Friday, September 25, 2009

India......Anglicized.... and back

City name change is a common occurrence in India. And not only in India, the names of cities have danced, oscillated, born, killed over the whims and fancies of the party ruling there.

Bombay to Mumbai ...... not so bad. Even songs have been written, Ganpat Daru La
At least there is no way of pronouncing mumbai, other than the correct one. But people still love the old name, as is apparent from the fact that after the name change from Bombay to Mumbai, The Times of India, began publishing a "Mumbai edition." The edition's feature section is still called the Bombay Times . At least they have spared the STOCKS it's still BSE.

Calcutta to Kolkata ...... Well as far as my experience goes this city has experienced a name change only on paper. From the mouth of ( the not so familiar with Bengal or Bengali ) people it comes out as Kaulkatta. I remember everybody could suddenly see a lot of K's around themselves. Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Kolakta Tramways, K this, K that. A person who is generally glued to the television ( Zee, Star Plus, Sahara one, Sony and likes) from 1 PM to 5 PM could easily figure out the Ekta Kapporization of Calcutta.

Madras to Chennai ..... I dont know any Tamil, but even then , this I feel has been the worst of changes. The word "Madras" itself commanded certain respect. My grandmother still uses "mudrasss" in her conversation.

It is not that Indians don't like Indian names. Our fathers did not name us as Canning ( a street in Kaulkutta) . The problem is a city is renamed by the local politicians, and the renamed name might cause a lot of problems to people not belonging to that region.
Take Kerala for example. Only after going there did i realize that "Kozhikode" is actually pronounced as "Korrrikode".

Renaming of cities takes place all round the globe.Wiki List
Take the example of 'Tabora' capital city of some region in Tanzania. After German colonization it was named 'Weidmannsheil'. After the German left it was quietly named back to 'Tabora'

But one may also argue that it would take one generation to get used to the new names and after that things would pretty be normal. A child born now would not care whether Chennai was Madras previously. To him Madras would sound like a fairy world name.

Future possibilities :)

Ahmedabad - > Karnavati
Lucknow - > Lakshman Puri

Delhi - > Indraprashtha
Delhi - > Dilli

No comments: