December 13, 2005

What’s in a name(u), Bangaluru ?

Mr U R Ananthamurthy, who started it all, was heard telling NDTV that Kannada had this capability to embrace a foreign term by suffixing a ‘u’ – a table becomes ‘tableu’, a chair, ‘chairu’, and a bore, ‘boru’. Kannada is that simple. Tamil, a designated ‘classical’, tends to complicates things.
Had Madras been part of Karnataka we could have, simply, added a ‘u’ and called the place ‘Madrasu’. In its current Tamil ‘avatar’, Chennai has little in common with the good old Madras. I’m sure Mr URA had sound reasons – cultural and emotional – for coming up with an idea, so thought-provoking that it managed to move our government into action within days. Normally, any bright idea the government receives is put through the bureaucratic wringer, of a departmental committee, cabinet sub-committee, legislature debate, resolution and such rigmarole.
I, for one, find the name-change idea particularly appealing, as it plays on our innate instinct for keeping up with the Joneses. If TN and Kerala, not to mention W B and Maharashtra, have done it, why shouldn’t we?
But then in a democracy we have people who raise silly questions, such as, ‘what is the big deal?’. Bangalore, whichever way you pronounce it, would stay a city of IT-walahs, drought beer, bad roads, and traffic jam. What’s in a name? Bangalore, by any other name, would still have traffic jam.
We could say this about Mysore. When it becomes Mysooru, it won’t rhyme with eyesore.


Capt. Anup Murthy said...

NDTV recently mentioned Bangalore as Bungle galore! The bad roads, infrastructure problems etc mentioned in your blog being the reason no-doubt. Although Karnataka's real first family (You know who) thinks everything is hunky-dory and tried to discredit Narayan murthy. Some chaps in the US have asked me once or twice "what was sore" when it was mentioned that I hailed from Mysore! My sore what? Mysooru does sound nice, although I heard that the original name may have been Mahishooru, named after that handsome gentleman with the big mush standing on Chamundi Hill holding a snake in one hand, sporting a mean looking grin and used to scare the bejeesus out of kids when we were growing up!

Anonymous said...

Agreed GVK. Bengalooru appeals to me as well. But I will raise yet another silly question. What for instance will it cost the exchequer to effect this name change? How many sign-boards will have to be repainted, how much stationery will have to be reprinted, and how many other seen and unseen costs will it take before Bangalore finally becomes Bengalooru? And remember Madras is still Madras, and not Chennai to many, many people. So is Bombay. Will Bangalore then, actually remain Bangalore? Silly me!!

Anonymous said...

Oops!Sorry GVK that was me, Bharathi, and not annonymous, as the comment said. Forgot to put in my name.

Damien Ashtaroth said...

I wasn't aware of the whole name-changing game until a week or so after it started, so my experience was akin to watching an Ekta Kapoor generic-cloned-joint-family-mega-serial from halfway into the 30-minute ordeal. I have completely missed the reasons URA cited (and I imagine they are powerful reasons indeed for them to have roused the government into action so quickly) for the abrupt change of name.

Now, to make things better/worse, they have announced that they will rename tier-II cities, as well.

I personally don't care for name changes, and I will continue to spell Mysore the only way I know how (I'm all of 23 years old, all of them spent in this lovely city). I'd like to know one thing: What is the point? Is keeping up with the Joneses (or Basus) so imperative? Why this powerful, yet utterly useless, spurt of rebellion?

Besides, aren't their efforts only mediocre at best? If they want to change the name to the way it was, or should be, why don't they call it Bendakalooru? Can't the IT mohguls be arsed to spell it that way?

Tsk, tsk, Mr. URA.