No more ‘Fokat ke’ in­sults for th­ese chil­dren

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - FRONT PAGE -

IN­DORE: What’s in a name, you thought? A lot, ac­tu­ally. Ask the chil­dren of Fokat­pura (the colony of free­loaders), who, squirm­ing un­der in­sults, took the ini­tia­tive to change the name of their lo­cal­ity.

Flank­ing a nul­lah be­hind In­dore’s Choithram veg­etable mandi, Fokat­pura looks no dif­fer­ent from any other slum. But its name came from the res­i­dents’ once-upon-a-time prac­tice of col­lect­ing and sell­ing veg­eta­bles that fell off gunny sacks car­ried to the mandi.

While the grown-ups — Bhil trib­als, all — had grown stoic, the chil­dren de­cided to take mat­ters into their hands. “My school­mates used to taunt me, say­ing only fokats live in Fokat­pura and this led to many fights,” said 12-year-old Ajay.

In Fe­bru­ary, all 72 chil­dren of the lo­cal­ity gath­ered at the com­mu­nity class run by an NGO, Deen­bandhu Samjik Sanstha, and sug­gested new names for their colony.

Nine-year-old La­j­vanti came up with the one that stuck — Tantya Bheel Na­gar, af­ter Tantya Bhil, the leg­endary Bhil free­dom fighter.

“We all know the songs of Tantya Mama from a very early age,” the child said.

Things came to a head on I-Day. “The teacher of our school (the government pri­mary school at Tezpur Gad­badi) or­dered all of us from Fokat­ganj to stand in a sep­a­rate row,” said Ka­jal Sar­dar, a stu­dent of Class VI. “I told her that we are from Tantya Bheel Na­gar, not from Fokat­pura.”

But the in­ci­dent made it clear that a for­mal mea­sure was nec­es­sary.

On Au­gust 23, the res­i­dents submitted a let­ter, re­quest­ing In­dore’s Di­vi­sional Com­mis­sioner to for­mally change the name. The new name is yet to be for­malised, but the chil­dren are giv­ing no quar­ter.

“We will fight to re­tain the new iden­tity of our colony,” said 12-year-old Pinki.

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