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Make that....Bengalooru Tigers

?? Cisco's new headquarters: Bangalore |


| The Latest BPO Outpost: Guatemala ??

November 01, 2006

Make that....Bengalooru Tigers

Steve Hamm

It's hard to know what to say about the fact that India's Karnataka state has decided to change the name of the country's tech capital from Bangalore to Bengalooru. Of course, this follows in the footsteps of other Indian cities whose names were changed to help erase the stain of colonialism--Bombay to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai, etc. Bangalore was an anglicized name, and Bengalooru is said to be close to the original place name, Bendakalooru, in the region's native language, Kannada. Bendakalooru means town of boiled beans. Why the powers that be didn't go all the way and change the name to Bendakalooru, I can't guess. ;-)

India's techies are none too pleased about the switch. They spent more than a decade building Bangalore into a global brand that packs some of the punch of California's Silicon Valley. "It's a really bad idea. It's like changing the name New York to Newark," says P.V. Kannan, CEO of business process outsourcer 24/7 Customer. But Kannan figures he'll eventually get used to it. He's from Madras, and at first refused to use the new name. But, now, it's Chennai to him, too.

Just in case you're wondering, I have no intention of changing the name of my book (in later editions) or my blog. I like Bangalore and I'm sticking to it.

01:54 PM


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Its politics and nothing else :)

Posted by: Anush Shetty at November 2, 2006 05:52 PM

Indian population is already hopelessly divided along lines of caste, creed, language, sect, religion and economic pedigree. One sometimes wonders if India is a sovereign nation or a group of sovereign states accidentally sharing common borders. Why are state governments obsessed in rechristening their cities and towns in the name of cultural symbolism? Are they not exacerbating the divide further? Bengaluru has always been cosmopolitan in nature, despite its rich cultural heritage. In fact with rapid urbanization, almost all major cities are. Today, one ceases to find a city to be culturally different in its current pattern of human activity from any another city to warrant a unique cultural identity.

Culture is all about sharing a common set of values for human conduct and observing a common set of norms of human activity. Linguistic, ritualistic differences, monumental architecture or food habits cannot form strong bases of socio cultural identities. Labeling a town based on its archeological or religious heritage like Benares may make sense from a tourist point of view but not a city like Bangalore which is a hub of heightened economic activity. Especially when its participants come from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In fact re-labeling could infuse a sense of alienation among those who do not speak the local dialect. It is linguistic fanaticism taken to its extremes.

Posted by: saveindiacampaigner at November 3, 2006 03:02 AM

a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? as they say in namma bengalooru, solpa adjust maadi, sir! (adjust a little, sir). If it makes some people happy let's go with it. Changing names is a worldwide trend - personally don't see the point, but it is obviously important to some people to put the colonial past behind us. and let me run and change my blog url to beantownbabe before that's gone!

Posted by: lilian at November 3, 2006 11:17 AM

Under normal circumstances I wouldn't mind the name change. After all, it's their right. However, when you take into account all of the time, money and energy that has been put into making the world equate Indian technological excellence with the name "Bangalore", this politically-motivated re-branding is a wrong move. P.V. Kannan said it would be like changing "New York" to "Newark"; as a matter of fact, it would be like changing "New York" to "New Amsterdam", or, even more, like changing it back to whatever name the Leni Lenape tribe called the place before the white man showed up.

Regardless, it is a wrong move. The city fathers should reconsider.

Posted by: J. Alabi at November 4, 2006 01:55 AM

One way to handle this is as rechristening a brand.

Lately, there has been few signs of slowing investment in Bangalore, due to reasons like poor infrastructure, which are threatening the city's position as a primary global IT destination. Those who try to change the name should also work on infrastructure and other things lacking. That will make the rechristening more meaningful.

Posted by: Karthi at November 6, 2006 08:00 AM

Now, Indian companies are inspiring management best-sellers!

Read on...

Jay, from Bangalore

Posted by: Jayakumar Hariharan at November 6, 2006 09:29 AM

Name Change reflects spirit of Local Culture

Changing the name of Bangalore to Bangaloru will not affect its image. It is utter nonsense to say that Bangalore is a brand. It is not a commodity to be wrapped under a brand to market it. The tragedy is that the market driven globalised world has sttopped seeing persons, places and things in their right perspective and would like to know it only in terms of commercial brand value.

It is often said that Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city so it should not change its name. One must ask a question why Bangalore alone has become cosmopolitan and not many other cities in India. It is entirely due to more tolerant and welcoming attitude of the local population among other factors such as good climatic and peaceful environment. It is becasue of this attitude of the locals that many from outside the state could come and stay here without feeling that they are outsiders. Now they can not use this against the locals to say that it is a cosmopolitan city so there should not be name change. Those who have come from other states should respect the local sentimens and emotionally bond with them in creating harmonious environment so that neither of them feel threatened or alienated.

Posted by: Prakash at November 7, 2006 11:06 PM

oy vey... every city changed it's name after I moved out, I'd better stay put in SF for a while else it might become San Jose.

Posted by: niti at November 8, 2006 09:34 PM

ya,It's correct ,it will take time to adjust with bengaloru,India is great,we should respect our culture.after all what's there in name!

Posted by: Ashish at December 12, 2006 02:27 AM

Only major city which hasn't changed it's name in India now seems to be New Delhi (in Hindustani, it too is Dil-lee).. I don't know what people gain out of renaming stuff, don't they've better things to do (and me writing this post)?

Posted by: SKy at February 22, 2007 01:27 AM

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