200 Indian girls, whose names mean ‘unwanted’ in Marathi have been renamed in a ceremony in the Maharashtra state.
Many girls have been named ‘Nakusha’ by parents who preferred to have a son.
Hundreds of campaigners against gender discrimination attended the ceremony in the Satra district.
The latest statistics show that families favour boys in India and that gender imbalance had widened since independence in 1947.
In 2001, there were 927 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six, which has expanded this year, as there are 914 for every 1,000.
Aborting female foetuses is widespread in India, however termination based on ultrasound scans is illegal.
Boys continue to be favoured by families because they are seen as wage-earners.
But local government want to reduce negative attitudes towards girls, who are seen as a financial burden to families because of the dowry they must pay when they marry.
Girls, aged one to 20, chose a variety of different names from those of Bollywood actresses such as Aishwarya Rai to Hindu goddesses like Lakshmi.