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Named After Cats, Dogs, Villages Seek New Identities

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Several villages in Punjab are not proud of having been named as villages of cats, dogs, rats, jackals, crows and even frogs, but are unable to get rid of them.

Sample this; Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s constituency of Lambi has a village named Kutteyanwali (village of dogs) and Kattayanwali (village of male calf). Both villages have failed to get their names changed over a period of ten years despite the Chief Minister espousing their cause.

In case of Kuttayanwali village, its resident Lakhwinder Singh says the village had an even worse name under the British rule-Suranwali (village of pigs).

Ferozepur district has villages named 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 visit of Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the stage speaker while calling out to a panchayat of Giddaranwali said “Giddaran di panchayat aa jaave” (let the panchayat of jackals come forward).

Mansa, which also has its fair share of such names, even has a village called Thutiyanwali (a thutha is begging bowl) and an Andaanwali (village of eggs). Same is the case with Keeri (ant) village sarpanch Shingara Singh who 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) villages in Moga district, ‘Bomb’ village in Ludhiana, Kaala Bakra (black goat), Kukar (cock), Makhi (fly) and Billi (cat) villages in Jalandhar. There’s also a Dud (frog) village in Kapurthala and Chuhewal village (village of rats) in Gurdaspur.

Punjabi writer Kirpal Kazak said villages having awkward names were earlier part of small habitants, which were extremely backward and infested with various kinds of animals.

Director, Rural Development and Panchayats Gurdev Singh Sidhu says his department can only keep the names of panchayats and that village names are dealt with the Revenue department. Sidhu said since changing names would have an impact on revenue records, the move had to be approved by the centre.

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