What’s in a name? A lot, if it is on UP voters’ list

Lucknow, Oct 14 (IANS) What’s in a name? Amusing and confounding, to say the least, if one sees the names of villagers on the lists of voters for the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The names like Narendra Modi, Barack, Bachchan, and Laden vie for attention along with those of Katrina, Sonam, Hema Malini, and even Helen. The lists are being prepared by the Panchayati Raj Department.
And if one thought that the villagers are not particularly fond of our famous sporting icons, here comes the surprise: MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat, and Sehwag too are on the lists.
Other unusual names — though certainly not the ones to ring a bell to someone who knows the Uttar Pradesh hinterlands — on the list are Manager, Collector, Daroga, and even Sipahi.
“In village families, when children do not survive for long, it is believed that if you give the newborn a weird name, he or she will survive. So you come across names like Gabdu, Udal, Jhankau, Badkau, Bindki, and Nati which are now common. These names stick even when the child grows up. There is no concept of nickname in most villages yet,” said Nanhe, head of Arjunpur village in Sultanpur district.
He said that some villagers even name their children after certain administrative positions in the fond hope that they will hold the same office when they grow up. So, one comes across the names like Daroga, Collector, Kaptan, Manager, and Lekhpal.
Meanwhile, an Election Commission official, involved in the process of finalising the electoral rolls for panchayat elections scheduled to be held early next year, said: “In case some names appear suspicious, like Barack and Laden, we verify them.”

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