Will Italy, Argentina, Sweden and Indonesia vote and choose their representative to the Meghalaya Assembly this February 27.
If you’re wondering how these countries have voting rights in this hill state you’re in for a surprise. Italy, Argentina, Sweden and Indonesia are the names of voters of Umniuh-Tmar Elaka village under Shella constituency in East Khasi Hills district.
Sisters Promiseland and Holyland Dkhar and their namesake neighbour Jerusalem Khiewtam will also participate in the adult franchise.If that’s left you scratching your head, there’s more. Welcome to the land of odd-sounding first names.
'Many Khasi names have the potential to make you smile but finding hundreds of such names in a small village will result in people guffawing for hours,' Elaka elected chief (Sirdar) Premiere Singh said.
He said about 50 per cent of the villagers have a fondness for English words that rhyme, without really know what they mean.
The sleepy Elaka, which is close to the Indo-Bangladesh border, has a little over 850 male and 916 female voters and have a record number of peculiar names registered in the list.
In a land where common office items like Table, Globe and Paper became first names, Premiere was lucky that his educated father had given him a name befitting his position as the eldest son, and now, the Elaka chief now.
'You will also find that days of the week become good names—Thursday, Sunday,' the chief said. Some people also have names like Tripura and Goa.'
The oddest name belonged to a 30 year-old Class XII-passed woman: her mother ‘Sweater' named her ‘I Have Been Delivered'! Planets Venus and Saturn, besides Arabian Sea, Pacific and Continent, have also been taken.
Three Diengdoh sisters were found aptly named Request, Loveliness and Happiness by their mother ‘Shuki', a Khasi word that translates to chair in English.
Their neighbours, sisters Goodness and Unity, are also a good friend of the Diengdoh family.
Except for Indian names - Bharat, Mumtaz and Durga - the rest are traditional Khasi names, according to the electoral roll.
Some of the candidates contesting the February 27 elections in Meghalaya also carry names of famous politicians.
While two Nehrus - Nehru Suting and Nehru Sangma - will be contesting from Pynursla and Gambegre seats respectively, Frankenstein and Kennedy are also in fray.
"In many cases, parents obviously do not understand the meaning of the names they give their children. Sadly, the children with funny names have to carry on with these names much to their embarrassment," columnist H H Mohrmen said.