"The government identified girls named'Nakusha'in Satara district and organised a renaming ceremony,"District Collector N Ramaswami told PTI over phone.
"Some girls were renamed Aishwarya, while others got names like Pooja, Neeta, Asha. The new names were chosen by the family, either the parents or in some cases, by the grown up girls themselves,"he said.
The function was organised by the Zilla Parishad (ZP) of the Western Maharashtra district. NCP MP Supriya Sule was among those present.
"We identified 280 such names (Nakusha) from school records,"Ramaswami added.
"Zilla Parishad officials had surveyed the district and decided on the renaming after speaking to the parents. The officials felt this was a small step towards changing the mindset in the rural areas,"another official said.
In some parts of rural Maharashtra, if a girl is born when the parents wanted a boy, she is named'Nakusha'. The ZP undertook a survey and identified such girls, ranging from infants to 16 years of age.
"Typically, if a rural couple has one or two girls, they dislike it when their third child also turns out to be a girl. They then name her'Nakusha'. Other derogatory names given to girls are 'Dagadi'and'Dhondi' which means stone,"the official said