What’s in a name? For the residents of this UP colony, their locality’s name is now their biggest concern and they want it to be changed.
Around 50 km away from the national capital, lies Pakistani Vali Gali- a small colony in Dadri in Gautam Buddh Nagar district. The residents say the colony got its name seven decades back during Partition, now they want Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath take a call in the matter.
“During Partition, four of our ancestors came from Pakistan and settled here. Since then this place in Gauthampuri has got the name ‘Pakistan Wali Gali’” says a resident, Narendra Singh
Situated in a dingy lane of Gauthampuri road, the colony houses 70-80 families. “We are looked at with disgust. Our employment and marriage prospects are affected when we introduce ourselves as residents of this colony. We have written to the sub-divisional magistrate and he has said that they will set up camps to change the names. We are Hindus belonging to the Jattav community,” added Narendra Singh.
Though the colony got its name a long time ago, it has become a cause of worry for the residents recently as it has been added to their official documents like Aadhaar card.”Earlier it was not official, but now it’s written in our documents also. We did not even know that it is written in the documents. We are illiterate, how will we read what they wrote in English? Our children’s employment prospects are affected as many even doubt if we are extremists after seeing our documents,” says Om Prakash.
The residents say that 70-80% of them have got their Aadhaar cards issued and most of them had to get their addresses changed. Komal, a student, says she had to get her Aadhaar card changed thrice because the first two times they had mentioned Pakistan Vali Gali.”When we say Ward No.2 they insist on telling us the locality name,” says Komal.
Uma Devi who runs a grocery shop in the locality has her store adorned with the national flag and is hopeful that now the authorities will change the name.”When we have so many issues with Pakistan then why should we keep their legacy or name? The colony should now be named after Bhim Rao Ambedkar,” says Uma Devi.
Kavita Gautham, another resident, has one question and one solution to those taunting them for their colony’s name: “Why are we called Pakistanis when we are Indians? People should change their mindset.”