I don’t know how many of you are able to handle the name change. I sure am having a hard time with the change.
I sound like a really old person when I make the following observations and remarks. Within my lifetime I have seen the contours of the world map re-arranged, witnessed countries disappear and new ones emerge in their place. In my lifetime I have seen the death of cities that I grew up or visited like Madras, Bangalore and Bombay. Instead they were re-born with new names. My memories are of Madras, and not Chennai.
When I was growing up, Bangalore was yet to be cool in the way it is now. Sure it had its bars, but it was still a retired couple’s heaven. But even then, the weather was to die for, the names of the streets had a lovely ring to it.
When I say Madras or Bombay it is not out of an intellectual stand, but because I have never called those cities anything else. That said, I don’t know why a city’s identity is in the hands of a few idiots who take these decisions. Sure they were elected, but would they have been elected if the name-change thing was included in the manifesto? Besides, I don’t see how such expenditure is justified. There are a million other issues to sort out in the city.
But beyond the logic of limited resources and political stunts, it’s sad somehow to lose a city and part of its character thus. Though the name doesn’t change the character of a city, it is indicative of some processes. For some reason, Chennai will always be different from Madras. Perhaps Madras is what my mind remembers as the finest the city had to offer in every way. Or how Marine Drive cannot be anything but the Marine Drive. The government is not responsible for the fragility of my memories, but I wish they wouldn’t trample on them with such harsh boots. A part of my history appears to crumble everytime they change names. Some name changes are less successful than others. Like how Connaught Place remained CP. Not a single autowallah in Delhi will understand if you say Rajiv Chowk to him.
I am a big fan of UR Ananthamurthy. I cannot understand how someone who wrote something as cynical, fascinating and rebellious as Samskara could suggest that the name of a city be fiddled with.
If they have a point, maybe I should change my name to Nehambal, or Negaeeshwari. That should sort all my issues out.
“The intention is that even a foreigner who visits the city will use a Kannada-sounding word by calling the city Bengalooru. The ‘u’ vowel distinguishes our language, just like the ‘o’ in Kolkata is distinct to Bengali. By adding the ‘u,’ even words like chair-u and table-u become Kannada,” Ananthamurthy said. Singh maintained that he was convinced about the genuineness of the demand.
Ah! Crapu then.