When I Chose To Keep My Maiden Name After Marriage

Posted: April 14, 2016

Keeping the maiden name after marriage is common these days. It can have hilarious consequences in a world unable to come to terms with this choice of women.

After my marriage, I had to take up numerous life changing decisions, like compromising on the extended weekend sleep hours, cooking up just a single meal on a Sunday and not washing my clothes for an entire month.

But there was one thing I never had to decide about, at least in my mind. It was changing my surname to my husband’s. However, that came with its own highs and lows.

Thanks to a long ancestral lineage, we have a slightly controversial surname for a Hindu household – Khan. As a kid I have been a victim to various awkward situations all thanks to the ‘Khan’.

Well, after the wedding almost everyone including my parents and my caring husband thought I would change my maiden name to save myself from the numerous embarrassing situations. So they didn’t bother to ask.

Just a week after the wedding, my Dad brought me a bank account opening paper where he had carefully written out my name in block letters with my husband’s surname!

The husband signed off thank-you notes on social media as Mr & Mrs Singh !

It was a little difficult to bring my family to terms with a decision I never took. And now, about three years later, I have had to face many hilarious situations.

Once an interviewer asked me, “You have a fancy Hindu name but a Muslim surname. So you are a Hindu, now married to a Muslim. It must have been hard to convince the families?” (Whatever happened to secularism)

One day a wedding invite arrived addressed to Mr & Mrs Khan. My poor husband didn’t know how to react.

My Adhaar Card arrived identifying me to be my father’s wife!

A couple of weeks back, we were travelling abroad. While at the airline’s counter we were bombarded with questions. The airlines personnel was audacious enough to ask me why my surname wasn’t same as my husband’s. He even went on to demand our marriage registration certificate. When we showed him a photocopy, he wanted to see the original.

All said and done, however controversial my name is, that is who I am. It is my identity since birth and till death do us apart…

Image source: Indian wedding by Shutterstock.

During most of the time in the day I work with a media agency and

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Comments

2 Comments


  1. I have also not changed my surname and we decided to give my maiden surname to our son. Recently one school denied admission to my son because he has my surname not his father’s. They refused to accept his passport and adhaar card with my maiden surname.

    • Swatilekha Khan -

      Hi Surabhi. What happened with you is very unfortunate. But according to the Indian Penal code, you can keep your maiden name post marriage. It is only customary and not obligatory.

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