Monday, November 3, 2014

Names of cities haven't changed

From November 1, Bangalore is written in all English communication as Bengaluru.

Besides the capital city, 11 other cities too have dropped their English names for the actual name.

They are: Mangalore to Mangaluru, Bellary to Ballari, Bijapur to Vijayapura, Belgaum to Belagavi, Chikamagalur to Chikkamagaluru, Gulbarga to Kalaburagi, Mysore to Mysuru, Hospet to Hosapete, Shimoga to Shivamogga, Hubli to Hubballi and Tumkur to Tumakuru.

I doubt, how right it's to say that the names of the cities have changed. The cities are in Karnataka, and they have always been known by their local Kannada names. In Kannada, no one said Bangalore. All India Radio always said Bengaluru and Mysuru. Kannada newspapers have always written Bengaluru. So, too government communications and signboards in Kannada.

Thanks to our British rulers, officially the cities were referred to in English by their Anglicised versions. Now, the government has issued a gazette notification saying officially too the cities will be known by their actual names.

More precisely, post-November 1 in English communication too, the names of the cities will be known by their local original names.

The names of the cities haven't changed, have they?

Similar was the case of when Madras became Chennai or Calcutta became Kolkata or Trivandrum became Thiruvananthapuram.

The name of the city was and is Chennai. The British in their English communication called the city Madras. Just because many people referred to the city as Madras didn't mean the name of the city was Madras. So is the case with Thiruvananthapuram, or Kochi or Kolkata.

So, let's get this right -- the names of cities don't change. What changes is the way the city is referred to in English.


  1. i think the old names seemed far better. Bombay was far better than Mumbai

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