Thursday, July 7, 2016


            Sometimes I wonder whether it makes any difference with name of a person or place or even for a thing because the basic objective behind naming is to identify. It looks very simple in practice, but,   it is not so. For naming a child you require lot of research, consultation with the astrologers and of course your own choice. It becomes the sole prerogative of the parents to give you the name to live all through your life.
Naming process is very peculiar in our country I may recall my days in Bombay when I first landed there and the Govt. Offices were not satisfied with my first name with surname and insisted on full name means the name of my father should come after my name. In Kerala it is mother’s name, which is prominent. In number of places it is a common practice to add the home town name just to identify or to recognise so as to link him to the town. It is understandable since it shows your affinity, love, affection, belongingness and owning your birth place. Kaifi Azmi, Jigar Moradabadi, Shakeel Badauni, Firaq Gorakpuri, Josh Maliabadi, Naqsh Lialpuri, Sahir Ludhiyanvi and Hasrat Jaipuri these are all poets who made their mark all over the world and identified themselves with their birth place.

            As a matter of fact man need not give his name the people are there to name such as Gandhi, Bapu, Netaji, Panditji, Sardar, Lala, Deshbandhu, Gurudev, Acharya, Lok Nayak, Babuji in a sense great people are there who have been given name by us much different to their real name. We need not have the real name with us but we all know them because of their works. You say mother and the name of Mother Teresa will come in your mind. Don’t forget in today’s world even the word Laloo is famous as one and only one person of his kind.

            The question remains that a man is known because of his qualities, works and virtues and if he is famous, then it becomes immaterial as to what is his name because in any case he has to be known by some name. See Shakespeare or John Keats, William Wordsworth, Mark twain they were ought to be known by some name because of their works. It is not only in the field of literature but in any field the name is not significant. A young boy was working in a shoe store his name was Abraham Lincoln and he became President of USA his name remained Abraham Lincoln. We know him because he rose to that level. Shah Rukh Khan what a name it would have been? A difficult and uncommon name!  That if, of course, had he not been a super star. Some names look very strange otherwise if not acquired by the celebrities and if those names were not belonging to celebrities they would have been odd names.
Well it is not always true that names are not significant when it comes to places, animals, birds and books. Great amount of research is involved when we name such things.

We observe certain characteristic features so that the name has got similarity and can be identified easily. The idea is that the names should give resemblance or it should derive from that thing more so it should relate.
All I have said above is meaningful but let us come as to  how things are twisted for gains,  when it comes to naming the places, buildings, roads and parks in big towns  specially metropolis. Let us discuss something about Bombay say Mumbai. Bombay was a state had its own Currency, Chief Minister and what not. People used to feel honoured by saying ‘we are Bombay-ites’.   Bombay was reduced to a town when Maharashtra came into existence and now sees how we remembered Mumba Devi after centuries to re-name it as Mumbai though ‘Mumbai-ite’ is funny. Is it not?

One really wonders when people try to change history. We have a long legacy of British. As a matter of fact numbers of towns have been created by them on the footing of heritage values. There was always a purpose for naming a particular thing whether it is Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Fountain, Hanging Garden, Colaba and so on. Even Dalal Street signifies share brokers. Bori Bandar was renamed as Victoria Terminus which has further been renamed as Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus but the people have forgotten to remove the Victoria Statue on top of it. It is really a joke when we ask at the ticket counter for “Two V.T.’s please”, now can you ask for “Two Chhatrapati Shivaji please”. We are here to honour the Great Lives and not to insult them. How many people know the names of new flyovers, nobody, knows because Bandra flyover is Bandra flyover. Band Stand is still Band Stand. Now, check the General Knowledge of a  Bombay-ite whether he can give you the re-named version of Pedder Road, Kala Ghoda, Princess Street, Dhobi Talab, Kalba Devi, Church Gate, Prince of Wales Museum, Crawford Market and so on. Marine Drive has got the new name but it is still famous in the night as the Queen’s necklace. K.E.M. (King Edward Memorial Hospital) is not going to lose its history by renaming it. I don’t know whether by the time your read this article it may be renamed.

With the change of the Govt. there is a general tendency of changing names. It was Santa-Cruz Airport and Sahar Airport one is domestic and the other International then it was announced to be named after Jawaharlal Nehru but now in spite, of being named as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport people prefer to call Santa Cruz and Sahar and the whole purpose of naming is lost when we cut short the name as CSI Airport. Juhu Aerodrome as we still call it because it is situated in Juhu. I don’t know why it remained to be renamed.  We have in Bombay Bhindi Bazaar and Chor Bazaar but without any Bhindi and Chor in these markets. Try to remember Prince of Wales Museum as Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastusangrahalaya. Yes it is the new name. There are number of Chawpatties in Bombay but when it comes to the real it signifies to Girgaon Chawpatty only.

            I don’t know why people can’t find new names for new places. First, it was Delhi, then it became New Delhi there was Bombay they made New Bombay. They could have easily retained Bombay for New Bombay and let Bombay be renamed as Mumbai. This prefix of old and new shows that we do the things in haste or we don’t have the time and vision to create a new name.

            It will be endless if I keep discussing Bombay let me shift to Delhi and its adjoining. Okhla is a big industrial place of Delhi, in 70’s it was decided to develop Industrial Township by Uttar Pradesh Govt. on the borders of Delhi. Numbers of villages were acquired and to govern the activity a regulatory body was formed with an appropriate name. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority since the name was long people started calling it as NOIDA. Let me tell you one more thing that I read somewhere NOIDA Development Authority it is quite silly at first instance you can’t name a place after an Authority and now it is Authority over the Authority. What can you call; NOIDA is still NIODA in spite of being named Gautam Buddha Nagar. Now Greater NIODA is also there. I don’t know why people can’t find new names for new places.
Baring a few places like Nehru Place, Connaught Place renamed as Rajeev place stayed as Connaught Place, Curzon Road though renamed as Kasturba Gandhi Marg is still known as Curzon Road same is the case of Hailey Road, Kingsway Camp and Wellesley Road the list is endless. Delhi is fortunate to have the status of being the capital of Moguls because the names of the monuments could not be changed. Some how we developed a hatred for the British era and not for the Moguls and there had been no objection for heritage buildings after the Moguls. On the other hand there are famous roads like Akbar Road, Aurangazeb Road, and Lodhi Road and so on. We could not see the statue of King George facing India Gate I don’t know why Gandhi’s Statue could not be placed there.

            See Irwin Hospital with new name Lok Nayak Jayprakash Narayan Hospital we call it LNJP Hospital with this abbreviation the basic objective is lost to remember Lok Nayak. Willington Hospital is Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. But Lady Harding Medical College was left and only it has Sucheta Kriplani Hospital. For  Harding Bridge of-course the new name Tilak Bridge  is fortunately in practice. Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, and Lal Killa it is all there. I don’t know how much we loved with Safdarjung. There is Safdarjung Airport, Safdarjung Hospital and there may be a tomb after his name. See Palam Airport it became Delhi Airport and now Indira Gandhi International Airport say IGI. What do you understand with IGI? Soon it is going to become a general knowledge question.

What I feel that you can’t change names of the places once people don’t want it or they feel comfortable with old names. Dhaula Kua will remain without any well here.  Inter state Bus terminus as it is called ISBT. I wonder if like NOIDA tomorrow you may find ISBT Development Authority or Greater ISBT may come there.
Some politicians prefer to create new Districts like in Uttar Pradesh in early 70’s there were only 40 districts and today I think it must be over 80. Of-course mostly the names of the towns were retained with some changes, Kashi to Banaras to Varanasi, Paryag to Allahabad which may come back to Paryag. Cawnpore to Kanpur. King George Medical College, Lucknow  commonly known as KGMC doctors still feel pride to call them from KGMC definitely, it has gathered so much reputation that they don’t want to compromise with the name. Roorkee Engineering College with no short name has student’s forum Roorkerians even in USA. They were afraid of change of name so without wasting time it was made Indian Institute of Technology i.e. IIT, Roorkee. Great, going big.
            Let us see South India Mysore was a state reduced to capital and now a town only. Madras was also a state which became capital and now with Chennai Madras is nowhere except Madras Airport with Anna and Kamraj Terminals. Trivandrum has become Thiruvanantapuram. Bengal is fortunate it had 16 to 17 districts at the time of Independence and today it has only 18. Midnapore was the biggest district in South Asia which has been bi-furcated into east and west. It seems that in Bengal we like east and west. Tell me if there is any significance in retaining the name as West Bengal. It had the sense before Independence when Bengal was a big province. After the Independence East Pakistan was created it was quite logical but thereafter it should have been Bengal only because West has lost its relevance.
Let us discuss Calcutta; it is a town undoubtedly can be called as cultural capital of the Country. Human Values, sentiments are Supreme. Intellectualness, talent came as part of legacy from Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore. *Like Mumbai Calcutta to Kolkata is also having a unique history it took more than half century after independence to change the name. There are different stories behind it. People say there was a big jungle having Kalighati and Kali statue was situated there. People use to do puja there and from this the name Kalikata came. Another story says that there was a kalidaha (lake), which made it Kolikata. Another story says that a foreigner was passing through when he saw a farmer in the rice field he asked the name of the place  in his own language which was understood as “Dhan Kab Kata” by the farmer and in due course of time the pronouncement made by the farmer made the name Kolkata.

Seeing the buildings of the city and infra-structure we can still visualize that it was Capital of India during British regime. Because we loved the history. We are sentimental about the old things. Though new development came with great speed but the legacy and heritage was valued Fort William, Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Grand Hotel, High Court, Bengal Club, Race Course, Calcutta Club, Nizam Palace have not been changed more over they have been maintained. Calcuttian’s never believed in changing history. Well names of the roads have been changed but still Royd Street, Park Street, Elliot Road are there. Again, the abbreviations are working here Dalhousie was renamed to pay tribute to freedom fighters Binoy, Badal, Dinesh it is being called as B.B.D. Bag. Tell me how many people remember these names and their patriotism if you are going with the abbreviations only then why to have big names I can’t really digest this concept but you can’t help it since it’s the same everywhere whether it is Bombay, Delhi or Calcutta too where words have got meaning. I remember the old saying that “words have got no meaning of their own it is we, who give meanings to the words.”

            Calcuttian’s care for heritage buildings, the roads are having historical significance you may change the names of the roads but it never effects VIP Road is renamed as Kaji Nazrul Islam Sarani now keep this question to be answered for general knowledge. See the entire VIP Road having a stretch of 5 kms. or more and read the boards you will find everywhere VIP Road only. Ultadanga, Kakurgachi, Phoolbagan, Manicktala these are all in the memory of Calcuttians nobody feels the necessity for having a change in these names after all names are there to identify a thing as  I said  in the beginning mover over, these names are having a great basis that too a logical one.

            Now I will tell you a very surprising thing near the Airport you will find the names of the places as Gate No.1, Gate No.2 and Gate No. 2 1/2 , Gate No.3, Gate No.4 and so on upto Gate No.8. People are very comfortable with these names. Don’t you feel it is unique in itself? Come to Salt Lake nobody changed its name the place is quite lucky in that sense. Now people call the intersection, roundabouts as island and still they never get confused these are in fact landmarks. Now, your address in Salt Lake as near Tank No.8, Tank No.1 and Tank No.2 etc.

            Calcutta is having the oldest International Airport of the Country which was known as Dum Dum Airport now don’t ask me how this Dum Dum name came into existence since the entire area even the metro station is known as Dum Dum. It was a great tribute     to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that this Airport was named after him but, what is the use since you still apply the abbreviation NSCBI Airport creating a new general knowledge question.
            I think it is enough on naming re-naming and what not. Let me take another dimension of this old business. Think about the consequences in terms of the financial loss, time involved in the process of changing names, new sign boards, new stationery, notices, advertisements and above all stone laying ceremonies, functions and just calculate gains to the people especially when they still prefer to use the old names in letter and spirit.

            After all let us have some realization, let us be creative and innovative for naming new places, buildings when we don’t require naming people because their works give their names as mentioned earlier and great lives make their names with the good deeds.

            This article can never be complete in the present scenario in the country a day will come when it will become a matter of research when somebody will go deep into the genesis of this concept. Any takers for doing research to have a doctorate?


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