What is in a Name?

It is said that a person feels elated when you remember his or her name and call that person by the name. Even the Shakespeare said hundreds of years ago “What is in a name?” A rose smells the same by any other name”.  But think of this peculiar situation in the Village Guanlli of Kopal district of Karnataka. Every male is called Gyanappa and every female as Gyanavva. If you give the shout Gyanappa, you can imagine how everyone in the listening distance will respond.

Identity is created by prefixing with certain words. Elders are called Dodda and kids Chikka. The Gyanappa derives from the name of Saint Gyaneshwar who lived in this place. He was revered by the people for his miracles and nearness to the God. Villagers since believe that perpetuation of the name keeps them protected from evils and there is a peace and healthy ambiance all around.

This belief has been consolidated even further from the fact that the few who tried to break the tradition suffered bad luck and have to repent and rename their children to lead peaceful and healthy lives. Presently no one is going to change the names and you have to be very sure which Gyanappa or Gyanavva you are going to see if you are visiting that place!!

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