Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Language Capers... ! (Part-IV)

Author's Note: Read the 1st part here, the 2nd part here and the 3rd part here.

Recently the US President Barack Hussein Obama II made a trip to India that was billed as a state visit. It received the usual wide-eyed, over-the-top coverage from the members of the fourth estate. Even though namma Bangalore/Bengaluru was on his itinerary initially... he decided to skip it finally... after the kar-nataka brand of 'jataka tales' unfolded. (He chose to land in Mumbai. Perhaps he needed some "chavan-prash"!) If you think it was namma Bangalore/Bengaluru's loss... think again! Actually Barack Saar's visit was very high profile, and was more about selling $12 billion of defense equipment to India... which he did. Three cheers for Barack Singh... Salesman of the year! He also succeeded in persuading Indians to drink more Coca Cola and Pepsi; eat more junk food from KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner, Domino's, etc; watch more Hollywood flicks and listen to eardrum-splitting cacophony in the name of music! But he himself missed out on listening to Radio Mirchi - Sakkath Hot Maga. Ummm... maybe he prefers Lady Gaga! What??

Being the wordsmith or rather the wizard of words that he is... Barackanna deftly refused to mention the 'P' word... while talking about terrorism... particularly 'cross border terrorism'. Actually it does not suit American interests at the moment to do so. You see... they still have to sell more than $12 billion worth of defense equipment to the "land of the pure"... in the name of the "Global War on Terror" (GWOT)... which Barackanna's administration tried to rechristen as "Overseas Contingency Operation" in March 2009.

If he had not chosen to skip Bangalore... he would have real­ized... it is a maze of phases, sec­tors, lay­outs, blocks, crosses and mains that is sup­posed to make life eas­ier for everyone. Barack Saar (ferried around in a black Cadillac - dubbed 'Barack Mobile') and the six heavily armoured cars that follow him around the country would have spent quite a lot of time get­ting lost and find­ing their way again. Imagine the frenzied media activity and "Breaking News"... !! Now lets look at what Barackappa and Michelleamma missed by not coming to namma Bangalore/Bengaluru:

1. By not coming to Bangalore... Barack Saar will never get to learn about the cryptic "Swalpa Adjust Madi"! He will also remain in the dark about the even more cryptic and indrajal magic like "Swalpa Adjust Kalmadi"!

2. By not coming to Bangalore... Barackanna will remain forever clueless w.r.t the the non-verbal cue used by the kannadigas. I mean the shake of the head... the most confusing element of the kannada language/in a conversation. The kannadigas shake their heads when they say 'yes'... promising to do what they have been asked to do. All the while tracing an 'eight' in the air with their shaking heads. Barackanna would never know that the concept of nodding just ceases to exist as soon as one crosses the Vindhyas! He would also have been overwhelmed by the concern of the locals... to know whether he has had his coffee (kaapi), lunch or dinner... at any time of the day... even midnight and beyond! By not coming to Bangalore, Barackappa will remain unaware that... this is the kannadigas version of "hello".

3. By not coming to Bangalore while worrying about jobs in Buffalo being "Bangalored", namma Baracku won't know that the jobs are actually being "Bengalurued", thanks to U.R. Ananthamurthy.

4. By not coming to Bangalore, Barackanna will fail to understand that the government of Karnataka gives away Rajyotsava awards even more whimsically than the Alfred Nobel foundation did in Oct., 2009.

5. By not coming to Bangalore, Nobel laureate Barackaiah will not know that the Vidhana Soudha... the seat of the government of Karnataka... is filled with 'no-bail laureates'.

6. By not coming to Bangalore, "change agent" Barackaiah won't know that the BMTC conductors have always insisted on "change you can believe in" before you board the bus. And that the auto drivers refuse to return/give back the "change they believe in". As for the beggars... "chillar illa" (no change) is the password!

7. By not coming to Bangalore, Barackappa missed out on an "innovative" lesson regarding "conservation of nature". That no matter how many trees are cut in the name of "development"/metro rail, etc... the green cover will not shrink. How?? By painting the autos green! Elementary, My Dear Barackappa!

8. Barackaiah is worried about the rising unemployment in Uncle Sam country... and jobs getting outsourced to India. Namma Bangalore to be more precise. If only he had spent a few minutes in Bangalore... he would have known the "open secret" of generating continuous employment opportunities. Achieved by digging up roads and pavements every alternate month! Apart from keeping the sewers/drains permanently clogged and allowing garbage to pile up, that is.

Methinks... he is more worried about his job getting outsourced... errrr am-bushed in two years' time!

9. He did not get to see the 8th wonder of the world - Bangalore Traffic Jams... and the colourful language used by folks stuck in one. Therefore, Barackswamy missed out on witnessing "freedom of speech" in action! Barack Saar is a self-confessed fan of Gandhiji. But he remains unaware of how the "father of the nation" comes to the aid of his "children"... to jump the queue or get out of a traffic jam... among others, of course. The "miraculous power" of a blue, green or pink "Gandhiji" will be lost on him. "Gandhi-giri" works and how! Sadly... Barackji wasn't able to witness its all-pervading influence.

10. By not coming to Bangalore and meeting the Reddy brothersulu, Barackri has lost a manch powerful/valuable chance to know that all trade barriers can be easily surmounted by simply shifting the borders... or even the "goal post".

11. By not coming to Bangalore and meeting the genius-shris behind "Operation Lotus", Barackshri will go back without the wisdom that that what he really needs to shore himself up is "Operation POTUS".

12. By not coming to Bangalore, Barackgaaru won't know that the Rs 900 crore per day bill he is running up during his visit, would have easily fetched the loyalty of a couple of dozen MLAs for three months.

13. By not coming to Bangalore and meeting B.S. Yediyurappa aka BSY, Barackappa, whose Democratic party has suffered a drubbing, has missed picking up a "priceless" lesson in political management. BSY might have also shared a few tips regarding the "art and science" of clinging on to the chair at all costs... come what may. Or rather... making it appear as if the chair was one's body part!

14. Had he met namma BSY... he might have got to know the "secret" of making everyone address him as BHO and not as Barack Hussein Obama. This would have ended all speculations regarding his religion/faith... and put to rest all rumours about his birthplace. Matter finished! He wouldn't have had to get annoyed and resort to saying, "I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead." It would have given the "birthers" who keep questioning either the existence or the validity of his Hawaiian birth certificate... some serious "birth pangs". Or is it "berth pangs"...??

15. Barackappa also won't know the "brahmastra" to wriggle out of tricky situations, to remain not out... on a sticky wicket, and to come out flashing the 'V' sign while displaying all of one's pearly off-whites... if cornered. The "brahmastra" or rather "foolproof strategy" is copyrighted by the one and only BSY. Which is... turning on the tap of the inexhaustible reservoir of "salty water" at full force... as and when the need arises. Plus using gulabi (pink), neela (blue) and peela (yellow) Gandhiji as a "strategic brahmastra".

16. He missed out on "knowledge transfer" and an "intellectually stimulating discussion" regarding kannada language and culture with the "Kannada Rakshana Vedike" aka KRV (translated: Save Kannada Forum), the "Kannada Gadi Horata Samiti" helmed by the maverick MLA Vatal Nagraj and the "Akhila Karnataka Gadi Horata Samiti" (an umbrella organization of about 200 pro-Kannada organizations... whose sole aim is the "protection of the state's borders").

17. He let go of a golden opportunity to meet and shake hands... apart from saying "Namaskara Saar" to the "Mannina Magas/Magalus" (read: the sons of the soil of Karnataka)... and learning about their "brilliant plan" to save the proud, dashing and swashbuckling Kannadiga men from being killed in an attack. How?? By employing the "evil North Indians" to man the borders and safeguard their "beloved motherland" Karnataka/Bengaluru. So, if terrorists plan to sneak into Karnataka, these soldiers can and will defend the true-blue Kannadigas... and thereby prevent them from becoming an endangered/extinct species. The "world's oldest democracy" may want to borrow this idea from the "world's largest democracy"... and do an encore on the (so-called) Red Indians and others (especially folks belonging to nations... known for their ancient civilizations or for being the cradle of civilization). This way it can be safely said... that the Red Indians, etc were martyred and not massacred!

18. By not coming to Bangalore, Rockline Barack won't know that "A", "Jackie", "Tsunami", "Y2K", "Raj - The Showman", "Excuse Me", "News", "H2O", "Psycho", "Super" et al are actually titles of films in the language of the locals. And therefore he too possesses a working knowledge of kannada... by default!

19. He missed out on indulging his taste buds with the smackilicious, authentic and piping hot sambar rice, rasam rice, soppina saaru, raagi mudde, puliyogare/tamarind rice, bisi bele bath, mosaranna/curd rice, idli-vada, masala dosa, akki roti, upma-uppittu, et al. Not to forget the delectable Mysore Pak... or rather the 'Mysuru Pak'. This way our very own Kisna would have scored a veritable diplomatic coup. How?? By forcing Barack Mahashay to pronounce the 'P' word... which he so tactfully avoided during his visit!

But... looks like he was left quite tongue-tied by the spread at ITC Maurya's speciality restaurants - DumPukht and Bukhara. The Signature Obama Bukhara Menu consisted of tandoori jhinga, machhli tikka, murgh boti bukhara, reshmi kebab and sikandari raan in the non-vegetarian section and tandoori aloo, tandoori salad, dal bukhara, mixed raita and naan amal in the vegetarian portion. For dessert, the options were phirni, gulab jamun, kulfi and rasmalai. *Drool! Drool!*

An "Obama Platter" or "Obama on a platter"...?? Well... take your pick *wink wink* The "Clinton Platter", named after Bill Clinton following his visit in 2006 and which costs around Rs.5,000, is an aromatic spread of mixed meats, lentils and oven-baked bread. Wonder how much 'Vitamin M' or how many 'Gandhijis' does the "Obama Platter" require...

Mr O (along with Mrs O) also attended a glittering banquet held in his honour by President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan... with the strains of the Bollywood hit number 'Ye Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge' (we will not break this friendship) playing in the background. In namma Bangalore it might have been 'hutti daare kannadadalli huta beku' (even if I die... I would like to be reborn in Karnataka) sung by the late matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar.

20. By not coming to Bangalore, Barackanna has lost a golden chance to know that our darshinis serve better bisi bele bath than Bukhara. And that there is a resort near Yelahanka called 'The White House'. Therefore... he should take immediate measures in order to strengthen the fraternal bond between the "world's oldest democracy" and the "world's largest democracy"... and order the building of a resort in the US of A and call it: 'The Rashtrapati Bhavan'. This may assist in furthering US economic interests (and jobs) in India, sidelining the strategic quotient. You see... commercial deals worth billions... are the new and strongest indicator of "friendship".

21. And by not coming to Bangalore, Michelleamma won't know that for all our outsourcing prowess, pakkada mane Parvathamma does not wear skirts, play hopscotch and is no "Dancing Queen" either... pulling off matkas and jhatkas like a seasoned performer. And she still cannot find a maid when she wants one.

(More later...)

Note: The views expressed here are entirely in good humour and without malice.


Pic (titled: Will Obama bring Change to India) courtesy link.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Language Capers... ! (Part-III)

Author's Note: Read the 1st part here and the 2nd part here.

Though historical references to the city predate 900 AD, a modern written history of continuous settlement exists only from 1537, when Kempe Gowda I (c 1513-1569, c 1510-1570 AD) a vassal of the imperial Vijayanagara Empire built a mud-brick fort at the site and established it as a province of the empire. He is therefore credited with having founded the city of Bangalore in 1537. Kempe Gowda also referred to the new town as his "gandu bhoomi" or "Land of Heroes". His grandson... Kempe Gowda II (ruled from 1585 to 1633 AD) built the four towers that marked the outer most boundaries of Bangalore in 1597 AD. Today the city has grown by leaps and bounds and left the towers behind! They now stand prominently in the heart of the city. He built more than 100 lakes (or rather tanks) and many markets in and around Bangalore. He also built many monuments in and around Bangalore, including the Bull Temple... one of the oldest temples in the city. The temple is dedicated to Nandi, the sacred bull. One of the towers - in Lalbagh - has been rebuilt to look like a temple. The Lalbagh was started by Hyder Ali in 1760 and later completed by Tipu Sultan. This 240 acre landscaped park is home to some very rare species of plants. The 'Glass House' inspired by the 'Crystal Palace' in London, is the venue of an annual Flower show.

The story goes that when Kempe Gowda I was building his new fort (in Bangalore), its southern gate would collapse every night. Astrologers advised him to conduct a human sacrifice (that of a pregnant woman) but Kempe Gowda was reluctant to do so. He refused the offer of his daughter-in-law, who was then in the family way, to sacrifice herself. And then one morning, as the workers went to work on the gate once again, they found it had not collapsed. But nearby they found the body of Lakshmamma, Kempe Gowda's pregnant daughter-in-law, with her head severed. She had killed herself to appease the Gods. A distraught Kempe Gowda is said to have built a temple in Lakshmamma's name... and installed in it the idol of his heroic daughter-in-law. The temple is less than half a kilometre from this memorial in 6th Block, Koramangala.

This poignant story of sacrifice is almost certainly apocryphal. If only some of the Horticulture Department's plans for Lalbagh would also remain so. The Department wants to have a musical fountain and laser show close to the very rock where Kempe Gowda II, grandson of Bangalore's founder Kempe Gowda I, built one of his iconic towers. This is also near the place where archaeologists discovered an Iron Age burial site, 1800 to 3000 years old. The Tower in Lalbagh at the end of Double Road - is on top of a hillock. This is the most visited among all the towers. From here you can actually see the Bangalore Skyline. The tower is on a rock which is very ancient and believed to be 3,000 million years old according to the Geological Survey of India.

The rest of Lalbagh also has a distinguished history. Ever since Hyder Ali set up a formal garden here some 250 years ago, people have always added to its wealth of trees, be it Tipu Sultan or later, the botanists who administered it for the East India Company, the Mysore Maharajas, and after Independence, the new Mysore state government. And it isn't just Lalbagh's halo of history and tradition that should give the Department pause. Have they thought of how laser shows will affect the garden's vibrant birdlife? As it is... even the humble sparrow has turned elusive... in Bangalore these days. Thanks to the vanishing green cover (in the name of metro rail, martyr's memorial, etc) and the closure of lakes to make way for malls, apartments, et al. As several people have suggested, if the government wants musical fountains and laser shows, there are other sites in Bangalore where it might be appropriate. Leave Lalbagh be.

It was during the British rule that the name of the city became anglicised to Bangalore. (See a Citizen Matters article on Bangalore Cantonment). During the British Raj, it became a centre of colonial rule in South India. The establishment of the Bangalore Cantonment brought in large numbers of migrants from other parts of the country.

Today as a large city and growing metropolis, Bangalore is home to many reputed colleges and research institutions. Numerous public sector heavy industries, software companies, biotech firms, high-end hospitals, aerospace, telecommunications, and defence organisations are located in the city. Bangalore is known as the "Silicon Valley of India" because of its position as the nation's leading IT exporter. A demographically diverse city, Bangalore is a major economic and cultural hub and one of the fastest growing major metropolis in India. In the good ol' days (sigh!)... prior to the "developments" of the last 1.5 - 2 decades, Bangalore was a well-laid-out city with many spacious gardens and parks. This earned it the monikers... the "Garden City" and "Pensioners' Paradise". Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and fifth-most populous urban agglomeration. As of 2009, Bangalore was inducted in the list of Global cities and ranked as a "Beta World City" alongside Geneva, Copenhagen, Boston, Cairo, Riyadh, Berlin, to name a few, in the studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008.

The proposal of name change first came up in December 2005, during a meeting of litterateurs at the state's golden jubilee - the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations. Jnanapith award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy mooted that "Bangalore" be renamed "Bengaluru" to mark the occasion. The then Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh welcomed the idea and announced (on 11th December 2005) that it would be done.

On 27 September 2006, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) passed a resolution to implement the proposed name change. On November 1st, 2006 the then CM, H.D. Kumaraswamy announced that it was official (1st November being "Kannada Rajyotsava" every year... or the "Karnataka Formation Day". Literally: "Birth of the Kannada State").

Brief History About Kannada Rajyotsava: India became a Republic in the year 1950 and in the same year linguistic provinces were formed. The state of Mysore is one such state in south India.

The state of Mysore was created taking into fold various parts of the region, which were ruled by kings. Several districts in, now called North Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka were dissolved in the new state. The new state was named after Mysore, which by itself was a princely state. The people (?) of North Karnataka and Hyderabad areas did not accept the name "Mysore"... and demanded a change of name. (Whether that was 'public' opinion or 'publicised' opinion... your guess is as good as mine!) After a prolonged debate the name of the state was changed to "Karnataka" on November 1, 1973.

Late Devaraj Urs... the then Chief Minister of the state took this landmark decision. Officially the new state was born on Nov. 1 and on this day every year "Kannada Rajyotsava" is celebrated... accompanied by songs - via loudspeakers - whose inspiring lyrics go like this, "Singapore hogi alli shopping madonna..." This is also known as "Karnataka Rajyotsava". "Rajyotsava" means "State festival." Some places and state government establishments have a ceremonial state flag hoisting... while most B2B establishments remain closed. If they don't, the "Mannina Magas/Magalus" (read: the sons of the soil of Karnataka)
make their presence felt... all in the name of "protecting" Karnataka and Kannada.

As with any other change, the city's name change has been opposed by many. A few are worried about the city's brand value diminishing, while some say it goes with local culture. Unlike the debates over the name change of most other cities in India (Bombay to Mumbai, Calcutta to Kolkata, Madras to Chennai, Trivandrum to Thiruvanantapuram) and elsewhere in the world (Peking to Beijing, Edo to Tokyo, Constantinople to Istanbul, etc.), the "debate" over the name change of Bangalore is happening at the local, national and global levels.

"Bangalore" had become India's most famous brand. Being "Bangalored" is now part of the global lexicon and comes from the IT and BPO business boom. The question now is how quickly will the world adapt to being "Bengalurued". Wonder what being "Bengalurued" would be like. Any ideas?? Also by not coming to Bangalore (Bengaluru?) while worrying about jobs in Buffalo being "Bangalored", namma Barackanna won't know that the jobs are actually being "Bengalurued", thanks to U.R. Anantha Murthy.

Being a city with a high immigrant population, some media polls show that the majority of the people are not in favour of the name "Bengaluru"/"Bengalooru". One hopes that brand Bangalore will remain intact and that better sense will prevail. This pensioners' paradise of a decade ago (rather a decade and a half) is turning rapidly into its veritable opposite, a baby boom city. Bangalore's demography has changed, it's become young. So a baby boom is inevitable. The influx of youngsters from across the country into Bangalore's IT and BPO businesses is producing what youngsters most typically produce - babies.

From a sleepy township to a bustling metro. From a pensioners' paradise to a happening city. Bangalore has grown by leaps and bounds in the last one-and-a-half decades. The city has catapulted itself on to the world map. However... the city's managers have failed to provide matching infrastructure. They basked in the glory that the software industry brought. They reaped dividends from huge investments and earned big revenue. But they failed to provide adequate power and water supply, good roads, better connectivity, transport planning and traffic management and a corruption-free system. Result: Haphazard growth. Frequent power breakdowns. Inadequate drinking water supply. Garbage dumped everywhere. Chock-a-block vehicular traffic. (Incidentally in 1906, Bangalore became the first city in Asia to have electricity, supplied by the hydroelectric plant situated in Shivanasamudra.) Going forward... the majority of inhabited accommodation will be at or above the tree canopy level... thus paving the way for 'development in the sky'. Big promises are made now and then. But many remain on paper. The will to get going is sadly missing. And I thought... where there is a will... there is a highway! But looks like... where there is a lack of will... there is a metro rail! As Bangalore takes two steps forward, it's forced to take a step backward... or maybe vice versa. Methinks... "BUNGLEuru" is a more apt name and reflects the state of affairs succinctly! What?? Bangalore's infrastructure needs to be improved... and that cannot be achieved by changing its name to "Bengaluru"/"Bengalooru". I'm even willing to discount the "corruption-free system" bit!

(More later...)

Note: The views expressed here are entirely in good humour and without malice.


Pic courtesy: Link.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Language Capers... ! (Part-II)

Author's Note: Read the 1st part here.

The origin of a city's name and its antiquity is of special interest to historians. Infact the name of any city and the changes in it or even its colloquialization have always fascinated people, and "Bangalore" indeed has caught the interest of many. Folklores, guesses, historical evidences, and inscriptions are quoted to prove different theories of the origin of the name "Bangalore".

The joke goes like this... that namma "Bangalore" derives it name from the over 4 lakh Bengalis who reside here. If you delete the last 3 alphabets from "Bangalore" or from "Bengaluru" you are left with "Bangal" or "Bengal". Right?! Even though "Bengaluru"... the new name for Bangalore City is yet to be confirmed by the central government.

What's in a name (?)... you may ask. Plenty of politics... looks like.

Anytime soon, "Bangalore" is expected to be officially christened "Bengaluru'. But the issue is now stuck with the Union Home Ministry. And the famed and formidable web of "red tape" woven by the even more formidable Babus.

The name "Bengaluru", though, appears to be catching up fast, with several major corporate houses and television channels adopting the new name. The official nod for the change in name has, however, not been given yet. Also, the confusion over how to spell the new name ("Bengalooru" or "Bengaluru") still prevails. Had the great bard William Shakespeare lived in these times... he would have never written the following lines for his play (Romeo and Juliet [II, ii, 1-2]):

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."

The Centre reportedly has no objection to permitting the change of 12 of the 13 names sent across by the Karnataka government: Bangalore as Bengaluru; Mangalore as Mangaluru; Bellary as Ballari; Bijapur as Vijayapura; Chikmagalur as Chikkamagaluru; Gulbarga as Kalburagi; Mysore as Mysuru; Hospet as Hosapete; Shimoga as Shivamogga; Hubli as Hubbali; Tumkur as Tumakuru and Kaup as Kapu.

Although a small town along the west coast, the name change of "Kaup" as "Kapu" was sought much earlier and has been pending with the Centre for years. But nobody seems to have spared a thought for the delectable 'Mysore Pak'. 'Mysuru Pak' just does not sound delectable enough. What...??

The objection only pertains to Belgaum as Belagavi, but Karnataka has categorically told the Centre that it would like to affect all the 13 changes at one go. If the State gives in to the objections (unofficial) raised by the Home Ministry, it could be read as neglect of Belgaum, and that would be construed as politically insensitive. It could also be seen as neglecting Belgaum's interest. Kannada protagonists (including the activists of the "Kannada Rakshana Vedike" aka KRV and the "Akhila Karnataka Gadi Horata Samiti"... an umbrella organization of about 200 pro-Kannada organizations... whose sole aim is the "protection of the state's borders") have said the name change should first start with Belgaum since Belagavi is closer to Kannada than Belgaum. As former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil hailed from Maharashtra, he was under pressure from his home turf for rejecting this proposal. The current incumbent - PC - is busy rebooting. The "Master Plaster" and his family too have invited themselves to this "naming ceremony". Add to this the 'Kar-nataka' brand of jataka tales with the cheap minister busy prostrating himself in front of assorted Gods and Goddesses - mortal and celestial. So the name change is now entangled in political twirl.

From Boiled Beans to Bangalore to Bengaluru: Among the metropolises in India, Bangalore is next to Delhi in antiquity.

An interesting peek into history reveals the evolution of the name "Bangalore". An apocryphal yet popular anecdote recounts that the 11th-century Hoysala king Veera Ballala II (1173 - 1220 CE), while on a hunting expedition, lost his way in the forest. Tired and hungry, he came across a poor old woman who offered him shelter for the night and served him some boiled beans and water, as was the custom in rural areas. The grateful king named the place "benda-kaala-ooru" or "Benda Kalooru" (literally, "town of boiled beans"), which eventually evolved into "Bengalūru".

Another story tells us how "Venkataru" (because of the many Venkataramana Swamy temples built by Kempe Gowda) became "Benkaturu" and finally "Bengaluru". Yet another tale talks of "Benacha kalluru" ("Benachu" is quartz stone found in plenty in this area) becoming "Bengaluru". Another theory traces the name to "Benge/Benga trees" or "Ven-kai" (also known as the Indian Kino Tree... Pterocarpus marsupium) found in "Bengeuru", which became "Bengaluru".

"Bangalore" also had other names such as "Devarayapattana" (16th Century) and "Kalyanapura"/"Mangalapura". However, the word "Bengaluru" first appeared in an inscription of 890 A.D. found in Begur, about 10 miles south of Bangalore. Historians believe that Bengaluru mentioned in the inscription may be different from the Bengaluru near Kodigehalli near Hebbal. It may be noted here that Bengaluru near Kodigehalli was the parental house of Kempe Gowda's mother as well as of his wife. This must have prompted him to name his city as Bengaluru.

The Gangas ruled Gangavadi from Kolar starting c. 350 and later shifted their capital to Talakadu. Their rule often extended over large parts of Tamil Nadu. The earliest reference to the name Bengaluru was found in a ninth century Western Ganga Dynasty stone inscription on a "vīra gallu" (literally, "hero stone", a rock edict extolling the virtues of a warrior). In this inscription found in Begur, Bengaluru is referred to as a place in which a battle was fought in 890 AD. It states that the place was part of the Ganga kingdom until 1004 and was known as "Bengaval-uru", the "City of Guards" in Halegannada (old Kannada). Apparently, around 5th Century, the Ganga rulers constructed a hamlet near Kengeri for their security guards - known as "Bengavalu" in Kannada. Their dwelling place was popularly known as "Bengavaluru", which later on seems to have changed to "Bengaluru".

An inscription, dating back to 890 CE, shows Bangalore is over 1,000 years old. But it stands neglected at the Parvathi Nageshwara Temple in Begur near the city. Written in Hale Kannada (Ancient Kannada) of the 9th century CE, the epigraph refers to a Bengaluru war in 890 in which Buttanachetty, a servant of Nagatta, died. Though this has been recorded by historian R. Narasimhachar in his Epigraphia of Carnatica (Vol. 10 supplementary), no efforts have been made to preserve it. The inscription stone found near Begur reveals, that the district was part of the Ganga kingdom ruled from Gangavadi until 1024 C.E and was known as "Benga-val-oru", the "City of Guards" in old Kannada. In 1024 C.E, the Chola Empire captured the city. Today, little evidence can be seen of this period. A small village in south Bengalooru and one in Anantapur district bear the Chola name but the residents are of native stock. The later Gangas often fought alongside the Chalukyas, Rastrakutas and the Hoysalas. In 1117 C.E, the Hoysala king Veera Ballala II defeated the Cholas in the battle of Talakad which lead to the downfall of the Chola empire.

There is an inscription dated 1628 C.E in the Ranganatha Temple in Telugu. The English translation of which is: "Be it well, When Rajadhi-Raja-Parameshwara Vira Pratapa Vira-Maha-Deva Maharaya seated in the Jewel throne was ruling the empire of the world: When of the Asannavakula, the Yelahanka Nadu Prabhu Kempanacharya-Gauni's grandson Kempe Gowda's son, Immadi Kempegaunayya was ruling a peaceful kingdom in righteousness with the decline of the Vijayanagar empire, the eclipse of the rule of Yelahanka Nadu Prabhus took place at the dawn of the 17th century."

Bangalore was the capital of Yelahankanadu Prabhu's for 101 years from 1537 to 1638 A.D. Kempe Gowda I or Hiriya Kempe Gowda (c 1513-1569, c 1510-1570 AD) was a great visionary, a builder, and an enthusiastic and energetic ruler. He subdued the warring neighbourly chieftains and brought in prosperity and peace to the people. After 32 years of his rule, his son Gidde Gowda ruled for 15 years from 1570 to 1585. Thereafter, Kempe Gowda II ruled for 48 years (from 1585 to 1633), and like his grandfather, he was a brave soldier and a great builder. He is known for many constructions like the Ranganathaswamy temple in Balepet, forts in Magadi and Savanadurga and tanks including the Kempapura and Karanjikere tanks. The watch-towers in Lalbagh, Kempambudhi tank, Halasur tank (near Ulsoor lake), and near Mekhri circle have become famous as Kempe Gowda towers... that marked Bengalore's boundary. The watch- tower is now the insignia of the Bangalore City Corporation.

Therefore origin of Bangalore is clearly marked by the ceremony of furrowing the main streets by Kempe Gowda I in 1537 A.D. This can also be assumed as the commencement of its political history. However, there was human habitation much earlier around the place now known as Bangalore. Stone Age weapons belonging to 2000 to 1000 B.C. have been found near Jalahalli, Siddapur, and Gavipura. Iron Age relics of about 800 B.C. have been found in Kannur, Jadigenahalli, Koramangla, and other places. Roman coins of Augustus, Tibirius, Cadius, and Caligula of about 1st Century A.D. have been unearthed from Yeshwantapur and HAL areas. Inscriptions and historical evidences belonging to various periods - Talakadu Gangas (2nd to 10th Century A.D.), Cholas (1004-1116 A.D.), Hoysalas (1116-1336 A.D.), and Vijayanagar Kings (1336 A.D. onwards) - show that several dynasties ruled over this area. In addition, many veeragals (hero stones) have been found in various places of Bangalore. Hero stones found in Lalbagh and Kengeri (10th Century), lake in Krishnarajapura (11th Century), near Railway Housing Colony (13th Century), and near the band-stand in Lalbagh Glass House (13th Century) clearly show that the area was well inhabited and well settled.

(More later...)

Note: The views expressed here are entirely in good humour and without malice.


Hilarious take on the topic of this post. Apt... right?!! Pic courtesy: Link.