May 26, 2008

Why can't you write- Madras ?

I had been to an USPS post office here to mail a package to Chennai , India and here are the conversations that i had with the postal clerk [PC].

PC: How may i help you ?
I : I need to send this package to India.. How many days would it take for international delivery ?
PC :India...Must take about 15 days or so....depends on which town or village know..
I :Its a major city in India..Chennai
PC :[ she scrolls the Indian city names and could not find Chennai]
PC: I can't find this city..
I: [Puzzled...] Try Madras
PC: it is...Why can't you write Madras in your mail instead of this city..
I: The name of this city had been changed a decade ago...Both are same...
PC: Oh.. [then she checks the postage cost for my package-Completed the transaction]
I: Am just curious..can you scroll for Bangalore /Bombay..?
PC: Yes...[I get to see the computer screen]
I :Thank You...

I could not find Chennai ,Bengaluru ,Mumbai or Kolkata in the list...The cities were still listed as Madras, Bangalore,Bombay, Calcutta.

Here is my question :-
I understand that the names of these cites has been changed by our honorable politicians to reflect their historical and linguistic relevance. But, when they propose such a name change, do they ever bother about the international effects on such name change? Aren't there international conventions based on which city names are referred to and has our government made efforts to notify the international countries of such a change ?
Chennai airport is still MAA and Mumbai airport-BOM. IS this a false sense of pride that we Indians carry to the international community ? Please share your thoughts !