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285 girls make fresh start in India by changing their names from 'Unwanted'

Names are such a powerful thing. So many people who name a child stew over the decision since there are so many things to consider: Does the name lend itself to teasing in school? Is it a strong name? How does it sound with the last name? Will the name age well? How sad that a couple would permanently label a person with what they were feeling about her arrival if the child was unwanted.

On a more personal note, my father and his brother felt so strongly about the last name that they carried from their stepfather who adopted them and who was later quite abusive, that they changed their last name when they entered college. They did not wish to offend either set of grandparents who was related by blood by not choosing their last name, so they chose something that wasn't even listed in their local phone book and that sounded strong to them, so Cannon it was. I have to say I think they did a good job, as when I married, I decided to keep it, not because it was some great feminist statement, but I just because I like my name.

Liking your name is important for your self-confidence, so good for these young ladies.

According to AP:

In shedding names like "Nakusa" or "Nakushi," which mean "unwanted" in Hindi, some girls chose to name themselves after Bollywood stars like "Aishwarya" or Hindu goddesses like "Savitri." Some just wanted traditional names with happier meanings, such as "Vaishali" or "prosperous, beautiful and good."

"Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy," said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. She chose the new name "Ashmita," which means "very tough" or "rock hard" in Hindi.

Read the full story here.