Hafsa Khan is a famous Pakistani actress and singer. Her real name is Haffa Khan. Haffa means beautiful, black, or dark-skinned girl. If you are thinking about giving your daughter a name that suggests such ethnic identity, I would urge you to reconsider. In my view, ethnicity has little to do with beauty but is more importantly tied to personality.
The name Haffa Khan conjures up a host of images for most people. Most will conjure up images of young women trying to outrun a speeding truck while being pursued by a police car. Some may imagine a gang of teenage girls chasing after a man on a motorcycle through the streets. However, most people will conjure up images of ethnicity and women folk celebrating a customary wedding. This makes the name of famous celebrity mother-of-two, Hafsa Khan, all the more impressive.
According to traditional norms, a woman’s name is chosen before she is married. After her husband, a lady’s title chances. In the predominantly Muslim country of Pakistan, it is considered bad manners to give a man’s wife a new name. In this conservative society, it is not acceptable to give a woman a different name. In fact, it can be considered disrespectful.
Luckily for Pakistani women, names are rarely chosen until later in life. By tradition, a new wife should not be identified with her husband’s first name or first initial. Instead, her new name should be chosen from a selection of special attributes that describe qualities desired in a partner. The names chosen are normally well known within the community, and there is nothing embarrassing or weird about the naming process.
So what does a newly married woman need to do to achieve her new identity? Becoming a hijra is not easy. To fully acclimatize to the new way of life, a young lady has to make a very conscious effort to be different. This means she should get used to dressing differently. She cannot and should not wear the traditional clothes she was accustomed to.
A new identity is not achieved by drowning herself in opulent clothes and makeup. Her newly acquired identity should be established by choosing clothes and accessories that are ethnic, traditional, yet trendy. This doesn’t mean her looks should be perfect. It means that instead of wearing a pink zari, a girl should choose a black one. This has been seen in many Pakistani brides choosing to wear sarees and lehengas that are heavily embellished.
The accent of the new identity should be on being beautiful. A bride must make sure her veil and her hair are done in ways that highlight her femininity. These days it is possible for a girl to have a western name, yet still, retain her Indian heritage. This is possible because there is now a myriad of Indian names to choose from.
A new identity is only achieved when a young girl is ready to embrace all that comes with being a hijra. No society can successfully be created in an instant. It takes time, dedication, and struggle. But at the end of the day, a hijra remains a hijra, regardless of her new identity. Her dedication to her religion, to her family, to her new life, will always be admirable.
If you are looking to start a new identity, I would advise you to get married to a Pakistani man who is a hijra. You will have already made a deep connection through your marriage. And once you achieve your new identity as a hijra, you will never look back.
If you are looking to change your name, I would advise you to choose a name that is symbolic of your new identity. For example, Saleem, (meaning seize) is a common name in many parts of Pakistan. However, if you were to change your name to Hafsa Khan, (meaning ‘wifehood’) you would instantly become a prominent member of any wedding party. Saleem is traditional, but Khan is modern. There is no better combination than this.
You could also go for a new name but keep your current husband as well. This is the ideal situation. The groom will feel very close to you and will automatically understand your new identity as a wife. After all, you two have shared so much together. So, when you say your goodbyes to each other, you would be saying them from the heart.