SURKHET/ BIRENDRANAGAR, August 22: "Until now, I was treated like an animal. But from today, I feel like I have become a human being. No one will tease me and my children due to my name anymore. My children can now make a citizenship certificate` and show it in front of the society with confidence," said Kavi Ram, who was ostracized because of the word "Kukur Kami" written on his citizenship certificate. He expressed his happiness after getting citizenship certificates with corrected names.
Not only was Kavi Ram ostracized because of his name ‘Kukur Kami' (which translates as Dog Kami) in his citizenship, his seven children could not even pronounce their father's name in front of society. Only three out of seven children obtained citizenship based on the name written in the father's citizenship. Others have not even acquired citizenship due to their father's derogatory name.
Even one daughter and two sons who obtained citizenship certificates could not submit the citizenship certificates of their father and their own to the government and other offices. For years, his second son Santa Ram hid the citizenship of his father and his own at home.
There was a distinct glow on his face when he received the corrected citizenship as Kavi Ram from the hands of the Chief District Officer of Dailekh, Hari Pyakurel. “I have distributed citizenship certificates to many people in different districts. This happiness seen on Kavi Ram's face will always be memorable for me," said CDO Pyakurel after providing the citizenship certificates. “It is still left to bring happiness in the faces of many people who have been neglected in society because of their name in the citizenship certificates.”
Born on January 8, 1961, Kavi Ram received a recommendation letter for citizenship certificate from the then Meheltoli Village Panchayat on May 20, 1989. Pradhan Panch i.e Chief of Village Panchayat Bakhat Bahadur Khadka named Kaviram 'Kukur' in the citizenship recommendation. Government official Durga Prasad Giri gave him a citizenship certificate of the same name.
Kavi Ram mentioned that his mother had named him Kavi Ram. As he is an illiterate, Kaviram learned much later that his citizenship certificate had a derogatory name. "My mother used to say that my name is Kavi Ram. Even when I went to get the citizenship certificate, I had clearly mentioned that my name was Kavi Ram," he said. "Both the recommender and the person who gave the citizenship changed my name to a dog.”
Similarly, Kavi Ram said that his children who are yet to get citizenship will also get citizenship soon. "My name has been corrected. Now, I will make the citizenship of the rest of my children soon.” The citizenship of his children in the name of ‘Kukur Kami’ will be canceled.
Along with Kavi Ram, Karna Bahadur, whose name was ‘Thage Kami’ in the citizenship certificate, has also received a new citizenship certificate. Formerly a resident of Katti Village Municipality-6, which now lies in Bhagwatimai Rural Municipality-5 in the district, he received a copy of the new citizenship with Karna Bahadur Kami written on his citizenship certificate.
Another ‘Kukur Kami’
Kavi Ram is not the only one who has been given a derogatory name in his citizenship certificate in Dailekh, many people have been given citizenship with such name.
According to the directive of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the DAO, Dailekh, issued notice from those wanting to change derogatory names in their citizenship certificates. A total of 25 people have filed applications at the DAO to correct their names as of Sunday.
Another person’s name was written ‘Kukur’ in his citizenship in Bhagwatimai Rural Municipality. According to CDO Pyakurel, the person has been asked to come to the district administration office to correct the name with the recommendation of his respective ward office.
CDO Pyakurel mentioned that more than 25 people have been found in Dailekh with derogatory names on their citizenship so far. “The local level has been asked to collect the data of those who have been given derogatory names and send them with recommendations," said CDO Pyakurel. "We estimate that there may be more people who have derogatory names in their citizenship.”