A few days ago, I had written a post named “You named me WHAT?”, when I read the news that, a couple in Israel had named their child Like. I was reminded of that post by a very disturbing news, No More Nakoshi, in the News Digest, on the front page of Times Of India. The news said, Satara officials have kicked off a drive to rechristen 222 girls who have been named Nakoshi (unwanted one) by their parents.
What makes a parent name their own daughter Nakoshi or Nakusa, which advertises the fact that the child was an unwanted one, for the rest of her life. How does it affect the child? In the words of Dr. Sudha Kankaria, As the girl grows up she realises the truth behind her name, feels humiliated, loses self-esteem and develops inferiority complex. After marriage, she is herself afraid of bearing a female child.
I dug a little more on the net and found out more about this phenomenon. Excerpted from this article in India express, When Sitaram and Ramabai had their fourth child, a girl, they did not have the usual naming ceremony. The couple had held grand naming ceremonies for their other three daughters, but they did not even want to think of a name for their fourth child and started calling her Nakoshi.
The Satara District Administrations has started a unique drive to rechristen the 222 girls in the district. So these girls would no more be the “Unwanted ones”. Though a great gesture, the real question is, is it going to change the problem on ground?
At the root of this problem is a deep routed desire to have a male child at any cost. Even if it means having one or more “Nakoshi”s in the family. And this then results in adverse sex ratios. Whereas national ratio is 933 girls for every thousand boys, the same ratio is 884 for the state of Maharashtra. In Patan Taluka of Satara, this ratio is 846.
The ratio also varies based on the demographics and the economic conditions of the population. The Shirur Kasar taluka in the economically backward Beed district had the lowest male female ratio in Maharashtra. The taluka has only 779 women per 1000 men. The highest sex ratio was found in Thane district – 962 females per thousand males.
Maharashtra was the first state to enact the law to prohibit sex determination of the foetus. My father in law, Prabhakar Sadhale, who was the under secretory of the Public Health Department of the state, participated in drafting the law. The recent provisions in the law also allow for shutting down the labs / hospitals found indulging in sex determination.
However, making the laws and enforcing them in itself will not change the situation. We have seen people go abroad to do the sec determination and take the due (?) action. As long as girl child is considered a liability, this will not change easily. Many people like Dr. Kankaria are making their own efforts. On her website, she has an oath in Marathi, which I wish each one of the Indians take. I am reproducing it here.
While talking about naming the children, I can’t ignore another related news.
In the Damoh district, Madhya Pradesh, 22 newborns, born from August 16 to 22 in the district hospital, have been named Anna, after the Gandhian crusader, Anna Hazare, who is now on an indefinite fast against corruption.
Sanjay Patel, a resident of Patharia tehesil of Damoh said “Last year when my wife delivered a child, I had to pay Rs 500 as bribe to the hospital. The hospital staff demanded it as a gift. Now my brother’s wife delivered a child this week, no one dared to ask even a single paisa”, he claimed. He adds that this was Anna’s magic and miracle.
As I had said in my earlier article, every name has some story. Do you know of any? Please share.