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By Tanya Yadav

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” 
—Jane Austen

Women often debate about their freedom, independence, and right to choice. Even the feminists talk about women having an identity which is different than being someone’s wife, daughter, sister, and so on.

However, they usually fail when it comes to keeping their maiden name after marriage. Maiden name is the name which a person has since their birth. This name has a surname which is usually due to the family in which they are born in.

But, most of the women change their name after marriage and take up surname of their husband. This might be their own choice, but they definitely lack stand to resist this ‘societal hypocrisy’ which gives several logics to make a woman change her name. They might say that this is about diversity as only those women change their surname who have a different one. But, this actually kills the whole idea of diversity. This is many a times justified by saying that it helps women to get legal benefits, because laws are framed in this very patriarchal society.

The reach of this custom becomes more evident when ‘influential women’ also follow it. This is not even limited to India, it is spread across the world. Here are some examples :-

  • Kareena Kapoor Khan – She was married to Saif Ali Khan in 2012 who obviously didn’t changed his name. She is currently hosting ‘What women want’ on 104.8Ishq. She even interview Sunny Leone on making life choices. Kareena probably made her choice by taking her husband’s surname.
  • Priyanka Chopra Jonas- Her marriage become headlines in Indian as well as American media. However, she changed her name to Priyanka Chopra Jonas “by choice”. Just like Saif, her husband also didn’t bother to change his name to Nick Chopra.
  • Tina Dabi Khan- She was an inspiration for many ater she married Athar Aamir Khan. The marriage was in between two different religions due to which both of them faced criticisms. Still, here also the girl chose to change her name while her husband refrained from it.

There are obviously some exceptions like Anushka and Deepika who didn’t bothered to take up their husband’s surname after marriage. Surnames are nothing to be a ‘badge of honour‘; be it of your or your husband’s. Still, the custom of women to change their name is in itself a sign of that patriarchal society where women mostly married off to man’s house even if they live in a nuclear family.

Still, the custom of women to change their name is in itself a sign of that patriarchal society where women mostly married off to man’s house even if they live in a nuclear family.

They adopt a name, a lifestyle and a culture which is completely new to them. Very few dare to challenge this. Afterall, why will they do so if they are brought up in a society which is okay with it?