Monday, July 6, 2009

NIcknames of people of Sankhu (Sakwomi)

Monday, July 6, 2009
Nicknames attached to family lineage of people of Sankhu always fascinate me. A person from Sankhu may not recognize another person from Sankhu by his first and family name but can fairly guess who she/he is by the nickname of her/his family lineage. For example, if a person from Sankhu living in US for many years meets somewhere in US another person from Sankhu, the former may not know the later by his first and family name or place in the village, but could easily guess who she/he is if told the nickname of her/his family lineage.

Like in other Newa settlements, residents of Sankhu also have caste and social hierarchies. The interesting thing though are nicknames associated to family lineage of many residents of Sankhu (However, not all of the family lineages have such nicknames). These nicknames can be categorized by different traits: (some of the nicknames sound funny but these are mentioned for the purpose of information and possible further research but by no means meant to humiliate or offend any persons/families).

By reference to living/imaginary things
Maaka (monkey); Nya: (fish); Byan (frog), Kawaan (Skeleton); Khya: (friendly ghost) etc.
By reference to appearance
Gwaaraa (fat and round); Ghauwa (huge and big), Ghori (rough skin) etc.
By reference to place
Pukhusi (who lives by the pond); Nyasi (who lives near the narrow lane), etc.
By reference to human traits
Khichulu (timid); Paaka: (stupid); Koprakhi (who shits in a Kopra, a wide round metal bowl kept in room in old days for urinary purposes when there were no in-house toilets); Phonsi (fat and huge, who resemble to a fruit of the monkey-puzzle tree); Hayenla (Duck catcher); Bhoot (who eats, drinks a lot); Haleya: (who talks loudly and a lot) etc.
By reference to objects
Bajhaan (tobacco assorted with sugarcane residue used for smoking); Kwyenpwa: (hollow bone with holes); Paai (a cloth/leather bag used for keeping traditional community group – Guthi records) etc.
By reference to occupation
Syarba (Sherpa); Karki, Majhi, Sarki (castes, groups in non-Newa communities) etc.
Others not known
Pikha, Kalsin (no directly resembling meaning) etc. and there are many more...

Within the community of Sankhu, nicknames are commonly used by people as teasing terms during informal or friendly verbal talks. These are also used as derogatory terms during disputes, quarrels and intended humiliation. As you can see, some of the nicknames related to occupations or castes of non-Newa communities.


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