What’s in a name? A storyBajhang’s infamous Jhagada village transforms to Jhalakpur
A two-hour uphill walk from Khauladhar Bazaar in Bungal Municipality-6, Bajhang, lies a hamlet that overlooks green forests and rolling hills.
At first glance, the place, with its neatly arranged homes and majestic vista, looks like a tourist village somewhere in Pokhara. But its sleepy rustic charm is recently earned.
The village has had a riotous history, where for decades its residents fought among themselves for water. Such was the desperation and disorder that even the name of the village was Jhagada—which translates to ‘scuffle’ in English.
Today, the utterance of the name meets raised eyebrows.
The village dispensed with its old name after the municipal office constructed a drinking water supply project last November. Jhalakpur was the name given to the village.
“The age-old struggle for water ended with the construction of the water project. There were no more scuffles related to water. So the villagers deemed the name Jhagada was no longer apt,” said Dipesh Gurdhami, chair of Jhalakpur Drinking Water Consumers’ Committee.
For decades, Jhalakpur residents were dependent on a single water source, situated some 30-minute walk downhill. As the place used to be crowded all the time, the villagers had devised the rule of first come, first served. But, more often than not, this rule was broken, leading to fights.
“If a person was not present at the water source while her pot was filling, someone would invariably steal the water,” said Anjana Bohara, a local woman. “So it was only natural for brawls to break out over a pot of water.”
No villager, however, could say when exactly the warring over water began. But everybody offers the same theory about how the name of the village came to be.
“In fact, the real name of the village was Jhaakada—not Jhagada,” said Arjun Gurdhami, a local man. “It was only after the fights over water became frequent that the village became to be known as Jhagada.”
With the water supply project built under the Rural Water Resource Management Project of the municipality, the water crisis has ended and so has the angry confrontations and fisticuffs.
Today, every house in the village has its own water tap.
The women in the village say the water project has brought a big relief to their lives.
“I came to this village 23 years ago as a young bride,” said Dhauli Devi Singh, “and the last nine months have been the best so far.”
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