02 November 2006

What's In A Name?

Ok, the unthinkable has happened. My beloved Bangalore has become Bengaluru. What next? Bendakaluru?!

After Bombay, Calcutta and Madras were renamed I thought we Kandus were the only sane people left in the country. Now even we have lost our heads :-(

I agree that Kannada must be supported and encouraged. But this is not the way to do it. The language of Pampa and Basavanna does need the protection of illiterate politicians and incompetent bureaucrats. Renaming cities will do nothing for the cause of Kannada.

Besides, the move is meaningless. The name of the city was already Bengaluru in namma cheluva Kannada. 'Bangalore' was merely the Anglicised pronounciation of the same. We could have continued to have the two names. Why should we impose our pronounciation on others? The Bongs were nuts to 'rename' Calcutta as Kolkata. Atleast Chennai is a different name from Madras. And I won't even talk about the Shiv Sena.

Kannadigas are the most broad minded, tolerant and cosmopolitan people in India. This kind of chauvinism and parochialism go against our ethos. This is nothing but a gimmick by politicians to divert attention from the real issues: infrastructure, education and healthcare. In what way will a name change improve the life of ordinary Kannadigas?

This whole mess started when the Dharam Singh government was looking for ideas to celebrate Karnataka's golden jubilee. Of all people, U R Ananthamurthy came up with this suggestion. The do-nothing Dharam was only too happy to accept it. His government fell before Nov 1, but the JDS-BJP regime that succeeded him went ahead with the asinine move.


kculon said...

but we do need to infuse some life into Kannada. I see it as a dying language otherwise

English has been taking over everywhere. Lingua franca seems such a lame concept now! Lingua Amrika seems more apt.

kiran said...

No one claims (or shouldn't in their right mind) that it would improve the life of Kannadigas. If one glances from an anthropological perspective, there are countless evidences that humans view pride and 'usefulness' on quite different planes. I feel a stronger argument against a name change would be if the damage done, both in the short term and long term, is significant. I, personally, don't see strong evidence to suggest either.

Also, Kanndigas being the most .... is BS! :)

Psomax said...

"No one claims that it would improve the life of Kannadigas."
Well, the job of the Karnataka Govt is to improve the life of Kannadigas. So that's what it should devote its full attention to, not changing names.

"a stronger argument against a name change would be if the damage done is significant."
On the contrary, it's for those trying to change the status quo to come up with the "strong argument" in support of their move.

kiran said...

Many problems exist currently within Karnataka (as with other parts of India), and prioritization is critical I agree. But, one definite problem I see is the slacking of interest and pride in everything 'Kannada'. I'm clearly ill-equipped currently to make this a more substantiated claim, but, there are some obvious signs. For example, the deplorable state of the Kannada film industry - one could argue that the cinema is quite evidently one of the biggest influences in the sustenance and adoption of culture and language in modern day. Kannadigas are forced to find other means of entertaining themselves. How do you explain this misfortune of the Kannadigas? How do you tackle this?

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that changing the name is the solution... But, very rarely do you encounter governments embattled with countless problems coming up with well-thought out, comprehensive solutions. There needs to be forums, state-level debates, etc etc. Are they happening? Maybe you know more...

Psomax said...

Yes, the Kannada film industry is in a sad state. I think one reason is that Kannada movies are subsidised by the government. So there is no incentive to make good movies.