On conducting a small survey within my family circle with the issue in hand i.e.
“What happens when a woman retains her maiden surname? Is she defying Hindu tradition or is she practicing self love?”
I received answers to my expectation. The generation gap was clearly seen in the view points.
The elder generation stood with the view point that woman should follow Hindu tradition and not practice self love because this will keep up the system of Hindu tradition. Hence avoiding future commotions in the family with surname as in the kids will not be confused which surname to choose and will have single identity like everyone in the family. The husband’s surname should be given priority because a woman is giving away herself to another man and in order to earn respect from the man’s family and to be valued, a woman should change her maiden surname. Self love is wrong because a woman starts thinking only for herself and not the family.
Thus, creating disturbance in the family peace and not being a typical Hindu wife/mother/daughter in law. Her love should only be towards her husband, husband’s family and the generation to come ahead. Whereas, the young male generation in the family was with the viewpoint that the woman should have the power to make decision for herself regarding her surname, whatever she decides is totally fine with them and they will respect it. The young female generation was neutral and any surname would do for them.
I would love to keep my maiden surname because I believe our name is our virtue. To justify our attachment towards our name we take efforts to build our own identity, the dreams to make our parents proud of us, the feeling of pride when our name is announced with respect on our achievements. How can we let that go and take shelter in our soul mate’s identity?
Shakespeare quoted –
“What’s in a name? That what we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.
But we are humans, we are recognized by our deeds, by a name and our name is our identity that sets us apart from the crowd, makes us an individual. The name with which we struggled and succeeded (before marriage) how can we lose it after getting married? We should worth our name because it has and it will always be with our soul and do its work of giving our soul and deeds an identity.
According to me a woman retaining her maiden surname is not defying Hindu tradition but defying Hindu custom. A custom is something we do out of habit as individuals and a tradition is something that is handed down from generation to generation. Customs are made to be followed and maintain the tradition and beliefs in the society. A custom can be changed and practiced in different ways on family or individual level. Eg: Marriage/to get married is a tradition and a woman changing her maiden surname is a custom. (It depends on the choice of the individual to follow the custom or tradition).
Until now what we have learned is that both men and women are equal and have the freedom to follow their principles. It is also seen in Hindu religion, where both male and female Gods are worshiped with same equality, respect and moreover acceptance of each one’s identity. So if a woman retains her maiden surname after marriage she is practicing self love and maintaining her identity which should be respected and accepted by the society.
After marriage a man takes up extra responsibility, gives love to his newly wedded wife and fulfills all his duties which should be done. He is performing all this without changing his surname from birth. So if the woman is expected to do the same after marriage, why does she have to change her surname? If a man can carry one identity from birth till the end, then why not a woman?
Just because her environment changes physically and emotionally, it does not indicate that to make her “comfortable” or “used to the environment” her maiden surname should also be changed. A woman retaining her maiden surname and practicing self love stands against the inequality in the society. In no way is she not being nurturing and sacrificing or a typical Hindu woman. She still does all her duties and completes her responsibilities with same love and dedication.
Moreover I believe a woman with maiden surname after marriage/a woman practicing self love, shows her love towards herself and the people around her whom she cares about. She is sympathetic and forgiving towards herself and others which is the highest form of self love. She believes in herself and is emotionally balanced and knows herself better. How can a woman with such stability and sense of love not keep her in-laws happy? She would know better what is the value of oneself and how a person should be treated as an individual and be respected for his/her identity. She will take care of her family the way she is towards herself, be considerate, accepting others the same way she accepts herself and would be more matured and positive in her behavior.
Imagine her relation with her husband!! Two different personality accepting each other, both balanced and matured to take each other’s responsibility, not dominant or overpowering, understanding ability more and of course give and take relation of love. How can such a relation between a husband and wife go wrong?
``This is what our society needs to understand and accept and moreover know the fact and have the knowledge about self love and other concepts of life...``
- William Shakespeare’s quote referred from literature (Drama) classroom notes.
- Meaning of Tradition and Custom referred from classroom notes of sociology.
- Understanding of self love from graphology notes and discussion.