In the village of Bhadrapur, located in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, near Bangalore, you can find an odd mixture of names unlike anywhere else on Earth. Over the last few decades, a tribal community in this area began a weird naming ritual which has resulted in all sorts of everyday phrases, not to mention a few celebrity monikers, being given to new children. It is time we take a census of the Hakki Pikki.

Weird Names

For centuries, the Hakki Pikki lived in isolation in a forest within the center of India. However, as urbanization spread and the population density increased, the isolated and nomadic lifestyle of these individuals changed forever. Being thrust into a new and crowded environment, some members of the community abandoned all of the old customs, but they are in the minority. Instead, the Hakki Pikki are attempting to create a hybrid culture.

Weird Names

During the nineteenth century, while still living in the forest, the Hakki Pikki were excellent hunters and named their children after mighty warriors. A hundred years later the situation had changed. The tribe moved further south and turned to crime as a way to survive in an evolving world. Soon, the Hakki Pikki were synonymous with theft. In an effort to end this association, tribal members began naming their children after nearby objects. As a result, through the 1970s, tribal members were named Coke, Pistol, British, and Compound, to provide just a few examples.

Weird Names

Since the 1980s though, the naming scheme has changed. It has grown to embrace foreign celebrities, foods the parents like, even patches of grass where the children play. Current village residents include Google, High Court, Mysore Pak, Congress, Janta, Grass, North Korea, Government, Japan, Elizabeth, South Korea, Train, Dollar, Sugar, Coffee, and Military. Sadly, Sugar and Coffee no longer talk to one another. At the local school you can find three best friends, who just so happen to be named America, Supreme Court, and One by Two.

Weird Names

A recent court case has given the official stamp to all of these unique Hakki Pikki names. As a result, members of the tribe receive voter registration cards, licenses, and even passports for foreign travel that list the individual’s full name. This means that you may eventually find yourself sandwiched between North Korea and South Korea in the middle seat of an airplane.

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Pammy Lin

Pammy Lin

I'm a travel writer based in Washington state. I'm on the road over 200 days every year and have visited over 70 countries.