Monday, March 16, 2009


This post is continuation if my earlier one, just the way a dress cant decide our status and thinking, so is the surname.Its only a part of our patriarchal society, now most of the girls will say..oh they want matriarchal...but that wont change anything..we have to follow a system, if today its the name of husband..the girls have a problem, tomorrow it will be the name of wife and men will have a grudge.

What is in a name.. a lot, but what is a hot discussion now.a.days is that....... changing of surname after marriage. One girl says she doesnt want to change her name, its her identity and what she has been for last so many year:) and all the girls flock to her comment section too, me too:)..

Is the surname our identity? or our identity is limited to our surnames only? For a woman of substance her identity is..

Her qualifications.......when we see a doctor, do we ever bother about what her surname is?

her deeds.........any good person is loved and appreciated who cares for her surname.

her personality.

I dont write my surname on my blog, does that mean I have no identity? Most of my blogger friends tell me that i am a traditional person with values intact....How do they know? maine to surname laga nahi rakha:), its thru my views only.

This changing of surname after marriage is just conforming to the system made to facilitate many things in life, just imagine a scenario where... ( Rohini --a blogger on whose blog I read this discussion)also wondered about this though)

Amit goel marries Leena chopra

after marriage she becomes Leena chopra goel and suppose she is a firebrand feminist then she would like her children to be called.......that

and then these children marry the progeny of another feminist...Rita bhatia gupta, so now the children will be called.......................too long to write:) even. Why we are putting our children to so much of funny ideas and complications.

Changing the surname and following the culture and traditions of inlaws( imagine a scenario where a girl comes into the family, and the family has been celebrating a festival for last 40 years in a certain traditional way, now the girl wants it to be celebrated her parent's way also, now what will happen...

If two ways are followed, any traditon is diluted, rather its not a tradition at all,and creates a confusion or

if she wants to do it her way..will she and other family memebers go their own way? and the boy who has been doing it his mother's way so far will now be in a dilemma, living in same house its not possible to celebrate it separately.) is not a domination by anybody over anybody--its just to save the confusion in life, for the family to be homogenous..all with the same surname....A family of

Amit gupta..husband

Leena chopra wife

and children.....gGupta chopra doesnt look like a family even.

I just dont under stand from where all this ego is coming...I, my identity.

Everybody knows Kiran Bedi..she has an identity of a strong woman.surname changed or not nobody knows or wants to know.

Indira Gandhi...Did she loose her identity even after changing herself to Gandhi, she was a person par excellence and she remains that.

I can give you hundred examples where women have shone and created a niche identity for themselves, without bothering about this surname business. All these dilemmas are created by western thinking where family means only husband wife and children, but even then abroad also they take the name of husband.
Yes names are important, not surnames. I never put surname with my daughter's name, because before marriage one lives only one fourth of life, major part is lived after marriage only, and I didnt want her to have any hassles of changing the surname. I dont know why people want to live a life of denial, like denying all the things which are important after marriage or for grown ups.
Childhood is a foundation on which the building of life is constructed. Foundation is best in the ground, then only the building will be strong. A tree has roots which give it support to stand but they always remain buried in the ground, its only the leaves are visible,it cant live without roots but cant have any fruits without shoots(leaves)
Change is the only thing in life which is constant and necessary for growth. Men and woman are not adversaries but compliment each other beautifully, no one is complete without the other,we need them as much as they need us, it should never be we versus them, but only you and me= we, as sometime back someone wrote on my is not about looking at each other only but looking in the same direction TOGETHER.


Still thinking said... started with something so tangible but ended with such a sweet intangible feeling :)
I blog. I blog w/o a name, so the question of surname just does not arise. But my blogger nik shouldn't be taken lightly either :D
If I've to give my honest comment on this post, then I think you're absolutely right. If the man's name has been continued down thru' centuries why should it change, it's all about convenience right, then it’s fine by moi. But if I’ve to be honest and talk myself, then when I marry tomorrow, I shall keep my maiden surname and my husband's name...this is how I want it. But yes, it need not be necessarily the same for my kids. It's all about what I want now for myself.
But the most important point in your post; you’re definitely right, a name or a surname definitely is not the determining factor of a person’s essence.

Renu said...

Still thinking: Thats what i wanted to know from the girls...why this need, to retain the maiden name?....
But yes, it need not be necessarily the same for my kids. It's all about what I want now for myself.--------here note the word necessarrily.....may be you wouild like if they retain ur name also? isnt it? why? How will it make any difference to u, ur identity or life, except complicating the things in paperwork.

Anonymous said...

I havent thought seriously about the subject yet but Yes, I agree : Life is about looking together towards same direction no matter idenity or no identity.

hitch writer said...

I think its a matter of individual choice...

I remember asking my wife if she wanted to keep her surname... but she was tooo keen to take mine... still when ever i introduce her with her fullname i always call her with her old surname... since i knew her from school days...

it doesnt make anysense to change it... but people want to do it... than its their free wish..

I dont think it matters and should be left to an individual to decide !

Chronicwriter said...

ill be marrying sometime soon.. my wife will go thru the name changing pain...

Reflections said...

Wow Renu, the post is superb!!!!! Living in a society we conform to certain norms.....we have to use these norms to our advantage, after all they r there for our benefit.

"Men and woman are not adversaries but compliment each other beautifully, no one is complete without the other,we need them as much as they need us, it should never be we versus them"
Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!!!
Sometimes I feel Woman is her own shouting & fighting it out & trying to carve her own identity she is losing the essence of her feminity. I going away from the topic:-P?????

Onthewingsofadream said...

I think people make a lot of fuss about simple things ....I never used my dad's surname ..thats dutta excpet for blog /email ids ..i dnt hate it ..its just that for paper work its easy later ....i dnt have to change the name ..and I will not ..and I do find this two surname system funny ..keep either one.... u only get too defensive when u are not confident about your identity ...

but then its a matter of personal choice each its own ...I dnt like too complications I keep it simple !!

Shalom said...

Before marriage, I'd decided to keep my maiden name & add my hubby's surname. But after marriage, I stuck to my maiden name, as has my sis-in-law, due to various visa & passport issues. Neither our husbands nor in-laws have a problem with that, and actually it doesn't even matter. Just coz we haven't taken their surname doesn't mean we don't love & respect them. None of us believe in the beti being pariah concept....we're a part of our parents' as well as our husbands' families.

Ultimately, it is not the name itself, but mutual love, respect & acceptance that binds family.

Ordinary Guy said...

good one Renu..
love this line:
life is not about looking at each other only but looking in the same direction TOGETHER
And also:
The surname, in India tells a lot about the person actually as genarally their caste name...
so you can know about his/her roots......

Rohini said...

A very good topic of discussion among many girls. We all wonder if its necessary to take our husband's names and leave our parental surnames. i don't know if its important to change it or not and i never even bothered to know because to me, it is a very small thing to worry about. Like you said, its more about the identity I create for myself at any point in life. I took my husband's name after marriage but my passport still carries my maiden name. so everything here in the US carries my maiden name. my new surname is only limited to be displayed on our house in India with my husband's name where we don't live right now and don't know when we will actually live there.
So, to me its more important to be known as only Rohini, the girl who achieved this or that or something than Rohini + something... not important. :)

Renu said...

Hobo; The longest comment of urs:) I am happy:)

Renu said...

Hitch writer: Hats off to u:)

Renu said...

chriz: Congrats ! Wishing you all the happiness in your future married life !!

Renu said...

Reflections: Nancy you are always bvery generous in praise:), but i am not complaining:)

I always bel;ieve that woman is her own enemy.. and I am yet to see an incident where she is being victimised by man only, most of the time there is another womanbehind all the tauma of a woman.

she is losing the essence of her feminity......exactly the way I think:).. we seem to be quite similar:) in views.

On thewingsof a dream: u only get too defensive when u are not confident about your identity.....Thats the point I wanted to make:). This change is not about domination or anything else, its only for convenience.

Renu said...

shalom; Ultimately, it is not the name itself, but mutual love, respect & acceptance that binds family....yeah this is the essence of my whatever you do for the convenience or tradition or whatever..but dont bring identity issue with this name sorry surname issue.....what iu want to ask u is ..had u insisted on keeping it even if it was not supported by ur inlaws , or at the cost of bringing disharmony in ur life, just because u feel its ur identity?

Ordinary GuY: This line I wanted to emphasise...that ultimately what you are is ur identity and lif eis not all about forging identities but bringing harmony and love in ur life and the people surrounding you.

I dont believe in this individuality bussiness at all, anythinbg that affects physically, emotionally or financially theb people around you, cant be individual, u have to take everything into the account.

Renu said...

ROHINI: Thanks for ur comment, I couldnt link u in the post as I forgot your blog name, now I will blog roll u:)

I say the same what you do for the sake of convenience..dont bring any identity issues with this if its convenient also:) Ultimately one is known by one's virtues only.

Bedazzled said...

i remember reading abt name change somewhere else also .. my personal take is that for 26 odd years people have known me by my maiden name and i am not gonna change it now becos i've gotten married .. plus the added hassle of changing address and id proof.. its not abt ego or feminism .. its being practical... Its not fair to not acknowledge what your parents do for you.. Men and women can compliment each other without having to change surnames..Gender equations and expectations have changed .. nobody really bothers whether u have changed u r name after marriage these days..just my 2 cents.

Towards reclamation said...

beautiful .. the way you bring out the real reason behind the tradition and how really ego engenders these conflicts .. nice ..
one small analogy .. a senior once told me this ... take any number say 3 for example .. it is a simple number ..
now add an "i" to it and it becomes " 3+i " a complex number .. :)

was on a hiatus .. and went on it almost as soon as i had started reading your blog .. felt nice to be back here ..

Balvinder Singh said...

Hi , i am in transit, will be getting back to regular blogging after a few days.

Anonymous said...

WOW..wht a hard hitting post!
loved it :)

Frankly, I don't give a damn.. It really does not matter to me, tho ive been a film journalist.. ( v r credited for every story)

It is only nw tht v get to hear names like Malaika Arora Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, etc.
I find it vry funny

Renu said...

Bedazzled: Its not fair to not acknowledge what your parents do for you.. u think that u r acknowledging ur parents contribution by ur name, but that is ur first name given by them, plus YOU as a person..... are the ambassador of your family, what more you need to acknowledge?

It is very important in life to give due imp[ortance to evry realtionship, but....

Towards reclamation; Thanks for being so nice to me:)I have so much in mind about this topic, but I dont think I can write all that in any post, but feel sad to see today's girls

Balvinder singh: I was wondering where you have vanished:)

SWAT: Its not only funny, it will creat lot of problems in the next generation. Really Swats, i wonder why there are not more girls like you, world would be a much harmonious place to live in:)

SMRITI said... this was a wonderful post!

Intially I used to write my full name "SMRITI SRIVASTAVA" in my blog but then people used to come up to me and talk abt the whole surname deal..and them being from the same caste and all....just irritated me no end... I decided to remove the surname coz really, even if I take it, I dont think I consciously remember to call myself as SMRITI SRIVASTAVA. I have always been SMRITI and sometimes I wished I didnt have a surname, like my mom doesnt...never did.

Maybe when I get married, my husband would ask me if I want to keep my name or change it.. I think I wouldnt have any issues changing it if my husband would like me to... coz really, I might be SMRITI SRIVASTAVA on paper, but to those who know me, I'm just "SMRITI, SAM, SAMMIE, SIM, SMRITZ, SMRITZIE, DOLLO, KIMRITI...." and its many alliterations :)

Now why would I bother abt my name...I have soooo many of them :)

Renu said...

SMRITI: Thanx:)what i want to covey is this...happiness and harmony in life is much more important than these small things, plus this generation is totally confused..first they say they dont want to change their surname for its their identity, then they say they are acknowledging their parents by this.. i fail to understand both the logics:)

every child girl or boy loves his/ her parents, i dont think it needs to be shouted, or shoved into the faces of other relations.

J P Joshi said...

I agree with your views as expressed in this post. I too feel that this is a system that has been created to ensure continuity and beat confusion. The latest trend is towards anarchy. Imagine... wife takes on husband's name after her birth surname... their child then has two surnames......marries to a woman with one or two surnames....and thus it goes on in till everyone has everyone elses surname in some combination in their own....not a bad thought except that it is impractical....

I liken all this to driving on the left side of the road.....WHY?????? US drives on the right, one may argue......Does it make any difference? It is a system - works fine as long as you follow it, otherwise it does not matter which side you drive. I love your closing remarks as they signify the essence of life, "Men and woman are not adversaries but compliment each other beautifully, no one is complete without the other,we need them as much as they need us, it should never be we versus them, but only you and me= we, as sometime back someone wrote on my is not about looking at each other only but looking in the same direction TOGETHER".

PG said...

I think it is high time we go beyond matriarchial and pariarchial. All these things are and were meant to help give stability and boundaries which we all need even as adults and not only as children. Every society needs rules and regulations which need to be followed but with time these may and maybe should be thought over again. I assume what is happening in India is similar to that what ha already taken place here and people don't discuss such things anymore. I know lots of husbands who have taken their wifes names and yes, these more exceptions than a rule but it is stil no big deal. AS ultimately the men also have an ego and not only women.
I think a family should be run democratically even when it comes to following traditins that the all come together and discuss which traditions they want to follow husbands or wifes and if at all are these of value. Since in reality it is the woman in the family who follows these traditions the chances are high that she would follow it the waya she has learnt and that is not always bbut a lot of times what she learnt from her mom. In a large joint family one should always leave room for discussing things and i believe it should not only be the the women who shuld always cooperate but the whole family.
I will give you one example from my family. In my fathers side girls and women were supposed to stay away fom the Puja. My mom followed this eben though she had not learnt this in her family. OK I don't mind (though i had fights with my parents about this :D)
But, do you think i would want to follow this tradition from my family when my husband's family is more liberal. Of course not. I guess this is an easy example with an easy solution.
But, i feel if you want someone to accpet your tradition then younhave to make the efforts to understand and know the others first.
I've written too much, I see. But, your posts are always so thought provoking! :D

PG said...

forgo to mention, I was too happy taking hubbys name, but I think if a family wishes to be called with a looooong name, why not. It's their choice. I personally rather have a looooong sirname than have a differen name for me and hubby. Afterall it is MY IDENTITY, however insignificant, isn't it?

Amrita said...

Quite a pandoras box u opened out there Renu.
See I will be frank, there is nothing with individuality blah blah here - I feel it something you always have been. If a woman has been comfortable being called Miss Amrita XYZ for a good 25 years of her life, it might be a bit unnerving to give up that and be called Amrita EFG all of a sudden, and post marriage, when so much changes, maybe a gal would feel, kam se kam naam to rakh lene do. And some things if you dont change immediately after marriage, you might feel weirder changing after a long time post marriage, hence the thing remains. so keeping maiden name is entirely a comfort thingie. As my mom and my aunts kept maiden surnames since all were working by the time they got married and its a hassle getting the changed name on the certs. So identity ki baat hi nehi hai i feel. and other women feel the utter belongingness with hubbys family, tht they get their names changed - well works fine for them - no one minds.

so its a matter of personal "choice" not personal identity. I feel... waise my parents never kept a surname for me - I am firstname middlename like Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi - just that I dont have the Gandhi :D So its just name for me and thats what I will keep till I die :D

Renu - wonderful topic, wonderful writing! you made me think! Kudos!

D said...

"If two ways are followed, any traditon is diluted, rather its not a tradition at all,and creates a confusion..."

So why doesn't the man think of giving up the traditions of his family?

Just imagine Renu, if a family has only daughters that get married into other families and start following their traditions to avoid causing any confusion. Don't the traditions of her family get diluted or even die out then? In that case, it would be better to have sons who would bring home girls who would propogate a certain way of living - traditions, culture et al. No?

The same argument stands for a woman changing or not changing her surname. I've always maintained that one of the commonly used arguments for having a son is that he will further the family name through his offsprings. If a woman can retain her surname after marriage, there may be more people, I hope, who're willing to see that men and women are not unequal. And women too can further the family name, quite literally.

Also, don't worry about the hassle of children with very long surnames. I'm sure once they have a mind of their own, they'll know how much to keep of their parents' name!

Piper .. said...

Hey Renu, visiting your blog after a while :) well,you have touched a controversial topic :) here is my deal: agreed that a surname does not determine my identity. It continues to remain a part of my identity, albeit in an inert way. BUt why do you think the girl is expected to change a name after marriage? Why not the boy? Why do you think anybody should change their surnames after anything?
I was born with my name. I shall die with it :):) I had not really thought seriously about it after marriage. Just never got it changed because there were too many issues regarding changing name in passport etc. So it never happened. But if I were asked to do it today, there better be a verry good reason for wanting me to change my surname today. A verrrrrrry good reason, Renu :):) Otherwise, why on earth would I bother changing my name?

Renu said...

AMRITA: so its a matter of personal "choice" not personal identity. I feel... thats the same I feel , and choices must be made keeping in mind the hormony of your family:)

I felt very proud of my name..mrs so & so also, I think Amrita:) I will have to do another post to answer allk the comments and say what I want:)

D; Welcome here !
So why doesn't the man think of giving up the traditions of his family?-----the day one starts thinking of men as their complimentary units, all thes whys will vanish.

I will write the answer to your comment in another post:)

Piper; U too:) Mishy :) going to write anoythe post for I can say everything here:)

the blogger formerly known as sansmerci said...


i love to write my name with his afetr marriage... its a feelin ic nt explain everytime i sign my name so... but it wudve worked earlier wen women din work or have a life of their own b4 marriage...

now even if i want to chaneg my surname.. its a bigger confusion and too much trbl to change it everywhere i mean EVERYWHERE i ve been known for the last 26 yrs which includes banks to driving liscence to passport...

but yes i do use his name personally and mite try n change it in th gazette n go thro the pain... but i don think everyone shud do it... its a personaly decision and m doin it outa sheer love...

a gal who thinks she will lose her individuality and identity cos of it.. shud def not do it... cos yes u do feel very dependant on this person once u start doin stuff... n not every relationship is the same...

so i think more than tradition or love or compromise.. or giving up ego.. its strength thts imp for a gal so watever u do.. b strong with out without the name!

Renu said...

TBFKAS...Swarna: its about whatevr is convenient , egos and too much of individuality, dont have any space in marriage

Mark said...

As a man living in the UK, I can appreciate (a little) how caste might be an issue when deciding whether or not to change your surname.

However, I do feel irritated when it's always assumed to be an issue about which ONLY women think, never the men.

As for identity, one can imagine a dictionary definition as follows:

name that by which you are identified.

Almost by definition your name IS your identity. Of course, it doesn't define your character or determine your personality, but it is your identity. Just try looking fro someone on the internet with a photo or description. Only the name will work.

I've written about the surname issue here, if anyone's interested:

Mark, UK

Renu said...

Mark: welcome on my blog !

Its a issue which relates more to the women because it is they who are asupposed to change theirsurname after marriage, with men its not a issue, as their name remains the same.

Now I am going to read your post.

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