Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi is batting on
the side of single moms, and wants passport rules amended so that the
requirement of giving the father’s name is eliminated.
The case (read here) that prompted this request involved one Priyanka Gupta, whose husband apparently deserted her and her daughter when the latter was a baby. Gupta, thus, did not want her ex-husband’s name in the passport, since his memory was painful for both her and her daughter.
There are good reasons for removing a father’s name from a passport, and not-so-good ones too.
The good reason is that it signals patriarchy. If parental names are required, then we should have both the father’s name and the mother’s name as essential for a passport application— or any other document, including income tax returns, for that matter. Having only the father’s name sucks.
The purpose of putting in a parent’s name is to offer additional layers of identity— for there can be several people with similar names and surnames. So arbitrarily removing one name is questionable.
Removing a parent’s name because of painful memories is a not-so-good reason. If this is done in Gupta’s case, where does this stop? What if I don’t like my dad? Should I have his name removed from passport applications?
One way of getting around this problem is to insist on only one parent’s name, but this would make application requirements non-standard. We would get some moms and some dads. Maybe even stepmoms and step dads. Also, leaving out one parent’s name seems unfair to the other parent, especially when the marriage is still working.
But what if you are the child of same-sex parents? How would giving only one parent’s name work in this case?
The only logical way out is to get both parents’ names, with the application seeking the full name of Parent One and Parent Two, whatever their gender. Whether they are husband and wife, husband and ex-wife, wife and ex-husband, two men or two women or one man and a transgender married to one another, this would be able to satisfy all situations.
But removing a parental name just because the person is anathema brings in needless human negativity to a mere information requirement.
You don’t have to hate your dad or mom just because their name is required on your passport.
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