When I read about the 285 precious Indian girls who recently changed their given name from ‘unwanted’, my heart was stirred by their simple act of rebellion against the rejection of their family and their culture.
As Grazia Magazine (www.grazia.com.au) reported in last week’s edition, a heartbreaking tradition is marking girls as unwanted to everyone they will ever meet. Many Indian baby girls are named Nakusa or Nakushi, meaning ‘unwanted’ in Hindi.
The article goes on to explain that according to medical journal The Lancet, half a million baby girls are aborted in India every year because parents were hoping for boys instead.
India’s district health department came up with the plan of helping girls change their name from ‘unwanted’ to a name of their own choice after the heartbreaking tradition of naming their daughters this way was banned in 1961 but is still followed by some.
“In Satara, where this first renaming ceremony took place,” reports Grazia, “there are only 881 girls (aged under 6) for every 1000 boys.”
Grazia goes on to explain that the government is also offering incentives to parents whose daughters graduate from high school. These incentives include free meals, education and cash bonuses.
It’s such a sad, sad situation when certain cultures choose to reject the gender to whom their own lives are owed but it’s also very encouraging to see people doing something about it. I love it!!
In fact, I choose to be encouraged by these stories rather than disheartened by the terrible situations facing our world and those living in it. Surely we’re more useful to others when we’re inspired and full of hope?
For more info on Plan International’s campaign Let Girls Be Born, visit http://www.planindia.org
The parents didn’t want a female child…but we did this to help the girls. They are good now. They are happy with their new names.
– Dr. Bhagwan Pawar, leader of the ‘renaming’ initiative.