There is something to cheer about for the residents of a non-descript village in Rajasthan who have been struggling for the last 23 years to get its "derogatory" name changed.
Replying to a notice issued by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in this regard, the Ministry of Home Affairs has recently said that it had no objection if the name of the village 'Chamaron Ka Vas' (home of cobblers) is changed to its original name 'Kuwan Ka Vas' (home of wells).
It also informed the Commission that it has requested the Rajasthan government to "issue a notification changing the name of the village."
Considering the reply of the Home Ministry on May 26, the NHRC directed the Rajasthan Chief Secretary to issue a notification regarding changing of the village's name, located in Hingota Panchayat of Dausa district, and submit an action taken report before it "within four weeks."
The Commission also directed him to hold an inquiry to ascertain how the name of the village 'Kuwan Ka Vas' was changed to 'Chamaron Ka Vas'.
The Commission took up the case on the basis of a complaint filed by one Khem Chand and other residents of the village in 2006 alleging that one Lekhpal (official) of the area gave the "derogatory name" to their village in land records 23 years ago due to "ill-will". The village is largely inhabited by a scheduled caste community.
"Commission has also asked the Rajasthan Chief Secretary to find out the errant Lekhpal and submit the report along with the notification changing the name of the village within four weeks," it said.
The NHRC noted that the case was in direct conflict with the "Constitutional mandate" and the village was given such a derogatory name despite the Constitution prohibiting any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion or language.
The Commission noted that the struggle to get the name changed has "not been an easy ride for Khem Chand and other residents of the concerned village since 1987."
In 2002, the then district collector of Dausa did forward their application to the state government recommending a new name 'Govindpura' for the village, but nothing happened on the ground, NHRC observed.
"In 2006, they took up the matter again with the then District Collector, Dausa, but were not responded well by the officer concerned," it added.