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No more 'Fokat ke' insults for these children

india Updated: Nov 28, 2012 23:26 IST
Ritesh Mishra
Ritesh Mishra
Hindustan Times
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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.