Surname: To change or not to change, is the question ?


Surname : It is a name added to a given name or is added to the personal name.

Historically, it is a very recent development which sees its genesis in the medieval times when the surname was basically to define the occupation or area of residence of a person.

Now the surname can be placed before or after the given name depending upon which culture you are coming from so in North India the same gets placed after the given name while in South India the same is written before the given name.

Whatever it may be, a name is a name is a name and as Shakespeare rightly said, ‘Whats in a name ? A rose with any other name would smell as sweet.’

Cant help but remember the great Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Golmaal where Utpal Dutt had Name as a serious criteria in his quest to find ‘asli heera’ (real diamond). No Sir, a Vicky would never do for him, he needed both the names and then comes a guy with his name which included his name, his father’s name, his Grand father’s name and his village’s name ( Remember Hema Malini was from his village). Finally Ram Prasad Dashrath Prasad Sharma gets selected and thus ensues the fun!

So why am I going on and on about Surname here. Oh well! as part of our bitching, pardon my french, ‘bickering’ session on Whatsapp, the topic of discussion was Surnames. A dear friend got married and added her husband’s name and as a result all of us were either having fun at her cost or being true feminists and telling her that your name is your name and therefore, the husband’s name is not required…

To make peace with her husband, she decided to ‘add’ the surname and after much gyan making rounds back and forth, a consensus was arrived at that even though most of us married females, have not added our husband’s surname as part of our personal name in all the official records, but facebook has rescued us by providing that desired ego boost to our so called ‘superior spouses’.

After carefully observing the many friends who are married and belong to my generation (give or take 5 years) we have more or less retained our surnames, sort of added our hubby’s name on social network as a peacekeeping effort and still continue to put our Father/Mother’s name instead of our Husband’s name in the forms. And the logic is .. well we have only one father/mother but one never knows how many husbands one will have in a life time 😉

Therefore, to change or not to change, is the question?


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