‘Kukur Kami’, a Name in the Citizenship Reflecting Discrimination at its Peak

  August 2, 2022 By: INSEC

Kabiram Kami has alleged that the team of citizenship distributors led by Durga Prasad Giri, the then Survey Officer, kept his name ‘Kukur Kami’ (kukur means dog in Nepali) in his citizenship certificate whilst he informed them that his actual name is Kabiram Kami.

Because of his name and the embarrassment, it brought, Kami stopped going to village gatherings. The citizenship was provided to him 33 years ago on May 20, 1989.

Kabiram Kami, who was born on December 31, 1960, and was given this citizenship on the recommendation of the then Pradhan Pancha (village leader) Bakhat Bahadur Khadka of Meheltoli Village Panchayat.

The Meheltoli Village Panchayat was Meheltoli Village Development Committee before the federal restructuting.

After the federal restructuring, his address is Bhagwatimai Rural Municipality-6. His citizenship has Meheltoli Village Panchayat-6 mentioned as his address.

Kabiram is the younger son of Bhunto Kami. Before Kabiram was born, six of his siblings had died. And therefore due to the superstition of protecting him from the evil eyes of death, he was given the name ‘Kukur’ following the advice of a priest so that he remained alive and healthy

Although he lived with that name in his citizenship, he, his wife, his seven children, 13 grandchildren and other family members are ashamed to pronounce that name and relate themselves with Kami.

Kami’s eldest daughter Lakshmi, 32, is married in Junichande of Jajarkot. Having given birth to one son and three daughters, she has not claimed for citizenship because of the name of her father.

Second daughter Kalpana, 26, got married in Bhagwatimai Rural Municipality-7 Taulum and has two daughters. She too experienced the same embarrassment and did not claim for citizenship.

The eldest son Jaya Bahadur, 29, worked in Malaysia for three years. He says that he felt awkward writing his father’s name and so could not send the money.

Youngest daughter Ratna, 23, and son Santaram, 20, have obtained citizenship, but due to the fact that their father’s name is written as ‘Kukur’, they has stopped participating in community activities or engaging in income-generating programs given by the government such as the Prime Minister’s Employment Program.

Another son Pappu, 18, dropped out of school four years ago when he was studying in Grade 8 due to the teasing of his friends. Now he works in India. The youngest son Shivaraj, 16, is currently studying in Grade 10 in a school in the village.

Chandra Prasad Regmi, the principal of Khadgadevi Basic School, said that he also felt that Shivaraj was discouraged to continue his studies due to the teasing of his friends.

After six sons before him died, Kami’s parent’s named him so following the trend seen in the neighbouring village of Jaganath. Around six people were named ‘Kukur’ in Jaganath village as well. The leaders gave him his astrological name (Nwaran’s name) saying unfollowing it will be against civilization.

While Kabiram took citizenship via that name, three others who were called ‘Kukur’ in Jaganath village – Prem Bahadur Damai, Padam Bahadur Kami and Dhan Bahadur Kami got citizenship with their actual name on it.

The name could have been changed if Giri, had denied signing on the citizenship with the name ‘Kukur’ in it.

If the secretary of the Village Panchayat had paid attention to the recommendation regarding the citizenship certificate this incident could have been stopped.

Three people were given citizenship with the name ‘Kukur’ at Mehaltoli. Two others have died. The other two were 15-20 years older than Kabiram. All those named ‘Kukur’ are from Dalit community.

“Those who got the opportunity to change their names, they changed it in our village,” said former teacher Krishna Prasad Adhikari, a resident of Bhagwatimai rural municipality-4, Jaganath.

Manisha BK, a human rights activist, has commented that the chain of ruining the names of people of the Dalit community is still ongoing. This is a form of caste-based discrimination.

‘Why weren’t the children of the Brahmins and Chhetri’s named ‘Kukur’? asked Manisha.

When the Chief District Officer of Dailekh, Hari Pyakurel was asked about this issue, he said he would consult with the Ministry and inform them about the approach to correct it.

The in charge of the Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Joint- Secretary Bhishma Kumar Bhusal commented that it is offensive to write ‘Kukur Kami’ in the citizenship.

He said – This must have caused him a lot of embarrassment and initiative should be taken to change the name.

 


Amar Sunar