GADAG: At the outset, Hatalageri village, about 8 km from Gadag, would seem like any other — where people are mostly dependent on agriculture and daily-wage workers head out to the fields every morning. But what sets it apart are its people. Every household in this village has at least one person named Satyappa or Satyavva.
Popular for its quality butter, Hatalageri village has a population of 4,000, of whom about 900 people, both men and women, have names linked to the village deity, Satyavva. There are instances where three people go by the same name in one household. The practice of naming at least one person in a family after the deity has been in existence for several decades. Village elders says their ancestors started the practice after the villagers took Satyavva to be their village deity.
Last year, a couple who had a daughter in this village, chose to buck the trend and named the baby Disha.
A day after the naming ceremony, the baby fell ill and the family was panic-stricken. Village elders then suggested to the parents to name the girl after the village deity. Villagers claim that the girl’s health improved thereafter. Satyappa Pujar, a resident, said, “The practice of naming children after the goddess
is across religions in this village.”
Satyappa Pujar, a local, said, “Many youths with the name Satyappa, are serving in the Army, working in various colleges and pursuing higher studies in Dharwad University. The practice of naming children after the goddess is across religions here.”But, in the past few years, this problem of many has also created confusion in the village. So, for the sake of convenience and to identify people correctly, Satyappas and Satyavvas are also given a nickname. The blind woman in the village named Satyavva is referred to as ‘Kurudu Satyavva’ (blind), while another Satyavva, who has a hearing issue, is called ‘Keppa Satyavva’. A short-built man is called ‘Chitmya Satyappa’ and another with a hunch is called ‘Goonu Satyappa’. When there are more than one Satyappa in a house, they are addressed as ‘Dodda Satyappa’ and ‘Sanna Satyappa’ (elder and younger Satyappa).
A staffer at the GP office said, “When I was posted here, I was surprised to see hundreds of Satyavvas and Satyappas in this village list. The voter list has innumerable people with these names.”