Apr 28, 2012

GuestSpeak: What’s in a name?

source: world wide web
Have you ever wondered why in most of the applications you fill, you are never asked for your mother’s name? Or if you are asked it is always after that of your father’s? Has it ever occurred to you why is it that children all around the world use their father’s surname? Have you? Well if you have not then do give it a thought!

It’s a mother who carries a child within her for nine months before bringing him or her to this beautiful world of ours. She is the one who invests a lot throughout her life to give her baby a wonderful and happy existence. When I say this I do not in any way mean that a father’s role is not vital. What I feel is if bearing the father’s name and mentioning it in every application is warranted then why not state the mother’s name too. She has played a role which is if not more than atleast equal in importance to that of the father.

Shakespeare famously wrote ‘What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. While that is true but you cannot deny that a person is always first introduced by his name to his friends and acquaintances. When we meet a person for the first time; we do not ask what his hobby is or where he lives first. We ask what his name is to start with. So yes ‘name’ is indeed very important. So if the parents have equal share in raising a child then the child’s identity should most definitely be associated to both too.

A woman when married is expected to change her surname to that of her husband’s. Eventually when the couple has children then it is the husband’s surname that is carried forward. This to me is unfair and definitely not to my liking. What I feel is that the children should carry the last names of both their parents or have no last name at all. And I feel it is justified as the role and significance of either parents can’t be ignored.

The rules or dogmas of the society where the identity of a person is very closely intertwined with the father were made centuries ago. The same tradition is being followed till date. But I think the time to shake things up a little is now.

I am not sure how many have heard of the Khasi’s of Meghalaya. They have a tradition of using the mother’s last name for the children. I for one think it is very progressive as atleast the woman who invests her whole life in nurturing her children gets some social recognition for being the mother.

They say a mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie, and if she can forgo all her desires or wishes at some point in time for us then I think it’s high time the society puts her at the same pedestal with the father and if that begins with the surname or a space in the application forms then so be it!
 
Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Nabanita Dhar.
Find out more information about Nabanita and her blogs here
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