For as long as civilisation has existed, women have been living as property; born with their father’s name and once married, made to adopt their husband’s. Bearing a man’s “tag” as if they are being passed down from father to husband. It is now expected of a woman to change her last name with no one even questioning the underlying patriarchal ideals. While some sensible men and women today are breaking this old custom, Abhishek Mande has taken gender equality to a whole new level.
After the newly-married couple returned from their honeymoon, Mande told his parents that he will be adopting his wife’s last name. In an interview with Yahoo, Abhishek’s wife Kermin Bhot stated, “My husband and I have an inter-religious marriage. He’s a Hindu, while I’m a Parsi—two communities as far apart as they can get.” She added, “I was raised in a Parsi household in South Mumbai on a staple of American and British pop culture and he was born and raised in the distant suburbs of the city in a middle-class Maharashtrian household.”
Additionally, Kermin is older than her husband. It is the unconventional Indian marriage in every sense. But, owing to Abhishek’s accommodating attitude towards their marriage, the couple was able to push past gender stereotypes.
Abhishek’s groundbreaking step is in light of pushing for equal rights for both men and women. “Even four years after our wedding, his name is a conversation starter. And the conversation almost always veers towards the one topic that we are most passionate about and one that has found itself at the heart of the modern day narrative—choice,” stated Kermin.
The point is not for either gender to feel obligated to change one’s name but to be able to feel free to choose whether or not they should do it.