June 18, 2005

An egg-plant by any other name

Life is hard in Mumbai's underworld, what with all those encounter killings and all. So when insult is added to injury, even the toughest gangster may throw up his hands.
Dreaded gangster Anil Parab ‘Vangya’ filed an application in court stating that he should be strictly called by name, without the ‘demeaning’ suffix, Vangya. (In Marathi, vangya means a brinjal). Said Parab’s lawyer Vivek Sudade. “Since Parab is a diabetic and has high blood pressure, calling him Vangya can be injurious to his health, as he gets extremely upset.”(Mid-Day, June 18, 2005)
On July 15, the court passed an order prohibiting the use of Parab's slang name: I'm sure it was greeted with sniggers from all the Chiknas, Fawdas and Haddis in the courtroom. Perhaps the sessions judge wasn't aware of the Kashmiri story about the persistence of nicknames:

A man named Wa'sdev had a mulberry tree growing in his courtyard and therefore, he was called Wa'sdev Tul (mulberry). He, in order to get rid of his nick-name, cut down the tree. But a mund (trunk) remained and people began to call him Wa'sdev Mund. He then removed the trunk of the tree but by its removal a khud (depression) was caused and henceforth people called him Wa'sdev Khud. He then filled up the depression and the ground became teng (a little elevated) and he began to be called Wa'sdev Teng. Thus exasperated, he left any further attempt to remove the cause of his nick-name and it continued to be Teng which is now attached to the names of his descendants.

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