Kids Corner


Punjab's Destiny is in Their Hands:
Bittu, Biba, Tikku, Nitu ...

by KHUSHWANT SINGH [Chandigarh]


When a six-foot-tall giant introduces himself as "Tiny", or a grumpy-faced man tells you his name is "Happy", you can be sure you are in Punjab.

Here, even the state’s politicians keep up the tradition of colourful pet names.

Nitu, Tikku, Bittu ... a roll call of those contesting the oncoming elections shows that there is many a leader who has adopted a nickname.

Bathinda Congress candidate Raninder Singh, who is the son of former Congress Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, is Tikku to friends and Tikku ji to Congressmen, given his status as the 13th descendant of the Patiala royal family.

["Tikka" - literally, the "anointed one", was the honorific given to the heir-apparent in the Sikh Kingdoms, not unlike the British counterpart being titled the "Prince of Wales".]

Now, with the Shiromani Akali Dal announcing "Biba" Harsimrat Kaur, wife of deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as its candidate, the battle in Bathinda promises to be "Tikku v. Biba".

Drive 70 km north of Bathinda and you have Sukhwinder Singh "Danny" as the Congress candidate from Faridkot.

Reach Ludhiana, the industrial hub of Punjab, and Congress (AICC) spokesman Manish Tiwari - a.k.a. Nitu to family - will be trying hard to queer the Akali pitch.

Enter Anandpur Sahib, the town where the Khalsa was born, and Congress' Ravneet Singh "Bittu" will tell you how Maharaja Sahib (as Amarinder is known) and Rahul have been benevolent by backing his candidature from this holy city. The 25-year-old Bittu, incidentally, is the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Among sitting Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Punjab, there is a Lov Kumar "Goldy" (Garhshankar), "Kaka" Randeep Singh (Nabha) and Harminder Singh "Jassi" (Bathinda). Another legislator, Sukhpal Singh (Ferozepur) is better known to people as "Nannu".

A former Akali MLA, Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon of Faridkot is "Kiki" to his friends from Chandigarh. Punjab’s transport minister is known as "Master" Mohan Lal, since he was a teacher earlier.

What’s in a nickname?

Plenty, if you ask a Punjab politician.


March 28, 2009

Conversation about this article

1: Tejwant (U.S.A.), March 28, 2009, 7:17 PM.

Welcome to the Sesame Street of P-u-n-j-a-b where all candidates claim to be big birds.

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Bittu, Biba, Tikku, Nitu ...
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