ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Forgotten Nakoshis of Satara

A Renaming Programme Examined

In Maharashtra’s Satara district, female children, named Nakoshi (translated as “unwanted”), were renamed in 2011 in a public ceremony that drew global attention. The paper revisits this event after a decade to study the developments in due course of time. Apart from the initial feeling of positivity, the renaming ceremony hardly changed the lives of the girls. The paper argues that more than the tokenism of name change, these forgotten Nakoshis need significant and effective measures of reform to break free from the shackles of the patriarchal cultural practices and the subsequent sufferings. Greater sustained state support, through educational and socio-economic welfare schemes, could perhaps have carved a better future for the girls.

The preference for a male child has, for long, been prevalent in some regions of South Asia. This cultural bias is prevailing in much of India, and so also in Maharashtra where sons are preferred over daughters for economic, social, and religious reasons. Daughters are seen as an economic burden especially where the dowry culture is rampant (Miller 1997; Gupta 1987; Basu 1992, 1999; Kishor 1993; Arold et al 2002; Sekher and Hatti 2010). Hence, a dispreference for daughters also leads to violence in the form of extreme acts like female foeticide (Bhatia 2007). Another aspect of this dispreference is reflected in the unfair practice when a family names their daughter as Nakusa/Nakoshi literally meaning “unwanted” in Marathi.

Cultural Politics of Naming

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Updated On : 2nd Aug, 2023
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