Tuesday, December 27, 2005

But for its name, nothing else may change...

But for its name, nothing else may change...

What’s In A Name?
The Times of India

It all started with a bunch of litterateurs giving suggestions on how Karnataka could celebrate its Golden Jubilee. Some said: Give Kannadigas more jobs. Others said pour more funds into North Karnataka and bring the backward regions on par with the South.

In the last month of the year, on December 11, chief minister N Dharam Singh opted for the easiest suggestion. More significantly, the suggestion that costs the least. He announced the change the name of the IT capital, Bangalore, from the Anglicised name to its phonetically-rooted Kannada one, Bengaluru.

The announcement came as a surprise to everyone, including the bureaucrats, the litterateurs and the general public. It set off a full-fledged debate on whether there was any need for such a change: Some said yes — it ensures that a Kannada word ending with the characteristic ‘u’ vowel is used even by foreigners who will now have to call the city Bengaluru. Others said it is a waste of time and money as it leads to lots of cumbersome details and legal documents and petitioning of the Centre to clear it. And some said: “There is no real need. In Kannada, we are already calling it Bengaluru, it is just an English spelling...’’ Some businesspersons also raised some doubts over the brandability of Bengaluru.

Be as it may, the process has been set in motion. And that is not all. Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthamurthy, who gave the name-change suggestion, said not just Bengaluru, but all cities should revert to their old culturally-rooted names. His thumb-rule for name change? “It should be what the place is called in the tongue of the locals.’’

Well, Singh was all obliging. Result: We are now preparing to welcome in the New Year the cities of Bengaluru, Mysooru, Mangaluru, Belagaavi, Kalburgi, Hubballi, Vijapura, Bagalkote...


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