August 23, 2006

Father / Husband's name

I hate every form on this earth that asks me to fill up Father / Husband's name.

There are two things here..
one, being asked to choose between father and husband irks me. I certainly dont want to disown my father by striking his name, just because I got married.

And another is the MCP tinted question that has almost become the correct thing to ask.
I'm no big time feminist wanting 33% reservation. But I strongly feel against these 'small' stuffs that society is made of. Let me see, how many guys fill their wife's name if at all the choice is Father /Wife's name. Wonder why mother is not considered as an entity at all.

Another thing that irritates me to the core is calling the wives as Mrs.Hari..Mrs.Kumar.. as though the wives are prized trophies of the husbands. Talk abt individuality..these womenfolk dont even have a name of their own.


Vidya Ganesh said...


I can relate to your post very well. :)).

You know what? This formality is like some of those family/cultual "rituals" we all continue to follow despite the fact that they have no relevance in today's world.

Somebody would have come up with these questions in the days when women were dependent on men... father/husband financially. I think the same continues...:)))...though it doesn't have any relevance today.

Jaya said...

People were actually surprised when I call my husband venkat by his name, especially his relatives.

Still many ladies think it is an offence to call husbands by name. Since we are educated, we are able to atleast think on these lines. Most of the women out there, donot care for any of these and just stay in the kitchen as a unpaid slave.

Hope these customs and formalities come to an end when the % of the split of the ladies between the literate and illerate reduces there by bringing a revolution in basic thinking itself.

Mukund said...

I'm just guessing that addressing wives as Mrs.Husband's name is just because the ladies name might not be known. It is just that.

Arjun Amma said...

Valid concern.Surprisingly only in India we follow this.When i was filling my immigration form of Australia,i was surprised as they validate only your name and your father's and mother's.Spouse are hardly in many picture.(may be thats not a unique key for a foreigner...lighter side).Just wondering whether we can do something tochange this pattern.Any thoughts

Anonymous said...

Carrying Fathers/husband's name as lastname probably explains why it is being asked in most of the forms. But addressing someone only as Mrs.Husb-Name is something that irks me too... as if the woman is almost a non-entity but for her husband.
- Me

Meera said...

I think it's jus matter of time for us to withstand.. It's generally the public sector / govt agencies that ask for the option between Father and Husband. Any instn / orgn with some international sense do not ask for. In PAN application form, i found only the father's name appearing .. pl note.. it's equally applicable to guys too.. and there is a clarificatory clause saying even the married woman has to mention only the father's name.. (why even father's name? may be for traceability.. huh? wonder how?) Is it not a healthy change? PAN, i suppose, helps in unique identity these days wherever u go..
In the passport they ask for Father's name, Mother's name and the spouse's name.. no differentiation between male and female..
In Kerala, gals and guys have both their father's and mother's name as one's initials (even there father's name precedes mother's name .. may be because of age seniority :-)..)
The problem can be attributed to two groups -
One, the local / regional govt. sectors who keep asking us for choice. Here this is more due to lack of initiative for change in the bureaucratic setup.. it could even be due to that preprinted stationery designed some decades ago.. and none bothers to redesign..
Two, the women themselves.. I found many ladies found it comfortable (does it look stylish?)to have their father's / husband's name attached to their names.. even the ladies who talk of women liberty...
Still I feel it's only some time to go from now when all these would become past.. till then.. patience sugs..
At this moment hats off to Ms Indra Nooyi .. who takes over Pepsico Inc as CEO. She is an Indian-born, being ranked as No. 11 in Fortune's list of the most powerful women (and among men?) in business.. An Indian-born woman enters the list of leading women in corporate America..
Now..does it raises another question?.. Why such talents cannot be retained, tapped and used in our own country??

celina said...

This has been a pressing issue for a long time which needs to be addressed.
I am strongly against changing the intials after marriage and woman been referred
as n so. Let her be addressed by her Name.

We have an individuality and always society treats us as an complementary
being for a man making us dependent on them saying ur mere existence is just for Him.I feel this basic ideology followed must be uprooted.

In fact the very word WOMAN pronounced says what we are like (WO - Who Man) Who a man is? She is the one who brings an identity for him.

I wish atleast the nexgen Mothers inculcate the importance of woman for their sons coz this is the Best way to
eradicate all the social issues faced by Woman for many generations.

Akila said...


Your concerns are very much valid.
I would say, these are just remnants of the baseless practices which were used to imprison women in the kitchens and restrict their independence. So, the days are not far, when even these will vanish, just like the others :-)

sugan said...

Hmmm lot of views. Glad that u all agree with me. I'm on the move..lemme post my comments on monday..
Spouse are hardly in many picture.(may be thats not a unique key for a foreigner...lighter side)- Really great

sharadan said...

Was pondering about exactly the same issue only yesterday when I had to fill up a form in a hospital which asked for my father/husband's name. May be it means to give your husband's name in case your father's no more. Any case, it's not just the choice that irks me. Its the fact that for all her efforts in bringing up the child, the mother is considered such a nonentity! Oh, of course, poor soul, she needs to be identified by her husband herself!

And have you noticed that it's not just others who address women as ""? In most case's its the women who willingly identify themselves that way. And, don't many of us attach the husband's name to our names after marriage? What do you have to say about that? For all those who argue that this is just a mark of a woman's love for her husband, please show me one loving husband who is willing to attach his wife's name to his and be addressed so.

sugan said...

Rightly said Sharada, the woman folk a certain extent lack a sense of self respect and pride in themselves. I wish we start giving both mother's and father's name as initials to the children. I just know of one guy who has his mother's name as middle name..He is Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

And Meera, hats off to Mrs. Indra for having pulled off a great feat.

nalliyakkodan said...

Asking for father's /husband's name would have originated to identify people.In olden days I wonder if women went to work even in so called developed nations(?mentally).Hence the custom of identifying with males.Nowadays woman are on par with men and Mother's name or wife's name may be used.It needs no long discussion.Its just that everyone is busy not noting these changes in the mindset of modern day women.Things would surely change as change only is constant.

Anonymous said...

Well, the educated minds sharing their thoughts. Good, try and understand the difference between being educated and literate. You might have come across in some old movies (Padikkatha Medai).

Everybody appreciates the design of a building, appliance or instrument given our limited knowledge about it. However we find newer models. So was this society designed and for people to understand the best practices were collated in the form of ways of living (also can be called as religion)

I'm sure in the yester years women had called their husbands' by their names. When she did so they was a joy in both faces do you all enjoy that today.

Just like any context that can be discussed this can be a long one too. Observe that you we today inherently lack discipline by not being able to follow such practices and call ourselves educated.

Happy Living.

Suresh N said...

Sugan, your post is great but i disagree that it takes off a woman's identity. Even men are addressed as Mr.Mathur or Mr.Shinde when their actual names are Ashok Mathur and Abhay Shinde. It's an etiquette that many follow even in the west(whom we copy). About the Father/Husband thing, it is also one form of verifying whether you are married or a spinster(have you thought abt it in this way). All said and done, I too support women equality and stuff and my wife still has father's name suffixed :).


Suresh N

sugan said...

I'm asking why it is Mr.Shinde..Mr.Mathur..why not use their mother's name as surname.
And ur argument that it is a way to verify if u r married or single does not hold water. Why do u not ask the same thing (mother / wife's name) to guy to find out the marital status.

And sorry Anon..I didnt get ur point.

S. அருள் குமார் said...

just to share....