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 !


prabukarthik said...

I dont know who attained what moksha with this name change...

city names english la irukaradhu in my view reflects the fact that we are ruled by the british.. which is a fact.. and no amount of jingoism is gonna change this fact!

Do the americans ever worry abt changing Los angeles to something more 'english' so that the mexican flavor is hidden??

namba politicans ku moolai valarchi kammi

Ganesh said...


Prabhu I still use Madras when sending mails from here.

Narayanan Venkitu said...


Interesting post...!

Tell me any politician or Law maker who has the brain in the right place ? What do they care about implications when the do these stupid gain traction in politics.

Tell me, what did these politicians achieve by renaming the cities? Any major improvements?


Jeevan said...

This changes in name will confuse those unknowing the old and new names of cities. In politics what they did in their rule matters, then who cares about these mistakes.

Aravind said...

i guess people must have come to some conclusion that the names of these indian cities keep changing every now and then and to address this they need to make software changes in their system and so better not to change them at all cos everyone knows where they send their mails and all the names of that city.

ravi said...

Madras is always Madras, no matter whoever changes it or calls it otherwise.

Changes are so much irritating and make life more difficult . I always say Madras as I'm used to from childhood but people around me frown as I've uttered some obscene word.

Well, If you don't like british names or anything done by british then, why do you still celebrate Jan 1st as New year? We have seperate Tamil New Year right? Why don't you destroy the high courts, railway tracks constructed by british & reconstruct from the start? Sounds stupid right... Same way, It sounds stupid to change from Madras to Chennai when both co-existed without any problem. Now , only Chennai exists . where's my magnificent Madras? My DOB Certificate lists it as Madras. A'm I born in a city which does not exist? These changes promote regionalism & not nationalism… which will ultimately result in a separate Country ThamizlNadu(Once known as the State of Madras).

Don't know where will it End?