Edit below overview about Chunni Khurd
OverView of Chunni Khurd
History of Village Chunni Khurd (Or Chhoti Chunni)
is no written history of village Chunni Khurd before this one. This is an
eyewitness account of Chunni Khurd and its people starting in 1946.
Why is it Called Chunni Kurd?
In 1946, Chunni Khurd
was a large village. However, the name of the village implies that it is a
small village. The word “Khurd” is an Urdu word and it means small. That is why
in Punjabi, the name of the village is “Chhoti Chunni”. “Chhoti” is a Punjabi
word meaning small. So if Chunni Kurd is quite a large village, then why is it
It so happens that
there is another village close by named Chunni Kalan. The word “Kalan’ is also
an Urdu word which means big. In Punjabi Chunni Kalan was called “Badi Chunni”.
“Badi” is a Punjabi word meaning big. So to make the long story short, Chunni
consists of two sister villages: One Chunni Kalan (Badi) and the other Chunni
Kurd (Chhoti). The distance between them was only about 200 meters in 1946.
Since Chunni Kalan was
bigger than Chunni Kurd, it was better known than Chunni Khurd. Even today, it
is easier to find Chunni Kalan on the map than Chunni Khurd. In any case, each
of these villages is bigger than any other village within 5 Kilometer radius.
Chunni Khurd Location
In 1946, the nearest
paved road from Chunni Khurd was about 10 Kilometers away in a small city
called Kharar northeast of Chunni Khurd. The nearest train station was about 12
Kilometers away in the small city of Sarai Banjara (Southwest of Chunni Khund).
People, who needed to go to other far away cities, had to walk 10 to 12
Kilometers to take the bus or the train. Because of the lack of paved road,
Chunni Khurd village was quite isolated.
North and South Sides of Chunni Kurd
Even in 1946, Chunni
Kurd was a large village. On the north side of Chunni Khurd, there was a large
pond (Tobha). Animals used this pond to drink water and to bathe. People on the
south side used to call the north side as Doua Passa (That is; second side of
South side of village
Chunni Kurd had a Gurudawara, a temple and a Maadee (Naag Dev’s place of
worship). It also had large open space (more about this space later on) where
kids used to play.
During summer, a
celebration was held at the Maadee. They beat big drums (called Nagaras in
Punjabi) during this celebration. Nagaras are big hemispherical drums with
stretched leather on one side. They stood on the ground with slight slant.
People used sticks to beat these drums.
During this celebration,
people who really believed in Naag Dev sat around a fire and waited for the
spirit to enter their body. When it did, the person would get up and use hot
chains to whip his own back. The person did not feel any pain (At least that is
what the person said after the spirit was gone).
Houses in Chunni Khurd
In 1946, most houses in
the village were made of mud bricks plastered with mud-straw mix. Streets were
unpaved. No house had running water or electricity. Open fields were used as
toilets. Wastewater from homes flowed into the open drains in the middle of the
In village Chunni Khurd,
a typical single family home had one room. However, it’s area was equal
to four rooms. It had a brick pillar in the middle. This pillar and other four
pillars along the mud brick walls supported the roof structure made of wooden
beams covered with straw and then mud. It had no windows because the sidewalls
and the back walls were shared with homes of neighbors. For light during the
day, there was a hole in the roof. In Punjabi, this hole in the roof was called
“mohga”. In winter, family slept in this type of room.
A typical house had a
veranda in front. On one side of the veranda, there was an area to cook meals
using buffalo chips and wood. The other side of the veranda had an area to take
bath using a bucket of water and a tin cup.
A typical house
had a walled compound (called “behda” in Punjabi) in front of the veranda. In
some houses, there was a tree in the compound for shade. A small part of the
compound was reserved for animals such as a buffalo and her calf. The rest of
the behda was used to sleep in summer season. People used jute cots to sleep.
In summer, some people
slept on the roof of their house. There was better breeze on the roof than at
ground level. In addition, one could enjoy watching stars in the Milky Way
galaxy. Absence of pollution and electric lights made it possible to see
Large families had extra
rooms, which served as guest rooms (called Baithak in Punjabi). Some families
also had rooms for animals to protect them from cold winters.
Life in Village Chunni
In 1946, village Chunni
Kurd was a farming community. There were farmers and there were people who
supported the farmers. The village looked self-sufficient in every way.
There was a “Peenja”,
whose job was to fluff cotton to make quilts for use in winter season. He used
a bow like device to fluff cotton. He would make the bowstring vibrate with a
stick. Vibrating string would fluff the cotton. He repeated the process
hundreds of time to fluff enough cotton for one quilt.
There was a “Tailee”,
whose job was to extract oil from mustard seeds and cottonseeds. He used a
device called Kohloo, which was an ox-driven device. People used mustard seed
oil for cooking and in lamps during Diwali festival. They also used this oil
for their hair and as body lotion. The residue (called Khal in Punjabi) from
the oil extraction process was used as feed for domestic animals.
There was a blacksmith,
a carpenter, a shoemaker, a cloth maker, a tailor, a pottery maker, a barber
and a waterman. There were also people who helped the farmers in the fields to
sow and harvest crops. They were all paid with either grains or money.
There were two wells in
South Chunni. Water table was very low. That is why there was no Persian wheel
for irrigation. Farming depended on natural rain. People used a rope and a
metal bucket to draw water from the well. In some summers, water level was so shallow
that water became muddy. One had to filter the mud before using the water.
Drawing water was mostly the job of women. Some families were able to pay the
waterman to get the water delivered.
The Playing Area in Southeast Chunni Khurd and Seasonal Water Creek (Chunni Di
area was not a traditional playground. It was just a space common to the
southeast side of the village. It had several Banyan trees, one Pipal tree, and
two water wells. Part of the area was occupied by buffalo dung heaps, buffalo
chip storage cones. Buffalos and oxen used some of this space for resting
during hot summers.
The most interesting
part this space was the sandy area where kids could play. This area was part of
the seasonal creek (Chunni Di Nadi). During the monsoon season, the creek would
swell all the way to the door of the compounds (Behdas) of the houses on the
village’s south boundary. In monsoon season, this water creek would deposit a
lot of fresh sand which was great for playing, especially the game called
Kabadi. Even the kids from the north side of the village came to play in this
One of the banyan trees
in the sandy area had very low branches. Kid would climb on to this tree and
jump off the branches on to the sand.
“Chunni Di Nadi” (Water
Creek of Chunni) also played tricks. Sometimes a tiny stream of water would
show up into the creek even though there was no rain in Chunni (Rain was
somewhere upstream). Kids would run in front of this tiny stream until the
water swelled to an unsafe level. People who were sleeping under the shade of
the banyan trees would wake up to find that their shoes have been swept away by
the water. During summer, farmers rested under the banyan trees from 11 AM to
3PM to avoid hottest part of the day.
In 1946, there was one
middle school in Chunni Kalan. Kids from Chunni Kurd and many other villages
near by went to this school. It was only about 200 meters from Chunni Kurd. One
had to walk through the farm fields to get to this school.
There was a banyan tree
(and a Pipal tree) in the behda of the school. In summer, kids sat under the
banyan tree to study. Kids sat on long strips of carpet made of jute. Teachers
School was located near
a very large water pond (called Talaab in Urdu). “Chunni Di Nadi” also passed
by this school. In some years, it flooded the school.
In 1946, Urdu was
compulsory language. Teachers and students belonged to many religions: Hindu,
Sikh, Muslim etc. Kabadi was a very popular support in this school. Its Kabadi
team was very good.
Nearest high schools
(Christian High School and Khalsa High School) were in Kharar about 10
Kilometers away. Since there was no paved road, these schools were not easily
Impact of Indian Independence on Village Chunni Kurd
On August 15, 1947,
India gained independence, which split India into two countries: India and
Pakistan. This led to civil war and lot of loss life and property. Wherever
Muslims were in minority in India, they had to leave for Pakistan.
Chunni Khurd had only one
Muslim family. This family decided to stay in the village because everyone in
the village had friendship with this family. Badi Chunni had many Muslim
families. They all left for Pakistan.
Most Hindus and Sikhs in
Pakistan had to leave for India. Refugees from Pakistan had to live in tents
for some time in nearby cities. Some people from the village Chunni went
to help the refugees in those cities.
kids had to study Urdu in the school in Chunni Kalan. After independence,
Punjabi replaced Urdu as the primary language. New teachers replaced the
teachers who left for Pakistan. Some kids lost their friends because they moved
to Pakistan. There was lot of fear and uncertainty for about a year after
Impact of Chunni Di Nadi when it Disappeared
During the 1960s,
monsoon rainwater that made Chunni Di Nadi somehow got diverted. The sandy play
area did no longer get fresh sand every year. By 1974, all of the sand
disappeared. It was no longer a fun place to play. Because of erosion, roots of
banyan trees got exposed. Banyan trees looked as if they were dying.
By 1974, a few of the
village streets got paved with bricks. But the progress was still slow because
there was no paved road close to Chunni Khurd.
Impact of the Road between Mohali and Sirhind
Sometime after 1974, the
government of Punjab built a road from Mohali to Sirhind, which passes by
Chunni Khurd. This made cities like Kharar, Sirhind, and Chandigarh etc. easily
accessible by bicycle and motorized vehicles. Now people from Chunni Kurd could
study and work in these cities. Fired bricks could be easily shipped to Chunni
Kurd. The village began to expand faster than in the past.
After Chunni Di Nadi
stopped, there was no fear of flooding. People started to build homes on this
land also. By 2006 all the play area, which was bigger than a football field,
was covered with houses. Banyan trees disappeared (Price of progress).
Impact of Technology
The progress in
technology affects everyone. However, Chunni Kurd was behind the times.
In 1948, a man in Chunni
Khurd bought a gramophone (record player). It had a picture of a dog looking
into the cone of the gramophone as if listening to music. He used to play
records under the banyan tree. A curious crowed of kids would gather around him.
This was the first time anyone in the village heard a gramophone (Its name was
“His Masters Voice”).
Each record had a single
song. He changed the needle after each song. A single record would grind the
needle tip and make it dull. The needle could not be used for the second
record. He had a small box full of needles. Today things are very different.
What a change in technology!
In 1949, a kid got a
bicycle. He was preparing to go to high school in Kharar. This was the first
bicycle in Chunni Khurd. Since there was no paved road near Chunni Khurd, this
kid had to move to another village near a paved road so that he could go to
school in Kharar. A few other kids had to do the same. That is, live with their
relatives in another village close to a high school.
Impact of Government on Chunni Kurd
In order to improve the
life in villages, government has been playing an active role. In addition to
building roads, it has been providing electricity, water and sewer services.
Chunni Khurd now has these services in most homes.
Edit below overview about Chunni Khurd