Name Games

Greetings, My Dear Blogworms,

Hope the first quarter of the year is treating you well and before I start sounding as if I am about to give you a business report, let me assure that I am not! 🙂

This may be a recent phenomenon but it is something that baffles and perplexes me to no end. Many of my female connections who have gotten married now keep their maiden surnames with their marital surnames, BUT without hyphenating the surnames! This is what I mean when titling this post as ‘Name Games’!

So, to clarify (with a fictitious example), let’s say a woman called Bridget Jones marries someone called Mark Darcy and she chooses to keep her maiden name but add her husband’s surname to it, like this: Bridget Jones-Darcy.

This is perfectly understandable and logical.

What isn’t understandable or logical – for me – is when women do NOT hyphenate their surnames. I have observed this to happen more with my Indian contacts, so it may be a cultural difference, but I can only assume this.

Let me use my name as an example. Before I got married, my surname was Mukherjee. When I got married, I chose to take up my husband’s surname without any of this hyphenating business. My first name is long enough as it is.

So, from Sudakshina Mukherjee, I became Sudakshina Bhattacharjee, because if I were to indulge in such hyphenating shenanigans, my name would be an object of ridicule, as it would read: Sudakshina Mukherjee Bhattacharjee.

For foreigners, this would be an unnecessary pickle, because they would think ‘Mukherjee’ is my middle name. But it isn’t and I don’t have a middle name! As I live and work outside of India, I would have to explain this a zillion times to foreigners, before we have even exchanged the initial customary pleasantries.

As you can see, I can certainly do without this additional botheration!

Even in India, where we do tend to have lengthy nomenclatures and we are generally okay with it, I fail to see the point that is made by having two surnames.

Other fictitious examples to elucidate what I mean are:

Soma Banerjee Chatterjee

Neeta Pillai Sharma

Malini Mitra Guha

If you are trying to take a feminist stance in acknowledging both your maiden name and married name, fair enough. Just use a hyphen in between them, like this:

Soma Banerjee-Chatterjee

Neeta Pillai-Sharma

Malini Mitra-Guha

I hope the addition of a hyphen between the surnames makes it clear why it is needed.

Otherwise, I cannot imagine what such women do when it comes to real-life matters, such as passports, etc? Do they use the two-surname approach then or is this essentially for making themselves findable online?

The mind truly does boggle… are such name games necessary?

[DISCLAIMER: The mention of the above names are purely for the purposes of illustration and any resemblance to real identities is purely coincidental]


  • Sudakshina Bhattacharjee Posted 4 March 2015 9:45 pm

    Oh no, the hyphen is for everyone, I’m pretty certain. 🙂

  • Santosh Namby Posted 4 March 2015 5:50 pm

    Lol, lots of people including my wife do it without the hyphen 🙂
    I thought hyphens are only for British royalty 😛

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