It seems that the recent decision of Haryana Government to rename Gurgaon to Gurugram hasn’t gone down well with the people of Gurgaon. Known for its multinational firms and upscale malls, the erstwhile Millennium City has come a long way from what it was in the late ’90s — an underdeveloped backwaters which was more or less ignored by the national capital.
Today, a lot has changed for Gurgaon, or Gurugram, for the better. From food trucks that serve till the wee hours of the morning to gated colonies — Gurgaon, (I beg your pardon!) Gurugram, is now home to all things chic.
Guardian20 set out to speak to some people based in Gurugram, about what they think of the name change. And it’s fair to say that most were less than amused having, as one of the Tweets said, gone to sleep in Gurgaon and woken up in Gurugram.
Geetika Sachdev, a publishing professional who used to live in Gurgaon and now lives in Gurugram says, “I think it’s a little silly to suddenly change the name. Instead of working on issues that plague this city, there is more focus on frivolous things like changing the name. Definitely doesn’t make sense to me.”
The city has already made its name on the global map for various reasons, and now the change of name is really bothering its residents, some of whom feel that it dampens Millenium City’s urban reputation globally.
“One can easily say that when one has nothing better to do that’s when one does such things. So it can be said that the Haryana Government is velli [idle] as it is not fixing the things that needs fixing like infrastructure, security and what not,” says NCR-based stand-up comedian Appurv Gupta. “It’s like we can’t fix this so let’s just change the name. So in my opinion it’s just a waste of time and money. It’s just to distract people from what all is wrong,” adds Gupta.
“One can easily say that when one has nothing better to do that’s when one does such things. So it can be said that the Haryana Government is velli [idle] as it is not fixing the things that needs fixing like infrastructure, security and what not. It’s like we can’t fix this so let’s just change the name.”
Akanksha Mathur, Marketing and PR Manager at Impresario says, “It’s sheer waste of an effort, shying away from real issues. It looks like the government has discovered the next version of Instagram! The business won’t suffer, the change doesn’t affect anyone as it wasn’t anglicised earlier. It’s just local politics going bananas.”
The city, as is evident from these responses, is now at risk of losing its cool quotient too. Bithika Anand, Founder and CEO of Legal League, says, “The millennium city has built its brand over the years for being a global hub. Changing the name to Gurugram is certainly not a great idea. It may lose its brand appeal and sheen. Besides, the name change is not adding any value to the city, making the explanation all the more difficult. I would rather prefer the money to be used for addressing more pressing needs of the city in terms of infrastructure and security.”
According to a newspaper report, a goverment person in Gurugram said the decision to change the name had been taken on the basis of the representations received at several forums. He claimed Haryana was a historic land and that Gurgaon had always been a great centre of learning, where Guru Dronacharya used to provide education to the Pandavas and Kauras. The town derived its name from Guru Dronacharya; the village was given as gurudakshina to him by his students, the Pandavas, and hence it came to be known as Gurugram. This name in course of time got distorted to Gurgaon. Therefore, the people of the area had been long demanding that Gurgaon be renamed as Gurugram.
All those who think that Gurgaon will lose its X-factor due to renaming here’s some food for thought — there are other cities which underwent a similar name change. Let’s take a look at some of those.
Bangalore became Bengaluru: The name change took place in 2006. It is said that in the year 1004 it was renamed as Bengaval-uru. It is also called as the “City of Guards” in Old Kannada.
Calcutta to Kolkata: Here, the name change took place in 2001, when the city was officially renamed to Kolkata, as the place has always been called in Bengali.
Bombay to Mumbai: In 1996, the name Bombay was changed to Mumbai after the goddess’ name Mumba-devi.
Madras to Chennai: the name change took place in 2006. Chennai was named after the Chenna Kesava Perumal temple.
Benaras to Varanasi: Having derived its name from Varna and Assi, Banaras became Varanasi in 1956.
Baroda to Vadodara: This change of name took place in 1974 and it is said to be derived from a word called ‘Vatpatrak’ or banyan tree leaf.
The people of Gurgaon... sorry, Gurugram would now do well do remind themselves of that sonnet that begins with the line, “What’s in a name?”