October 24th, 2011
04:04 PM ET

'Nakusa' no more: 220 Indian girls participate in renaming ceremony

What’s in a name? Everything, for girls in India’s Maharashthra state who recently got new names in an unprecedented ceremony that allowed them to shed a label with a bad meaning.

More than 220 girls in the district of Satara received the new names after being labeled “Nakusa” – unwanted – by families desperately wanting a male child.

Bhagvan Pawar, the district health officer who organized the renaming ceremony, told CNN Monday that he started working on the project one year ago and that he saw it as an obligation to help restore some self-esteem to the young girls.

"The parents, they don't want a female, they want a male child," he said. "But we did this to help them (the girls). We are trying to get them beyond this."

Video of the girls, as posted on Youtube, showed long lines of women and girls holding placards in support of the initiative.

Social mores about the enormous expense heaped upon families who have to marry off girls is just one reason they are seen as unwanted, Pawar said. Also contributing to the negativity are the census numbers that show the district’s sex ratio is about 980 females per 1,000 males, according to the Wall Street Journal.

At the renaming ceremony, the girls were allowed a name of their choosing, Pawar said - and they're doing well now. "Most of them are in school," he said. “We have scheduled 30-minute follow-ups with them,” Pawar said.  “They are good now. They are very happy with their new names.”

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Filed under: India • World
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Cultures are different, but it is difficult for me to imagine naming a child of mine "Unwanted."

    October 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Nakusa - (nutcase)"

      @ JIF It's better than naming them Nakusa – (schithead). 🙂

      October 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pedro'

    This is sad. These poor young ladies are probably intelligent, beautiful, and wonderful. They should never be degraded or feel unwanted. This is just a mean and terrible way for their family to treat them.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pedro'

    Hopefully they can go forward and have wonderful happy lives. Maybe they can move to where they are appreciated and treated with respect and dignity.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Nakusa - (nutcase)"

    I don't want 'em either...or the males. They're none the less very pretty girls (all in a row), but we had our kids 30 years ago. If I go anywhere, I make my contribution to birth control. I leave my dick at home. ♂♥

    October 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ophu

    Someone who would name a child "unwanted" should have their right to breed revoked.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    @Jeff Frank:
    There's a song that describes you: King Missile's "Detachable Penis"

    On a different note, imagine being named that, and the heartache knowing that your parents didn't want you.
    My in-laws have always treated the granddaughters rather badly because they made it known from birth that our daughters were somehow "less than" because they weren't boys.
    I finally told my m-i-l one day "hey, they can always hyphenate the name and keep it going, but after this, why would they want to?"
    Fortunately, all of the granddaughters are happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.
    My in laws have no grandsons that can carry the name on.
    Karma.

    October 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Nutcase Off The Deep End"

      You got me there, banasy. You'll have to sing that one to me someday.

      October 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jessica B

    How sad when a culture's women are despised before they are even born; It is a shame the world is still so anti-woman even now. We are valuable, we are beautiful, we are smart. We can run a company and a household and maintain a romance, so....get over it! You wouldn't have to pay men to take care of us if you didn't treat us as commodities instead of the capable, creative and productive human beings we are!!

    October 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    @Jessica B:

    Beautifully said.

    October 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Nutcase Off The Deep End"

      Pompous pigs...shoot 'em.

      October 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Only slightly off-topic:
    I just saw news (on Fox) about a 33-year-old Utah mother who pled guilty to trying to sell her 13-year-old daughter's virginity for $10,000.00.
    Stunning. No punishment is good enough for that.

    October 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Jeff Frank:
    You're very verbal with the "Nakusa – (blank)" observation.
    Have you worked in editing?

    October 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Яight Wing Иutcase"

      Wa...show stopper huh?

      October 25, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. krm1007

    What a sick society India is. This is pathetic. I can't believe what US Congress and Administration is supporting. This issue will be raised in the upcoming presidential elections in USA. All support should be withdrawn to India till its medieval
    culture and social values are realigned with the 21st century norms. This is unforgiveable.

    October 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. krm1007

    ARE INDIANS UBER TERRORISTS OR WHAT???? Forget the GDP, focus on these murder statistics.
    In India, millions of girls are strangled, slowly starved or simply tossed in the trash. Moreover, in India, at least 1,370 girls are aborted every day. As a comparison, some 250 Indians die every day in road accidents. Terrorists killed about six people, on an average, every day in 2009. In the last two decades of economic progress, 10 million girls have died as such in India.
    SHAME ON INDIA AND ITS BARBARIC AND MEDIEVAL CULTURE !!!
    Indians have killed more human beings (girls particularly) than Al Qaeda and Talibans put together.

    October 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    @Jeff Frank:

    Anytime, dude! 😉

    October 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    @JIF:

    That *is* sick.
    Mom must have had naughty movies lying around.

    October 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leeintulsa

    @banasy: Reminded me of kinisen.. "'hon? Hon? It's the guys.. They just called to say they're all takin' theirs.. Just wonderin if i can take mine.. Cuz they're all takin' theirs.. Alright, i'll tell em.' 'yeah, she said no f kin way, the dick stays here.'

    'do me a favor? You see me out bringing in groceries, mowin the yard or something? Kill me. Shoot me in the head, run me over with a car, whatever it takes, i live in h e l l, I LIVE IN H E L L!

    October 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
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