The Odd Names of the Hakki Pikki

Members of the nomadic Hakki Pikki tribe of southern India are known for their unusual names.

According to Dr. K. M. Metry, chairman of the Department of Tribal Studies at Kannada University, the Hakki Pikki people “used to name their children after the river or the mountain that they worshipped. Following the political turmoil and change in regimes, they got dispersed in different regions of South India.”

Traveling, hunting, and begging are a part of the Hakki Pikki way of life, but as these things became criminalized during the 20th century, the Hakki Pikki themselves came to be seen as criminals. So they disguised their identity by giving their children nontraditional names, such as…

  • British, named “during the independence struggle”
  • Coffee
  • Court (male), “born at a camp set up by his nomadic family near a district court”
  • Cycle Rani
  • Deluxe Express
  • English
  • Glucose (female)
  • Government
  • Japan (male)
  • Pistol*
  • Post Office

These actually aren’t much different from the bizarre names of Meghalaya, which include Friday, Moonlight, and Zenith.

*Did you know that Pistol and other gun names (e.g., Caliber, Trigger, Shooter, Gunner) have been on the rise in the U.S. recently?

Sources: Meet Mr Court of the Hakki Pikki tribe, who’s nephew of late Japan, The Hakki Pikki Tales – The Alemaari Trails, The man who lived with the tribes


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