Indian city of Bangalore to be renamed Bengaluru

Monday, January 23, 2006

Marking the growing trend in the rise of Indian nationalism, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Karnataka, Dharam Singh, has announced that the state government will rename Bangalore to its pre-colonial name, Bengaluru, taking effect from November 1, 2006. The change was suggested by U. R. Ananthamurthy, best known for winning the Jnanpith literary award.

Many industrial leaders in Bangalore have declared opposition to this name change. "I am absolutely opposed to the name change. The Karnataka government should concentrate on spending money to bring about constructive change rather than wasting a huge amount of money in funding a petty, parochial political initiative," said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon chairperson and managing director and India's richest woman, and also made a statement of possible explanation with the comment "The truth is that whenever a government considers itself weak in certain regions and thinks it is falling down, it whips up parochial sentiments.” She described the basis of her objection with the comment "Bangalore has a global brand name worth billions of dollars," and further stated that "As it is the Karnataka government says it is short of funds. Why waste it on meaningless things?"

Bangalore has a reputation as "India's Silicon Valley."

Other cities to be renamed recently were Chennai (formerly Madras), Mumbai (formerly Bombay), and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

The move follows other cities in India being reverted to their traditional Indian names, following independence from the United Kingdom.