What was the problem you faced?
My husband left me when I gave birth to my daughter. 3 years back, my daughter applied for a passport and she wanted to have my name on it, instead of her father’s name.
But the passport authorities refused to put down the mother’s name, they insisted on having the father’s name. I tried multiple appeals to them, but they constantly told me that nothing could be done. Ultimately, my daughter was forced to get a passport with her father’s name on it because she had to travel. But she still wanted the name changed on the passport. This was the thing that made me wonder how I could change the passport rules.
Why did you start a petition on Change.org?
I even thought about fighting the case in court. But fighting a legal battle is tiring. There are so many cases pending, my case might not have been heard. It’s also expensive – lawyers would have charged me fifty to sixty thousand rupees to fight this case.
However, the biggest thing that came to me was that I wanted to benefit more people. Earlier, people have fought cases and got the passport with one parent’s name – but it was only on a case to case basis. I realized that if I start a petition and it becomes a law then everyone will get the benefit, no one will have to go individually to the court. So I took a decision to start a petition and see what happens.
How did it feel to get the support of so many people?
When I started the petition, I was unsure, I thought that there are so many things going on in the world, who cares about one person’s petition. I even hesitated to start the petition!
But when I started the petition – I received so much support! And getting support was reassuring. I realized that people are facing this problem of bureaucracy a lot. The people wanted to change that and they supported me so that we could bring the change together.
It will be good to have more petitions like this on different causes started by people who face real problems. And if it gets the support of people, it will go to the right people and we can bring the change that society actually needs.
How did you feel when the rules were changed?
I felt very good and very relieved! I felt relieved because I didn’t want other people to go through the same ordeal as me. Having to reply to insensitive questions like “Why are you single? Why are you divorced? Why do you want this?” can be painful and I’m really glad that this will not happen to other people now.
What would you like to say to the people who supported you?
I would really like to thank them a lot! They helped make the passport rules for all single parents easier. And I request them to just keep on changing the society. Like they helped me they should support other people. When you help other people you can create the real changes that are needed in society.
Do you have any advice for people who want to change something?
From my personal experience – if you want a change, you have to become the change. You can’t think that someone else will do it. You have to take initiative and work for the change and support other people.
The initial stages are difficult, you might think you don’t have support, you wonder about what society will feel. But when you highlight an issue – people will come out and support you and the more people that support you, the better!
Header Picture Courtesy: New Indian Express