Umang Pooja Khandelwal:
My name Umang is of Sanskrit, Indian origin, meaning ‘happiness,’ ‘hope’ and ‘enthusiasm.’ I was given this name so that I am always aware that one’s success is defined by their happiness quotient. With graduation round the corner and the dawn of a new chapter in my life, I am beginning to realize now more than ever how my name defines me and the choices that I make.
Today on International Women’s Day, I want to share how my middle name came to be. In the majority of the Indian subcontinent, naming conventions follow that a person carries their father’s name as their middle name. Living in a largely patriarchal society in India, my mother defied the existing norms and put up a strong fight against the resistance she faced by the legal system. This unprecedented act led to my middle name being my mother’s name, something I am very proud of. It is a reminder of who I am and what I stand for, and the reality that we have a long ways to go to achieve gender equality. Umang gives me the hope for a better tomorrow and Pooja inspires in me the tenacity necessary to achieve it.