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End `Nakusha` campaign: Girls no more unwanted

As many as 280 girls were renamed in Satara district as part of the campaign to end the practice to name a girl child as `Nakusha` (unwanted).

Mumbai: As many as 280 girls were renamed in
Satara district on Saturday as part of the administration`s campaign
to end the practice in rural Maharashtra to name a girl child
as `Nakusha` (unwanted).
"The government identified girls named `Nakusha` in Satara
district and organised a renaming ceremony," District
Collector N Ramaswami told agency over phone.

"Some girls were renamed Aishwarya, while others got
names like Pooja, Neeta, Asha. The new names were chosen by
the family, either the parents or in some cases, by the grown
up girls themselves," he said.

The function was organised by the Zilla Parishad (ZP) of
the Western Maharashtra district. NCP MP Supriya Sule was
among those present.

"We identified 280 such names (Nakusha) from school
records," Ramaswami added.

"Zilla Parishad officials had surveyed the district and
decided on the renaming after speaking to the parents. The
officials felt this was a small step towards changing the
mindset in the rural areas," another official said.

In some parts of rural Maharashtra, if a girl is born
when the parents wanted a boy, she is named `Nakusha`. The ZP
undertook a survey and identified such girls, ranging from
infants to 16 years of age.
"Typically, if a rural couple has one or two girls, they
dislike it when their third child also turns out to be a girl.
They then name her `Nakusha`. Other derogatory names given to
girls are `Dagadi` and `Dhondi` which means stone," the
official said.

The ZP is conducting the campaign in association with `Lek
Vachva` (Save The Girl Child) project, which seeks to save the
female foetus from illegal sex determination.

While Patan taluka had the highest number of Nakushas
(92), Koregoan and Wai talukas did not have any. The other
Nakushas were located in Khandala, Phaltan, Khatav, Maan,
Karad, Mahabaleshwar and Jawali areas of the district.

"The name `Nakusha` is discriminatory towards women. It
is a reflection of the patriarchal mindset of society and
indicates the anger of the parents on the birth of a girl
child," NCP MLC Vinayak Mete, who is conducting a campaign
against female foeticide in his native Beed district, said.

"Some of these girls say they feel ashamed whenever their
name is called out in school or social and family gatherings,"
he added.