Male Patriarchy in Modern India : Reclaiming Identity of women!


Modern world where science and technology is taking its peak with different inventions and innovations, a society where women are taking steps ahead of men in every sector, providing bigger contributions by handling both homes and work and creating a new era with their knowledge and experience. On the contrary, is this society or system providing equal stature or name to these women? Let us compare the treatment of women from ancient India with this modern society in this article.

In these modern days, while looking at the beautiful embroidery like ancient Indian culture, the threads of tradition have woven a mesmerising narrative that often overshadows the independence of women in that era and glorifies the textiles that are crafted by the men of that era!

This article is not about equality or women empowerment that the world is blabbering as social issue! It is all about a great cultured country's system not abolishing the practice of women adopting their father's or husband's names in official documents reflects an age-old patriarchy that has overshadowed the individuality of women.

Name, that stands as an identity of person in this worlds billions of crowds! In the sophisticated drapery of Indian culture, the threads of tradition have woven a complex narrative that often downgrades the independence of women. The practice of women adopting their father's or husband's names in every official documents reflects an age-old patriarchy that has overshadowed the individuality of women.

In this exploration, we dug into the historical roots of this patriarchal naming convention, the emotional impact it bears on women, and the urgent need for change. Additionally, we will highlight a crucial aspect of ancient Indian culture, where men were recognized by their mother's names, emphasizing the stark departure from these principles under foreign influences.

Ancient Indian Culture: Recognizing man by the woman's names

Before discussing the tile topic, let us acknowledge the ancient Indian culture that significantly followed the unique practice of linking women's identities solely to their relationships with men. Where the entire world was demotivating women’s identity and her existence in their history, our country’s history worshipped women in different forms. Away from current norms, in the ancient days unmarried man was traditionally recognized by his mother's name and married man was named after his wife’s name. It was all about respecting the maternal lineage by showcasing the importance of the mother-son relationship as well as celebrating and emphasizing the marriage.

For example, iconic figures from Indian mythology, such as Lord Krishna referred as 'Devki Nandan' or 'Yashoda Nandan,' signifying his connection to his mothers, Devki and Yashoda. Similarly, Lord Ram was known as 'Kaushalya Nandan,' and Laxman as 'Sumitra Nandan,' highlighting their maternal lineage. The Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharata, were identified as 'Kunti Putras,' highlighting their connection to their mother, Kunti. When these men were married they were recognised with their wife’s names, like for example, ‘Sita Ram’, ‘Uma Mahesh or Gouri Shankar’ , ‘Rukmini Vallabh’, ‘Laxmi Narayan’ and many more.

This naming convention not only reflects a harmonious balance between male and female energies but also underscores the significance of recognizing women as equal partners in divine unions. Ancient Indian culture thus celebrated the complementary nature of both genders, acknowledging the unique contributions of women to the familial and societal fabric.

Moreover, in that era women were independent to choose their partner so only ‘Swayamvar’ (Woman’s independence to choose her life partner) culture was there in our country. The highly educated and knowledgeable women like Lopamudra, Gargi etc., were teachers and written multiple scriptures and even discussed on various scriptures with the great men of that time.

The Interruption of Male Patriarchy: A Historical Shift

The country that always held women above men, has seen a great fall of its culture in the impact of outsiders rules. These outsiders knew that the back bone of this rich country is its great culture and education system, as a result they simply looted our damaged all the scriptures and age old tradition and applied their system and laws on the innocent people of this country and ruined eveything! Thus, they were successful in the imposition of patriarchal norms and legal systems that favoured male lineage, the traditional recognition of men by their mother’s or wife’s names gradually eroded. Instead, a new practice emerged, reinforcing the subordination of women by tying their identities exclusively to their fathers or husbands.

Impact on Women: Identity Stripped Away

The consequences of this historical shift are acutely felt in present-day society, where women find their identities eclipsed by their relationship with men. Many women who work hard to build their and their children’s identity but they are always stuck with their father or husband’s names and their children referred with their father’s names!

A woman, who continuously contributing by managing the households work, finances by earning side by side or creating savings from monthly budget, giving birth to children by risking her life and raising them by sacrificing everything in her life to build a beautiful next generation has no identity in the world! And a man who just earns bread for the family (shockingly most of the them don’t even know which grade their children are studying) and relax all the time at home, takes all the credit in the society for everything that is made by his woman!

Most of the women (even some men) want to use their mother’s names after their names in their legal documents, and some women wants to keep only their name along with surnames by skipping the middle name but in many parts of the country it is mandatory to keep either father or husband’s name in the middle name in all the legal documents! Such system increased emotional toll on many women immensely, as their individual achievements, education, and personal growth are often subsumed by the patronymic labels on their identity proofs!

Isn’t it responsibility of the society and leaders of the country to think and make changes in the constitution of this independent country even after more than 7 decades of independence and apply the rules that it is not only the father’s name but a person can use her/his mother’s name or no middle name in their documents, a parent can write child’s mother’s name in certificates?


As we navigate the complexities of identity in modern India, it is crucial to revisit our roots and question the patriarchal norms that have soaked into our great cultural fabric. The historical recognition of men and women by their mother's names and the respect given to women's choices in ancient traditions stand as powerful reminders of a more democratic past.

In reimagining our societal norms, we must shed the ruins of male patriarchy that have concealed the unique identities of women. The call for women to have the freedom to choose their names on official documents is not just a plea for symbolic change; it is a demand for the restoration of autonomy, equality, and a return to the principles that once celebrated the diverse identities of both men and women in ancient Indian culture.


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