reasons for changing names

4 Reasons Why People Change Their Names in India

Often people believe in the proverb that, “What is in a Name?” On the other hand, there are many people who get very offended when someone addresses them by a wrong name or even a wrong pronunciation of their names. Especially, when one has undergone a name change and a person calls them by their previous names, they tend to get very offended.

Regardless of the kind of person you are, that is, regardless of whether or not you think your name forms an important part of your identity, the laws of our country certainly value the name of a person as far as the legal existence of that person is concerned. This article seeks to throw light on some of the major reasons why people prefer to change their names in India.

reasons for changing names

India is a country where names are given way more importance than is given in other countries. Couples who are expecting a baby spend a substantial amount of their time deciding the prospective names for their baby. A different set of names is decided for a girl and a boy separately. The other members of the family, especially the elderly of the household also tend to place a lot of importance on the names of their grandchildren. These actions are often guided by superstitions.

In fact, not just the members of the family, but, sometimes, people from outside the family are consulted for keeping the perfect names for their children. These outside people are often priests upon whom the members of the family place their beliefs and faith. The priest, based on the day, time and place in which the baby was born, suggests an appropriate name based on the baby’s horoscope and decides a name most suitable, for him or her. The main aim of this ordeal is to keep the negative energies and bad luck away from the child.

Therefore, in a country, where, the initial process of keeping the names is given so much importance, shall definitely place a lot of significance in name changes during the course of life. There could be various reasons why a person would have to change his or her name during the person’s lifetime.

A major community that changes names in India is that of the womenfolk of the nation. According to the customary practices of many countries, the women, or more aptly put, the daughter-in-law to be are required to change their name after the marriage. The new family of the women, that is, the relatives of her husband often prefer to keep the name of their choice for their new daughter-in-law.

Though the practice might seem to be very patriarchal and misogynistic, there are a lot of women, who do voluntarily, choose to follow this tradition. Nonetheless, this practice is only restricted to very few communities. However, unlike the former practice of changing the first name after marriage, almost all communities in India, do have the tradition of requiring their daughters-in-law to take up the surname of their husband after their marriage.

Some women, who are unwilling to completely let go of their maiden surnames, have modified this custom a little bit. Instead of completely dropping the surname taken after their fathers they add the surname of their husband to their maiden, thus making their name one containing two surnames, one taken after their father (usually the former in the order in which the two surnames occur), and second, and the second surname, taken after their husband.

Regardless of which form of the tradition, the woman follows, the end result remains the same and that is that there is a resultant change in her name. In all the above-mentioned case scenarios, the woman will have to undergo the full procedure for the name change.

Another major reason for people opting for a name change in India is that of religious and superstitious beliefs. A majority population of India believes in astrology and numerology, the basic premise for which theories is that the spelling of your name determines your life path and good luck. Therefore, in anticipation of a perfect, obstacle-free life, a lot of people who stringently follow numerology, opt for a name change procedure when they turn adults.

For example, a lot of people that presence of double letters in their names, or any other order of occurrence of letters in the name will bring about good luck into their lives, so they change their names. A lot of the celebrities and sports personalities in India have engaged in this kind of name change. Though it is merely a belief, it is a major reason for name change in reason.

Another predominant reason for name change in India is a change of religion. Often people, when they grow up, might tend to be attracted towards a particular religion, different from the religion from which they were born. Therefore, when they change their religion, they also change their name to be reflective of their new religion.

Samuel D'Mello
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