Bangalore (the city) changing its name? ...now Bengaluru

; Date: Wed Dec 14 2005

Tags: Java

I thought I was done writing about Bangalore, which I was doing with my recent trip there. I wanted to share some "color" about the Java team, and the place (Bangalore) where some of us live. At least, the Bangalore as seen with the eyes of a Westerner.

Today The Register has an article describing how (web.archive.org) Bangalore's city government has decided to rename the town to Bengaluru. I suppose this follows in the footsteps of Bombay renaming itself as Mumbai, and Madras renaming itself to be Chennai.

The origin story of Bangalore, as told by The Register, is in line with what the tourist guides said. Namely, the original name in old Karnataka was "Benda Kaal Ooru" or "boiled beans town" and derives from a King who was lost and some local person showed kindness by giving him some boiled beans to eat.

Since the locals don't speak old Karnataka any longer, the old pronunciation is just as foreign to them as it would be to me. It's going to be interesting to wrap my tongue around Bengaluru when it's so similar to the accustomed Bangalore.

I understand this as the native culture reasserting its true identity. The name "Bangalore" was an anglicization imposed upon them by the British rule. It strikes me how in India the native culture remained strongly enough entrenched that they can reassert the native identity like this.

In the U.S. the native culture was basically wiped off the face of the earth and the remnants have little power to do anything. If in todays time a country did to its native culture what the U.S. government did in the 1800's there'd be a worldwide hue and cry of genocide.

Source: (web.archive.org) weblogs.java.net

Comments

This renaming exercize is merely a political gimmick, David. Native speakers have always called it "Bengaluru" anyways. So there's no need to make it "official". I'm a native of Bangalore, but i've never found the anglicized name offending in any manner. In fact, that name is a reflection of our history and, in my opinion, is of significant heritage value. It also sounds quite elegant to me (despite the fact that Kannada is my native language) . The local dialect will anyways keep "Bengaluru" alive. This whole affair is a waste. I just hope the resolution doesn't go through.

Posted by: bharathch on December 14, 2005 at 10:54 PM

I agree with Bharath, that this is a political gimmick. The city has a lot of diversity and if they really wanted to make the name official why not have more than one official name? I mean the city has prides herself in claiming to be the capital of various industries, fashion, climate, nature etc. Native people call it Bengalure, right now its officially Bangalore, hindi speaking people call it Bangloor, I once saw an anchor in Mtv call her Bun-ga-lore, thats different pronounciation not different spelling! David, hope you don't mind if I use your post in my blog ofcourse with a link back to you

Posted by: jeyavel on December 16, 2005 at 12:17 AM

I think name should be changed to Bengaluru. Its question of dignity. What if it's a political gimmic? It's ok. I m not native of bangalore, so i can't say what native guys feel but in my opinion if name "bangalore" changes to "Bengaluru" others 'll not have any problem with it.

Posted by: daredevil on December 23, 2005 at 10:52 PM

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.