Tuesday, December 27, 2005

So what is new about Bengaluru, Mysooru, Hubballi and Belagavi?

So what is new about Bengaluru, Mysooru, Hubballi and Belagavi?
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It is the season when our cities acquire new names. The Chief Minister’s suggestion to change the name of the State capital from Bangalore to Bengaluru was followed by suggestions to rechristen Hubli, Belgaum, Mysore and Mangalore to Hubballi, Belagavi, Mysooru and Mangalooru. Well how about Coorg into Kodagu or Madikeri into Mercera.

Apparently, Kannada activists are gung ho about the renaming drive and most writers and leaders want to usher in the New Year with these new names.

But the issue does not excite the common Kannadiga - he has more realistic worries. Moreover, Kannadigas have always known these cities by their original names.

The State Transport and Revenue departments, too, have beeen using these new names for decades.

The signboards in Kannada always read Bengaluru in Kannada so too Belagavi, Kodagu, Mysooru and Hubballi. Only in English were they spelt as Bangalore, Hubli and Mysore.

All that can change now is the English spelling. The renaming drive could lead to phonetic spelling.

But weren’t we all taught in the schools that proper names in English could be spelt in various ways and the pronunciation was also not restricted?

One could spell Bengaluru and still pronounce it as Bangalore because both the formats are not too different phonetically.

However, such was not the case in other cities of the country. Chennai is completely different from Madras or Mumbai from Bombay.

While the renaming exercise has provided some employment to Kannada activists, who are never heard otherwise, Bengaluru would make little difference to Kannadigas of the State.

Perhaps the activists could spend their time more meaningfully if they launched a drive to increase the readership of Kannada literary works, promote quality writing in Kannada and the use of Kannada in Government offices.


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