By Mayank Jain:
Keeping the whole debate about feminism aside, I have a question to ask that’s troubling me for a long time now: Why do all the forms we ever encounter ask only for the fathers’ name? Is having a father so important to a person’s legal existence?
This is the issue we have all dealt with, at some point or the other when our fathers were given more importance than our mothers as if they were the ones who kept us for 9 months and nurtured us day and night. There is no debate on a father’s role in a child’s lifetime but the over emphasis makes me sick.
A friend’s observation forced me to write this post. She is a student of a premier all girls’ college in University of Delhi which is supposed to be the best in India but she found no mention of her mother’s name anywhere in any important document. This is what happens when someone with a single mother decides to fill a form for a public institution: Questions about father and his father are asked again and again until the scars of the past become wounds again. It is indeed a harrowing experience being asked about someone who isn’t in your life anymore and giving no importance to your mother who raised you facing all odds and still never gets to be an important part of the whole process.
The picture of her admit card shows how her identity is based on his father’s name and nobody will ever identify her if she spells out her mother’s name because it’s nowhere in the document:
This came as a stunning revelation to me and it stinks of patriarchy from an institution where every student is female, having the name of your father is of utmost importance. When I dug deep into my pockets and found out my own identification cards from various places, I was in for a surprise.
I looked at my driving license and it had my father’s name with no mention of my mother. The story was same for my college ID card, my library cards as well as my voter ID card and PAN card.
This is a classic example of hypocrisy and lack of empathy from agencies that propagate themselves as against discrimination and inequality. While this deals with emotional and social aspect of having to disclose your father’s name every time you try to get something done but it makes no sense logically too. Everyone can have only one mother while fathers can be possibly more than one.
There is a need to replace that field asking for ‘Father’s name’ with ‘Parent’s Name’ and it should be done as soon as possible to stop victimization of every other child who isn’t aware of or doesn’t want to disclose his fathers’ identity.
Being a girl, my friend wants to see her mother’s name on everything important too and I dream of the day when there won’t be a need for anyone to be ashamed for not having a perfect ancestry and this starts from adding that field for ‘Mother’s Name’.