Thursday, November 16, 2006

On Bangalore. Or Bengalooru. Or Bengaluru.

There has been quite the furore in the Desi blogging world with reference to the proposed name change for Bangalore. Or rather, the-name-change-that-has-been-announced-but-requires- legal-sanction-to-ratify-it. Assuming our moribund government lasts that long.

Sandeep calls this "...the first of many braindead schemes to ensure that it’s all downhill from here" and that "...decolonizing and all sound good only if it were not used as substitutes for policy."

Indian Inheritance asks "...what the fuck is wrong with the name Bangalore?"

Nitin Pai decries this as "...not an isolated act of etymological terrorism by the H D Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka."

And the venerable Economist pipes in and strikes an opposing note:

"...Following the examples of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, Bangalore has rebranded itself, taking the local name for “city of cooked beans”... Will it catch on? Yes, in the end it probably will, just as Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata are slowly taking hold. Sign-writers and printers will be glad of the new business, politicians will claim a blow against British cultural enslavement and a victory for authenticity (though that story about the old woman and the king may be tosh), but many others will give a weary sigh. So many places change their names, and so often. They have every right to do so, of course, and it seems discourteous not to use their new names if they expressly ask you to."

And they sign off saying, "Dear Name-Changer, feel free to adopt any moniker you fancy, but do not hector others if they jib. A city of beans by any other name will smell as sweet, or beany."

Where do I stand? I can live with name change, even if I think that it is pretty stupid to murder a well known brand. What I detest is the fact that this linguistic chauvinism is being used to cover a litany of sins. Of the father and the son.


MockTurtle said...

I hope the father leaves the new signs in English, seeing that the son doesn't read Kannada well.

blr bytes said...

Grandfather, father, son. May they all rest in a French speaking hell.

Vasan said...

Michael was here about a year ago. You must meet Michael. He carries his own laptop (like regular dudes, no problem), but he also carries a power adapter that converts the US style to Indian style. (I wish we had one of those for toilets too .. I hate those damn toilet papers).

"Now wait, lots of us carry that power adapter, so what's special?" Well, then, do you also carry the following:

(a) A power cable
(b) An ethernet cable
(c) A null modem
(d) An ethernet crossover cable

If you do, you are Michael.

But, I digress. The point is, Mr. Diligent Lion (MDL for short, which, coincidentally are his initials and his mail ID too) is so meticulous, how could he have missed this?

Two days after he landed, and cleared the fog of his jetlag, VP calls up and says he needs to be in Japan pronto. Beg, borrow, steal a blazer and a tie (Michael knows the Japanese folks, he does), but he does have a complaint about his itinerary:

"I need to go from here to Madras, and then, I have to somehow get to Chennai, from where, there's this flight to Seoul, a two hour wait and off to Tokyo ..."

Hmmm ... on hindsight maybe I shouldn't have let him on the little secret about the re-christening frenzy and watched the esnuing fun. I can imagine the auto-wallah and Michael in deep conversation:

A: Go sir, where?
M: I'd like to go to Chennai.
A: Poydlaan, sir. Four hundred bucks.
M: Yow, velaiadriah?

Ok, that's stretching it a bit. Indulgence.

Anonymous said...

Madras is always Madras, no matter whoever changes it or calls it otherwise.

Changes are so much irritating and make life more difficult . I always say Madras as I'm used to from childhood but people around me frown as I've uttered some obscene word.

Well, If you don't like british names or anything done by british then, why do you still celebrate Jan 1st as New year? We have seperate Tamil New Year right? Why don't you destroy the high courts, railway tracks constructed by british & reconstruct from the start? Sounds stupid right... Same way, It sounds stupid to change from Madras to Chennai when both co-existed without any problem. Now , only Chennai exists . where's my magnificent Madras? My DOB Certificate lists it as Madras. A'm I born in a city which does not exist? These changes promote regionalism & not nationalism… which will ultimately result in a separate Country ThamizlNadu(Once known as the State of Madras).

Don't know where will it End?

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