Few days back a sad news showed its face on the first page of the day’s print. They are planning to change the official name of Ahmedabad to Amdavad (even Microsoft Word-spell check shows an error, duh!) and on top of this they say that this is supposed to be a present for the citizens on city’s 600th birthday in 2011. You know this scares me… not because of the gujju-ness of this name or it being the part of the constant gujju-fication the authorities are hell bent to bring on in the state, also not because of the fact that everyone is going global/glocal but the home authorities are turning local in every front, but because of the possibility of coming up of the city’s very own ‘politically motivated’ brigade who would launch verbal/physical attacks if anyone dared call the city ‘Ahmedabad’, just as Bombay’s… oops! Mumbai’s Thackeray brothers and Bangalore’s Ram ‘pink chuddies’ Sene.
Well, jokes apart, what’s wrong with the good ol’ name ‘Ahmedabad’? The change! Is it politically motivated, i.e. is it those overweight/overbribed/corrupt politicians or the CM who want the de-Islamicised ‘Amdavad’ instead of ‘Ahmed-abad’ (if you know what I mean) or it is really culturally motivated, if its the latter then I have no issues but I strongly doubt it.
Anyway, this brings us to a larger question: Do we need to change the names of places? Of cities? Of countries, even? Change is good but sometimes it makes the place lose it’s charm (and identity), obviously even more number of times it gives a new identity, take for example New York, who knows it by its old name ‘New Amsterdam’ or who calls Sri Lanka as Ceylon today? But talking particularly about Ahmedabad I don’t feel this change should take place. For those who call it ‘Amdavad’ it is going to remain Amdavad only whatever be the official name-‘Karnavati’ or ‘Ahmedabad’! But looking from a not-so-regional-front its bad, very bad. Remember when Bangalore was to be named Bengaluru many voices were raised about losing the classy appeal of the city globally, and even Bombay, many people still confuse the names, I remember on BBC World Service’s India week this question was raised by someone from London ‘Is it Bombay or Mumbai?’ It takes a generation to get accustomed to a new name but with similar sounding names it gives rise to utter confusion… and expenses galore.
So should I start calling it Amdavad, NO, NEVER and you too should not!!