The Sanjay Dutt controversy is something everyone is talking about. I just want to know why he can’t shut up and stop behaving like a spoilt brat. There is simply no point in discussing whether Priya Dutt should remain Dutt. A woman’s name is her business. She is the only one who has the right to decide what it should be. It’s quite simple you know?
A woman is an individual in her own right. She is not just Mrs. So-an-so or Miss. So-and-so. She is just herself. She has an identity, a job, a passport, a driving license, and maybe even property in her name. It is entirely her right to decide what that name should be. Marriage is something that happens in everyone’s life. I don’t see why that should bring about a major change in identity. Chandni speaks of this issue here. She can’t understand why a woman should undergo a major change in everything she holds close to her heart simply because someone has walked into her life. I agree. Why? Why should I change my name?
Now, before you think I have an attachment to my name, let me clarify. I don’t exactly like my surname. I have no emotional attachment to it. I am Ms. Upendran. Great! But, tomorrow, if I cease to be Ms. Upendran and become Mrs. XYZ…well…ok too. But, whether I stay Ms. Upendran or become Mrs. XYZ is my choice. Right? Why is this so difficult to get? I may choose to keep my maiden name for the convenience it offers. I may also choose to take on my husband’s name because I know it means something to him. But, in a civilized society, I should not have to justify my choices to anyone. I should not have to explain why I retained my maiden name. That’s my business.
Many people, especially women, don’t get this simple thing. A friend from college sent me a friends’ invite on orkut. I didn’t recognise her. The reason is that she had changed not only her surname, but also her first name. And suddenly, I receive a request from someone called ABC DEF while I knew her in college as PQR XYZ. What the hell? How am I supposed to react? When I asked her why she changed her first name, she told me her husband did not like her first name and so she was forced to change it. I have responded to the name Amrutha for the last 26 years. Someone comes along and declares he hates that name and henceforth I should be called Alamelu. And to oblige him, I change it too. What the hell? Where is my individuality? What happens to me, the person? I am someone’s wife, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter-in-law, but me? Ever thought about it?
Sanjay Dutt was only echoing the sentiments of millions of Indians who think the same way. He can be branded an MCP, but we are only fooling ourselves if we believe that he is the only one around. Unfortunately for us, most people think this way. It is a woman’s responsibility to do everything possible to be accepted into the husband’s family. What about the family’s responsibility? Is it not their responsibility too to ensure the new bride does not feel left out? We never talk about it. We don’t have the guts to do it. Because, all said and done, we live in a male dominated society. Whether we like to accept it or not.