Punjab state in India, where I come from, is the country’s bread basket; has the highest per capita income, its people are the friendliest and most hardworking but some of the names of its villages are hilarious, funny, stupid and downright rude.
And, over the last many decades, there have been several abortive attempts to change those names only for officials to rule it out because any change would ‘interfere’ with revenue records.
I took the liberty of including some excerpts from an online article I came across recently and did some research on funny names of places all over the world.
Funnily enough, I could not find any pictures of Punjab’s atrocious names though I have included a selection from around the world, courtesy Google Images.
In Punjab, for example, several are named as villages of cats, dogs, rats, jackals, crows and even frogs.
The Chief Minister’s constituency has a village named Kutteyanwali (village of dogs) and Kattayanwali (village of male calf). Both villages have failed to get their names changed for years despite the Chief Minister espousing their cause.
In case of Kuttayanwali village, residents say the village had an even worse name under the British rule – Suranwali (village of pigs).
Another village is called Gidderanwali (village of jackals), Billimaar (village of cat killers), Bhedanwala (village of sheep), Dangar Khera (abode of animals), Kaanwali (village of crows), Sapaanwali (village of snakes) and even Keeranwala (village of ants).
During a recent VIP visit, the stage speaker while calling out to a panchayat (council) of Giddaranwali said “Giddaran di panchayat aa jaave” (let the panchayat of jackals come forward).
Then there’s a village called Thutiyanwali (a thutha is begging bowl) and an Andaanwali (village of eggs). Same is the case with Keeri (ant) where the village sarpanch (chief) says the village may be named Keeri but the progress made by its residents is more in the nature of gallops of horses.
Among other names, which have villagers cringing, include Bandar (monkey) and Landa (animal without tail) a village named ‘Bomb’, Kaala Bakra (black goat), Kukar (cock), Makhi (fly) and Billi (cat). There’s also a Duddu (frog) village and Chuhewal village (village of rats).
A Punjabi writer recently said villages having awkward names were earlier part of small habitants, which were extremely backward and infested with various kinds of animals.
That said, in New Delhi for instance, several street and road names were changed years ago to show the spirit of independent India but people still insist on calling them by their old identities.