The 285 girls — wearing their best outfits with barrettes, braids and bows in their hair — lined up to receive certificates with their new names along with small flower bouquets from Satara district officials in Maharashtra state.
Some girls chose popular Bollywood names. A 15-year-old girl named “Nakusa” by her disappointed grandfather chose “Ashmita,” which means “very tough” or “rock hard” in Hindi.
There are only 881 girls for every 1,000 boys in Satara. Neglect of girl babies and sex-selection abortions are common. Periodically, federal or state governments announce free meals and education for girls or cash bonuses for families with girls who graduate from high school.