A New Name For Nakushi
- If Pakistan has sympathy for Kashmiri youth, they shouldn’t provoke them to attack army camps: Mehbooba Mufti
- Dhaka cafe attack mastermind, 2 others killed in police encounter
- Rio 2016 review: What they did at home, what in Olympics
- Buzz of change in Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed flies secretly to Lanka
- Kashmir: Police constable shot dead by terrorists
Maharashtra has been struggling with a declining child sex ratio and is ranked among the five worst states in the country. The reasons are the same as elsewhere: preference for a male child. But in a shocking indicator of how extreme this desire is and how deep-rooted the bias against the girl child can get, scores of families across Maharashtra have simply named their daughters 'Nakushi' or 'Nakusha'—meaning 'unwanted' in Marathi.
Last week, the district administration of Satara, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's home district, identified 222 such girls under the age of 18 and either renamed them or gave them the option of picking a new name for themselves.
District officials and activists say the practice of villagers naming girls 'Nakushi' was discovered last year and blamed it on a mix of frustration and ignorance. Mothers of Nakushis said it was a popular belief in these parts that if their girl was named Nakushi, their next-born would be a boy.
Varsha Deshpande, a local social activist who works for women's issues, said parents of such girls were usually poor and could not afford the technology that the rich used to illegally determine the sex of the foetus. "There are two issues here. We have to realise that the parents did not abort the child through sex selection and detection. They expressed their frustration by naming her 'Nakushi'. There are a large number of people in this state who go in for sex selection procedures. That is a larger worry," she says.
District Information Officer U B Sawant, one of the main organisers of the renaming ceremony, said the event hoped to spread awareness about girls and make them feel wanted. "A new name will make a big difference to their lives. We are also taking steps to improve the sex ratio," he says.
- In Kashmir, so-called solutions are riddled with contradictions and divisions
- Why personal, social and political self-identification of Dalits must count more than legal nomenclature.
- The draft surrogacy bill violates the fundamental right of people to choose modes of parenthood
- Realpolitik drives Myanmar’s outreach to India and China
- Epidemics in India are seldom followed by a long-term response
- Pakistan army has a battle to win: The corruption within