Friday, November 03, 2006

Have reason, change city name


First the sublime. The pic above is not a spoof, but a reproduction of a classified ad that WAS published.

No, there’s no ridiculous, there’s more sublime. Name changes and more on name changes.

There’s a reason why name changes get on my nerves. I grew up In Calcutta, (since changed to Kolkata) on Moira Street (it still is called that) which was linked to Loudon Street (since transformed to Dr. U.N. Brahmachari Sarani, I think) and Rawdon Street (now Sarojini Naidu Sarani). If name changes were something I couldn’t understand, imagine the shock when I discovered that there was a Road Renaming Department at Calcutta Corporation. Really.

That’s why the post on Bangalore’s name change.

But it’s time to apologise to Bengalooru. Because name changing is not something that happens only for frivolous reasons like a vote bank; it’s been done enough times with only commercial benefit in mind, I learnt.

Some for pure marketing reasons, some from a distinct fascination for sport, some out of pure avarice. Some illustrations are delightful examples at how to put an unknown town or city on the map, and marketers in India could surely borrow from the list below. And, lest I forget, this whole post borrows heavily from wikipedia.

A town called Dhoom 2 or Sholay? Why not? Hot Springs, New Mexico changed its name to Truth or Consequences when Truth or Consequences host Ralph Edwards announced that he would do the show from the first town that renamed itself after the popular radio programme. Ekta Kapoor could explore such an option when launching her next big show. Or ADAG could rename a town BIG!

Here’s one for Dish TV or for Tata Sky. Clark, Texas, renamed itself Dish after the EchoStar Communications' Dish Network – all 55 households in the town were given free satellite television for 10 years. It might not work in a city like Mumbai or New Delhi, but Tirunelveli? There can’t be more than a few hundred households there.

This one for the BCCI. Actually, the Indian Hockey Federation would benefit more. Buffalo, Texas, temporarily renamed itself Blue Star, Texas in 1993 and 1994 when the Dallas Cowboys faced the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, and later renamed itself Green Star, Texas in 1999 when the Dallas Stars faced the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals (Buffalo is approximately 100 miles southeast of Dallas; in all three instances the supportive name change proved successful for the Dallas-area team).
Imagine. You change the name of the city and you control the result of a major sporting encounter. Mr. Gill?
Alok Kejriwal, Neeraj Roy and Anupam Mittal – chew on this one: Halfway, Oregon, became the first place to accept the money from a dot-com to change its name to match the web site Half.com. Imagine a city called contests2win.com or hungama.com or, God Forbid, shaadi.com. But, hey, who am I to argue if the citizens agree?

Another genre? Love for literature. Pippa Passes, Kentucky, originally Caney Creek but renamed after the Robert Browning poem Pippa Passes (which you ought to read, that’s why it’s linked).

Any suggestions? If Mumbai could be renamed after a great piece of literature, what would you call it?

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