Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Nakusha. She was beautiful and bright, healthy and full of life. But though she looked fine on the outside, she was sad—very sad—on the inside. Nakusha tried everything she could think of to make herself feel better—dancing, joking, smiling, working hard, being helpful, looking beautiful. But nothing helped. She still felt depressed and worthless. And no wonder, because in Hindi, nakusha means “unwanted.”
Incredibly this is a common name for girls all across India. These girls’ families bestow the name, it would seem, in order to express their regret at ever having daughters. A few years ago, 285 girls—all named Nakusha—gathered in central India for a renaming ceremony. Each girl chose a new name. Some picked Vaishalie, which means “prosperous, beautiful, and good.” Others adopted the name of a Bollywood star. One girl called herself Ashmita, which means “rock hard” or “very tough,” perhaps a reflection of what she needed to be in order to survive in a society that devalues women and girls.1
I remember an experience I had in China when I was adopting one of my daughters. An attractive, well-dressed Chinese woman came up to me and asked me point-blank, with a look of complete puzzlement, “You mean you want to adopt a girl?” She couldn’t believe that, given the choice, anyone would prefer a girl to a boy.
How can the world ever be at peace when attitudes like these prevail? As Christians, we know we are all cherished by the Father who loves us. Realizing who we are, let’s stand up for others, linking arms with those who are doing something to elevate the status of women and children throughout the world. Commit today to volunteering your time and money to an organization that is spreading the Good News and improving the lives of the most vulnerable people on earth.
- Associated Press, “285 Indian Girls Shed ‘Unwanted’ Names,” USA Today, last modified October 23, 2011, accessed May 25, 2017, https://www.yahoo.com/news/285-indian-girls-shed-unwanted-names-122551876.html.