Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bangalore by any other name...

Is it Bangalore, Bengaluru, Bengalooru, Bangaluru or Bangalooru?

Agreed, Bangalore is out - it was the old English name given by the British Babus who could not pronounce the regional name; the city was recently rechristened to the original Kannada name "Bengaluru". Almost every Indian city thus has a local version and an English version of its name. And each one of them, after fifty years of Independence, is slowly reverting back to its original name that locals know it by. (Bombay-Mumbai, Madras-Chennai, Calcutta-Kolkata, Trivandrum-Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin-Kochi).

Which is all very good.

As long as there is no ambiguity involved in the way one spells it. Because there is only one way to write each name in the regional language (for example, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು in Kannada) - whereas there are a thousand (well, almost!) ways to write it in English! (Look at the different ways Bengaluru is spelt in the first sentence of this post.) I am sure one of these is the "official" spelling.

However, the City Railway Station is still called the "Bangalore City", the other surrounding stations in the track are "Bangalore East", "Bangalore Cantonment" etc. instead of "Bengaluru ..." Elsewhere in other government offices, the location is spelled as "Bengaluru". In other establishments not related to govt., we find the remaining versions of the name.

I still have not fully switched my mind to the Kannada name yet, it's still Bangalore in my thoughts. Not that I consider it important to change the name, when we have a million other things to worry about. Still, if it makes someone feel better, let them. I don't mind either way.

A city by any other name, we would say, would still have its share of traffic, pollution, and water woes. Speaking of traffic... I should speak of Bangalore's traffic and vanishing greenery some other time. It is a much-much-spoken-of topic, but surely has enough space for my small contribution.

1 comment:

  1. oops,thats changed too! I like 'Bangalore' better. I am sure anyone younger than 50 who loves Bangalore and is not basically from there does so. I don't care what it was called 3 decaded before we were born - hooo ..