to do much about creating a mark for own name in life.
Study of our mythology and old scriptures makes it abundantly clear that though casteism was prevalent but it was the name which mattered more than the surname. Starting from Lord Rama or Krishna or Lakshman, Yudhistra, Bhim, Arjuna, everyone refers to them by their first name. Even the Maharanis or the common ladies were referred to by their first names like Parvati, Sita or Rukmini, not as Mrs Rama or Mrs Krishna. Than why this change over a period of time.
In ancient India it was always the girl who had the right of selecting or rejecting a groom. Everyone will remember the story of how Sita approved of Rama in a Swayamvara. She could have rejected him, the sky wouldn’t have fallen. Then why this total transformation in the modern times where generally boys have all the say. Why should the girl give up her family name and even the name after marriage?
No girl is born and destined to die just as a surname. She has as much right as any men to make a mark on the world stage. Live up to the name her parents had given so proudly. I am not for boys or girls being singularly given the right of selection or rejection. Why can’t both have an equal say? This issue can be resolved if we start looking beyond the surnames or rather just start looking at the names.