Sunday, 18 May 2008

First correct your own anglicised name Mr Bal Thackeray!

At last, somebody* had the guts to say it to Bal Thackeray, the cartoonist-turn-politician of Maharashtra who feels that Mumbai is his fiefdom and that nobody else had a role to play in creating the Cosmopolitan, which it is today.

After his nephew's fascistic programme to divide the society on regionalistic lines, Thackeray has also repeated the same line. Shiv Sainiks want Bombay Dyeing, Bombay Stock Exchange (BEST) and Bombay Scottish School to drop the Bombay and change it to Mumbai.

I am staying at a hotel in Allahabad and find a shop bearing the name 'Nagpur dry cleaner'. One of his ancestors may have come to this City in search of livelihood and named the shop after his hometown. It also looks good to eye but a North Indian can't afford to do that in Mumbai in 21st century.

The Banarasi Pan Bhandar-wala in Mumbai changes the name to Mumbai pan bhandar to escape the rowdies of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Shiv Sena. And even Bombay, the old name of the City, is an anathema to them.

Why? Just because it is colonial? Even Bal Thackeray's name is colonial
, the spelling being that of British author Willam Thackeray who wrote Vanity Fair, an English classic. Why doesn't Shiv Sena supremo change it first to Thakre?

Vir Sanghvi*, in his column Couterpoint, in Hindustan Times, asks this question. It takes guts to say that. After all, Indian journalists who love to take digs at politicians really don't have the nerve to take the name of Thackeray sans Saheb.

From Bal Thackeray, he becomes Bala Saheb Thackeray just because his men can take law in their hands. The City and the nation have had enough of this drama. The uncle and nephew are trying to outwit each other in rhetoric. At this rate they may someday demand that the name of the country, India, should also be changed as it is also given to us by British.

The name, Bombay, was changed to Mumbai. Now, as Sanghvi writes, it should happen at its pace and not in such a manner. He ends his piece with the line, 'We are certainly not changing any more names only because he can’t handle his nephew'.

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