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To Change or not to Change

on April 26, 2012

Me and my girl friends have been brainstorming over this issue for some time now, whether or not to change the maiden surname after marriage. Till few years back, this was not an issue at all. It was pretty obvious for girls to change their surnames after marriage. It is a norm, something mandatory. But over the recent past, there has been a change, within me and the thought process of girls at large. It is no more mandatory for a girl to give up their maiden surname and embrace that of her husband’s. She can very well carry on with her own surname and be very much married and committed to her spouse.

When I was a kid, I wished that when I get married, I get a good surname, better than my present one. So much so, that one of my grand moms once joked, don’t fall in love with a guy who has a lousy surname or you have to bear the brunt too!But now, my surname has been a part of me, it is not about good or bad. It is just me!

By the time I reached college, I read more and my eyes of wisdom had opened a bit more than before. With debates & discussions in classrooms and outside made the idea of my identity even stronger. I am bearing a certain identity for over 20 years now. How can I just shun that and replace it with another one? Does changing my surname bears the certificate of love for my husband and my new family? If that is so, then why can’t my husband and new family prove their love for me and just let me carry on with my maiden surname?

What irks me most is, the husbands can go ahead and enjoy their established identity whereas the girls have to undergo the process of changing surname, altering certificates, bank accounts, credit cards and God knows so many things! One solution for me is, no matter how wishy washy it might seem to be, the husband and wife can add each others surname at the end of their respective names. For example, few years back, a Bengali model cum actress got married and her surname became Mitra Haq (maiden and husband’s surname respectively), and her husbands surname was changed to Mitra Haq too! I found that quite amazing & cool!

I have seen some ladies from South who use their husband’s first name as surname. For example, Vinita Raman or Geetha Suresh. But hardly do guys carry their wife’s name as their second name, such as Raman Vinita or Suresh Geetha. It would have been so cool na!

I don’t have any issue with women shunning their own surname and accepting their husband’s one. It is after all their personal choice. I have a little bit more respect for those who keep their own second name and add the newly acquired surname at the end of their names. But the women who are capable of maintaining their original identity even after marriage, I have huge respect for them & salute to them for being able to do it.

The husbands deserve a large part of kudos for letting their wife be! Without their support, it would be pretty difficult. Be it maintaining their identity or carrying on with their careers, support from husbands and in laws is a huge back up.

I wish to write Sreetama Datta even after marriage. Even if I get married to a guy whose surname is Dutta (same surname with just a different vowel), I would not change it. I would really appreciate my would be husband (whoever the unlucky person is!) and his family to wholeheartedly support me on this. Kindly understand, it is not an act to malign the tradition or culture or the family values, nor would I disrespect your family in any way, but it is a small role I would play for myself to let me be. What I strongly feel is, this is a very personal choice and decision and this much should be respected. After all, what’s in a name, err, surname?! 





6 responses to “To Change or not to Change

  1. There was an article on this a year or so back after Sanjay Dutt publicly criticised his sister’s decision to use her maiden name after marriage. The author quoted examples where men had actually taken on the wife’s surname. And it also spoke about how it is more convinient to just stick to your maiden name, especially if you have already started working and have made a name for yourself.

  2. R's Mom says:

    Yep I know of loads of ladies in the current office of mine who are Marathis and their first name has also changed…loads of confusion with their names..for ages I went around searching for a Yogini only to realise that she was actually renamed to Yashodhara…I went about searching on the floors, in the email address…crazy it was..there was no one called Yogini it seems!!

    Even the Sindhis have this custom of changing names if I am not wrong..

    In my case, I changed my surname..and I was an idiot! I accept it…its totally not worth it..the hazar problems with documents, banks, passport, yaada yaada..crazy it was…I always advice newly married or to be married women NOT to change their surnames if possible! Its a pain honestly 🙂

    Here is to Mr.Sreetama Datta (whoever he is :))

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