August 24th, 2016
“On December 12,2015, I gave birth to a baby boy. As I was not in India throughout my pregnancy and delivered my baby out of India I already knew it was a boy. But we were indifferent about the gender. All we desired was a healthy child. So before his arrival, I and my husband had already decided his first name. Choosing his name was very thoughtful and fun process as it was the first gift which we would give him and which he will carry throughout his life.
We wanted a name which reflect and remind us of our ultimate aim in life so we named him Nirvaan as our ultimate aim in life is to achieve extreme happiness and to be free from the struggle of birth and death. His name was also inspired by the life of Lord Mahaveer and Goutam Buddha. We also decided that our baby being a boy doesn’t mean we will burden him with all the responsibilities which according to society a boy is bound to do. Our job will be limited to give him unconditional love, gender-indifferent upbringing, friendly and healthy atmosphere for his overall development, opportunities to know and develop his skills, ability to choose and achieve his goals, teach him to value things and not their price, make him health conscious, to love each and every living being on this earth and be a good human being.
Finally at 8.21 PM of December 12, 2015, I heard my baby crying for the first time and my eyes got wet. After a minute, a sister brought him near me to see his face and I kissed on his reddish cheeks. As my c-sec was still going on, they took him out to meet his daddy and dadi. Everything went well for the next four days of our stay in the hospital. To complete the discharge formalities, we were asked to fill a form which contained the details like baby name, father’s name, mother’s name etc. so that hospital administration can issue baby birth certificate.
We filled the form and gave it to the admin. After a while, they called my husband to check the form and confirm if the details given are correct. He checked the form and it was perfectly okay. Hospital admin asked whether he was sure he wanted this to be the baby’s name because once the doctor sign the certificate it won’t be changed. He said that he was 100 per cent sure. After a while, all formalities were completed and we left the hospital with our little bundle of joy.
Days and nights passed loving, cuddling, feeding the baby and understanding the new job of a parent. After a month, it was time to visit India, we applied for Nirvaan’s passport. But again, we were asked the same question “is this your baby name?”. We encountered same question from few of our family members and friends when we reached India. Some said what we did is not right, if possible change his name now also, some said as a gesture it is good but in future he may face some problems, it will be difficult for him to inherent your family property, who will be your successor, who will further the clan, the funniest was will his wife be able to accept it, a friend of mine said I have been married for only 3 months and my wife surname is changed why you did not change yours it’s been too long and they had many more logics against our baby name. Their all logics sounded irrational to me.
For next few days, our baby boy name was a subject of discussion for everyone. It was hard for few people to accept that we were constantly beaking the customs of society one by one. First of all, I did not change my surname after my marriage I still carry the same identity and now we have named our child after my surname that it “Nirvaan KHAMESRA” instead of his father surname “Khabia”. For us, it makes no difference whether it is Nirvaan Khamesra or Nirvaan Khabia, for us our baby is just Nirvaan, who will stand out in this world based on his capabilities and abilities. If allowed, we would have named him only Nirvaan but to fulfill the legal formalities we were asked his last name so we choose my surname because legally there are no restrictions on using mother’s surname as child’s last name. I am glad that I have got the family which value every person whether it’s a boy or girl and do not burden themselves and anyone associated with them to the meaningless customs of society. The love and compassion that my baby is getting from my in-laws are same which he would have received if he had been named after them. Moreover, they did not even once questioned why we choose my surname as they believe every individual has his own identity and nothing is forever. A big thanks to them for keeping life so simple.
Indian society is greatly obsessed with the desire to have at least one male child in the family. This strange desire to have at least one male child is the root cause of female foeticide, unequal sex ratio and also one of the reasons that India is second highest populated country. More heartening is that even most educated and learned persons of society also falls prey to these illusions and only a very small section of highly elevated people believe in having only one or two children irrespective of gender. Indian families give extra importance to male child according to them, only a male child can further the clan, the family property will remain in the family, will be their budhape ka sahara, will give fire to their bodies or bury them, he will be livelihood earner for family.
I feel pity for the boys; they are expected to take all these responsibilities whether they want or not and irrespective of their capabilities. Sometimes I feel pity for girls also because they are not given any opportunities to take the responsibility of which they are capable. Hopefully, this one small step of ours will awake the society, widen their narrow thinking, make them learn to respect both genders, help to eradicate gender-based discrimination and will free them from the clutches of ruthless customs and pressures of society which do not value and respects female gender.
This is my answer to everyone who time and again question us why we named our baby after his mother’s last name instead of father’s last name. Indifferent to name my baby boy is still a grandchild to my in-laws and I am his mother only not father.”
Submitted By – Punita Khameshra