285 Indian girls shed ‘unwanted’ names
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285 Indian girls shed ‘unwanted’ names

A  MUMBAI, India (AP) — More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean “unwanted” in Hindi have chosen new names for a fresh start in life.

With names like “Nakusa” or “Nakushi” — or “unwanted” in Hindi — they grew up understanding they were a burden to families that preferred boys in Maharashtra state.

The issue came to a focus as this year’s census showed the state had a gender ratio of 883 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 7 — down from 913 to 1,000 a decade ago and below the national average of 914 to 1,000.

Hundreds hoping to fight gender inequality and discrimination gathered Saturday for a ceremony to rename 285 girls in the state’s rural Satara district. One 15-year-old chose the new name “Ashmita,” meaning “very tough” in Hindi.