Bangalore to Bengaluru

Bangalore will be renamed Bengaluru in about a year. The usual stuff of “what’s in a name?” is running around the news channels these days. TOI reported that move will help English accept the words ending with a vowel in its dictionary. The local historians claim that this move is for the sentiments of local people. Yet another reason is that the officials couldn’t find any other way to celebrate the anniversary. Instead of the concentrating on core issues surrounding Bangalore, they sought a superficial one. No one promised that International Airport will be completed, no one promised that roads will be improved, no one promised that Bangalore Mysore express way will be completed. When there are million other things to look forward to, we (its actually, ‘they’) chose to look behind to please people.
Bangalore has always been Bengaluru to local-ites. When I speak in Kannada, I always say ‘Bengaluru’. Every one says “namma Bengaluru huduga’ (our Bangalore boy), when Rahul Dravid scores a century or Kumble or Srinath take five wicket hauls. It the same with Mysore (every one calls it maisuru) and Manglore (Mangaluru). The claim of the name being changed to protect regional, cultural or linguistic integrity is baseless or should I call it hilarious.
Bombay to Mumbai, Calcutta to Kolkata, Madras to Chennai is OK in the sense that the number of syllables doesn’t change. But when you are adding extra syllable to make it Bengaluru, it gets painful. Let me not get started on Thiruvananthapuram. This is perhaps the longest proper noun I have written in this blog. We all have nicks in our colleges just to get rid of the extra syllables. It’s like carrying a few extra pounds.
Why don’t they just go back further in the history and call Bangalore, Bendhakaluru. That was indeed what it was called years and years ago.
It is still Bombay high court, IIT Bombay and IIT Madras. Changing names is a hassle, which not every one wants to go through.
In my first year in college, we had to be volunteers for NSS. In the intro speech, the head talked about our country being India in some places and Bharat in others. We, as NSS members, are responsible to make Bharat India. I really did not like the metaphor of comparing the under-developed India to Bharat. Just because it’s not English doesn’t mean the word should represent something that lacks richness. Change or no change in name, Bangalore is going to be the same. The Kannada name, Bengaluru, will neither make it inferior nor will it make the language superior. I don’t see a reason why the Kannada activists find solace in making people call the city by its local name when the city has an international brand image. It is not going to make people learn Kannada, we will still call the city Bengaluru when we speak Kannada. Others simply can’t pronounce it, will not take the trouble either.
Alas, I should say that it is just the question of getting used to. It may take about 5-6 year for the name to sink in…till then it will be the good old Bangalore. I like the name chennai, but not mumbai or kolkata, the older names were better. I don’t think, Bengaluru will ever be my favorite.

9 Replies to “Bangalore to Bengaluru”

  1. Its a cheap tactic to make Bangalore look like a place for Kannadigas, rather than a place for Bangaloreans.

  2. The first comment was written by gandhe and as far as my view goes I support the decission.This cannot be called a cheap tactic by the kannadiga’s.We have accepted people from all around India and learnt to live with them.The question is not about Kannadiga’s.I support all the changes that have taken place Chennai(Madras),Mumbai(bombay) and kolkata(calcutta) etc.There would have been no controversy about this had it been done right after independence.The names of cities I think must reflect of it’s culture and background,for eg take “Kolkata” I am sure when an Indian hears this word he can immediately say it’s of Bengali origin.As far as the issue of others are concerned I think they will have no problems.Infact I think they will like it this way because when I go any foreign land say Argentina I want it to be like Argentina and not like U.S.A or England including the names of cities.One more point I would like to make is that progress and the use of English as a language are two totally different and unrelated things,Bengaluru does’nt sound backward to me atleast.Secondly, I am sure we have’nt spent thousands of crores on this so it won’t eat into the budget allocated for developmental activities.

  3. “One more point I would like to make is that progress and the use of English as a language are two totally different and unrelated things,Bengaluru does’nt sound backward to me atleast.”
    I agree…..thats what i meant when i said
    “Just because it’s not English doesn’t mean the word should represent something that lacks richness.”

  4. Bangalore had a distinctive ring to it… Bengaluru make it look more like the hordes of other places in India. I feel this is yet another instance of how people try to maintain status quo on something as ever changing and dynamic as human culture. Other examples? The Khushboo controversy, the move by the Anna Univ VC to ban mobile phones. Is any kind of force going to halt the forward movement of the way we live? It was most apt when you pointed out “Why don’t they just go back further in the history and call Bangalore, Bendhakaluru.” I’d say, you can go even back to the neanderthals and call it “hoo-ha-hoo”. What world are they in? There isnt any concrete thing that we’ll gain by this name-change; only a major pain in the ass. Even in Chennai the name change brigade is in full swing. They want the mount road to be Arignar Anna Salai; LB Road became Kalki Krishnamoorthy Salai. I agree that we have to honour these noble men. But doing that by denying ourselves, a part of our heritage, how much ever of a foreign invasion it was, is utter stupidity. For that matter, will anyone come forward and pull down the Taj? That is also a work by erstwhile foreign invaders, isnt it? Whatever be it, we cannot deny our history. And to try doing it, i guess, is an exercise wasted.

  5. I totally agree. And lets face is….BANGALORE sounds much better and “psueder” than BENGALURU.

  6. I do not know, but I do know that bhaand you wot understand for this janma the national pride. We would call it hola hola but it is civilization that we celebrate as having taken place in our country and thats why a name like bengaluru would give it its right cause.
    What is sad is that you haven’t slightest pride that it is an Indian name that our leading city bears.
    The excercise was certainly not futile, people like you would rather be slaves of the white men than reinstate your national pride, thats if you have any.

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