The other day I happened to see U R Anantha Murthy (for the uninitiated, he is a Kannada novelist and won a Jnanpith for Samskaara a while back) at the airport and was reminded of the impending name change – starting this November, the English name of Bangalore will be changed to BengaLuru.
My fundamental issue with this name change is that not too many people in the world can actually pronounce “BengaLuru”. The capitalization of the L is not a typo, because it is not the normal ‘l’ sound. This sound is produced from the top of the palate (similar to T in Tomato or D in Do)and I have so far observed it in only a handful of languages (kannada, malayalam, marathi, etc.). ‘L’ is not an easy sound to produce unless you’ve been speaking it since childhood, and this will mean that a large number of people won’t be able to pronounce “BengaLuru” accurately.
In this context, does it make any difference if it is called Bangalore or Bengaluru (note that i haven’t capitalized the l here)? The Kannada name has always been BengaLuru, and will remain so. What joy will we get by changing from an inaccurate name to a hopelessly mispronounced one? Kannadiga pride? no way, the average Kannadiga doesn’t care for the English name of the city.
It’s just a gimmick and will waste millions of VAT money in painting signboards, official whatever and so on. Thought the government has better things to do than this!