Thugaondev sheds ‘embarrassing’ name, becomes Devgram

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Apr 2018 10:29:58

By Kartik Lokhande,

Philosophically, the answer to famous question -- What’s in a name? -- may be ‘nothing’. The answer will be convincing too. However, when it comes to emotional attachment, name carries certainly more importance. The story of Thugaondev stands testimony to this statement.

For most of the people, Thugaondev may not ring a bell. For, it is the name of a non-descript village in a remote corner of Narkhed tehsil of Nagpur district. Nobody, not even the Government officials, knows when did this village come into existence. Even the Government records are not available as to when did Thugaondev became a Revenue village.

The oldest record about the village dates back to January 7, 1916. This more than 102 years old record reveals little about the origin of the name of the village. But, it mentions about an agreement signed in front of Settlement Officer regarding revenue recovery. The said record mentions name of the village as Thugaondev quoting a document dating back to year 1912. On the basis of this, one can safely say that the village Thugaondev exists at least since 1912.

After India gained her Independence, the village continued to be a non-descript one. When the State of Maharashtra came into existence, the records were re-assessed. In 1954-55, again the village found a mention in Revenue record. In April 1981, when the erstwhile Katol tehsil was divided into two -- Katol and Narkhed -- Thugaondev became a part of Narkhed tehsil. In the list of villages in Narkhed tehsil, it was ‘Village No 87’. In 1985, boundaries of the village were decided and Thugaondev got ‘promoted’ to the position of ‘Village No 81’.

However, as literacy increased and the villagers got educated and their younger generation started getting exposed to big cities, they felt that Thugaondev was an ‘embarrassing’ name for the place where they came from. In Marathi, the word ‘Thu’ means ‘spit’. Gradually, the people from the village felt that the name of their village was not only ‘embarrassing’ but also attracted sarcasm from friends and acquaintances. On the occasion of Republic Day, that is, January 26 in the year 2012, finally the then Sarpanch and Village Secretary moved an application to the Government requesting change in the name of the village from Thugaondev to Devgram.

The then Sub-Divisional Officer of Katol, and Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad (ZP) conducted a scrutiny of the records available and processed the application along with a copy of the resolution passed by Gram Sabha. Tehsildar and Circle Officer of Revenue Department also conducted inspection as per the procedure. But, General Administration Department in the Mantralaya picked holes in the proposal and returned it.

“The villagers were disappointed. But, soon they recovered from it and resumed the efforts to change the name of the village with a renewed vigour,” said Avinash Katade, who served as Sub-Divisional Officer, Katol. Soon, they pointed out that there would be no complications about changing Government records if the name of the village was changed, as the village did not have a railway station. The village had a Post Office. So, the villagers got a ‘no objection certificate’ from the then Post Master of Thugaondev Post Office. Once again things started moving. In 2016, another proposal was moved to the Government. And, after almost two years, recently, the Government has given approval to changing name of Thugaondev to Devgram.

“It is an inspiring tale of the determination of villagers. Also, it shows that if one is committed to goal, change definitely comes,” Katade added.