20 October 2006

Bengaluru - Fetch me a glass of milk!

The day Bengaluru will be called by its name and when the colours of colonialism have faded, I will be so much satisfied. A feudatory of the Vijayanagara Empire and called Bengluru by my ancestors is an international city that truly deserves its own name.

It pains me to read those who say that the city is being renamed. No. A common name is being officially declared to clear the confusion. It is called Bangalore in English, Bangalour in Hindi and Bengaluru in Kannada.

Locals have sovereign right to call their cities by their own name. Imposing the name liked by the immigrants to the city can at best be undemocratic. I did not know until I was 16 that the capital city of my province was also called Bangalore. It smacks of intolerance when immigrants from other parts of India hate local culture and disrespect the language. I have been humiliated in Bengaluru for speaking the language of my mother. A native can not be a sitting duck, when his own language is being disrespected in the capital of his province.

Today the name of my country to the English educated is India. There is no harm in calling us what others call us. We should not forget what we call ourselves. Germans always call themselves Deutsch. Dutch are from Nederland. Belgians are from Koninkrijk Belgie. The French call themselves Français. The sacred Sahyadri mountain ranges are a strange name! Western Ghats are a more familiar name.

It is for us to learn respecting freedom of the people. Respect everything that contributes to the identity as something of value. I do not want New Delhi to be Hosa Dehali (as in Kannada). But I would vociferously protest those who think that Bengaluru is not trendy and the city does not deserve to be called by the simple yet soothing name.
Eight years ago I was standing in one of the bus stops in Bengaluru. A smartly clad guy, who until now was talking in Kannada, asked me if the bus in front goes to the Bengaluru city centre. I said, "Yes, It does" and turned to my brother. I was wondering why he was asking me, a man who has just seen the city a day before. My brother pointed towards the rubber slipper I wore. He said, "Your rubber slipper told him that you can read Kannada"!

Fetch me a glass of milk, now my capital will be called in my mother's language.
Ragu Kattinakere

4 comments:

  1. At least Bombay has changed its name...from the Portuguese Bom Baia... :)

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  2. Anonymous1:04 am

    :) I completely agree and support your thoughts. As I myself never say bangalore rather I call it "bengLuru" :) its always nice and fun to be original.

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  3. Yes, very few Indians living in Urban environment understand the folk attitude and its depths. Very few in the villages today understand the urban freedom. You are not alone. Think of how North-Easterners feel everytime someone judges them for their ethinicities, Sikhs feel when some constantlu jokes on them; tribals feel when they wear their ethnic dresses in cities; the poor feel when the secuitry guards/police/etc. do not take a moment to raise their hands. And India is so diverse that its hard to list all the sensitivities hurt in so many years.

    Bangalore/Mumbai are two most attractive cities in India whose landscape has significantly changed versus its state identity. The problem is that there are only 2 of such kinds. If there were another 05 like this - which a country of a size like India should have we all would be less concerned about the issues of today.

    I have been Bengaluru since 20 years, settling here since this was the closest city to my IDentity following my army family background (no roots, 3 years max in one place). And I always detested people who are condescending to the local culture. But I also think we should not let this situation turn negative and destructive to oneself - of which there are no major signs yet. Anyways what will happen will happen. One can just be fair to the few people in our face and not the entire world...

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