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The patriarchy of documents
The article is about how the documents issued by the government or banks only include the name of the father and not the mother. It also focuses on how women have to mention about their spouses but not men. It tries to throw light on this subconscious form of patriarchy that has become a norm today.

The 21st century has brought a lot of changes in our world. Among the various technological advances, it is our thought process that has gone through a profound change. We've started acknowledging what we can truly call as equality. With movements, such as feminism and LGBTQ rights gaining momentum it can be said that the world is truly changing for the better.

But change is never easy, particularly when there's some 1000 years of history opposing it. Patriarchy is so deep rooted in our society that we sometimes seem to overlook it because it has been that way forever. And while we've done some splendid work to uproot it, there are still branches of it which have never been talked about.

In almost every government document, be it the PAN card, Voter ID card, bank passbook etc, you'll notice that the father's name is mentioned but not the mother's. Even if the father is no more, the documents still must have the name of the late father. It's as if the mother didn't have any contribution in giving birth to the person.

These documents are essentially identity cards which prove our existence and if it wasn't for our mothers, we wouldn't be existing. But still, these documents only have the name of the father. This needs to change; a child is brought up equally by both parents and mentioning just the father as a parent/legal guardian is illogical.

While the Board marksheets have started to mention the mother's name as well, the same cannot be said about the other documents such as the Transfer Certificate, School Leaving Certificate, Provisional Certificate as they still mention the father's name only.

On the flip side of this patriarchal norm is that as soon as a woman gets married, her father's name in the documents gets replaced with her husband's name. It's as if a woman always needs a man to establish her identity. First, her father and then her husband.

While this is the case for women, men don't need to do this. There's no column for men to mention their spouses' names. It isn't mandatory for them. Almost every document of a married woman bears the name of her husband except for the PAN (Permanent Account Number) card. Even if she has to open a bank account or get an LIC policy, she has to provide additional details.

The LIC policy form has a special column of questions termed as questions for females only, wherein a woman has to state whether she's married. And in case she is, she must provide her husband's policy details, if any, among other questions. However, there's no such column as questions for males only.

This patriarchal bias has been here since time immemorial and over time has become one of those obligations that pass under the radar easily. It needs to be realised that things like these help strengthen the patriarchal ideology, while also injectingthe same into the minds of the newer generation.

Although, this has never been looked upon in this way before, but today, in this day and age, it's high time we tooksome action. A person's identity is incomplete without the names of both the parents,as both parents go through a lot in raising their children.So why mention only the father's name? And incase there's lack of space to mention both names on the document then only the mother's name should be mentioned as she has anyways known her child 9 more months than the father.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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